Heidi Klum & Zac Posen on Favorite Hamptons Memories and Celebrating 15 Years of 'Project Runway'

By Jill Sieracki | July 13, 2016 | People Feature

Model Heidi Klum and fashion designer Zac Posen may be costars on Project Runway, now in its 15th season, but off-screen, the two are as tight as two friends can be. Here, the zany duo talk about their latest projects, their shared love of food, and their favorite Hamptons memories.


On Klum: White jacquard dress, Zac Posen ($1,025). 100mm Hawaii print heels, Christian Louboutin ($715). Saks Fifth Avenue, Walt Whitman Shops, 230 Walt Whitman Road, Huntington Station, 350-1100. 18k yellow-gold and 4.90-carat round diamonds cuff, Martin Katz (price on request). Bergdorf Goodman, 745 Fifth Ave., NYC, 212-753-7300. Earrings, necklace, and ring, Klum’s own. On Posen: Shirt and pants, Posen’s own. Inflatable flamingo and swan, SunnyLife ($75 each). Gracious Home, 1220 Third Ave., NYC, 212-517-6300.

Heidi Klum is playfully trying to pinch an inch on Zac Posen’s middle as the fashion designer’s glam squad hurries to finish trimming his crop of black curls. Klum, already in full makeup, hair styled and manicure dry, and dressed in her first look of Hamptons’ cover shoot, naturally only intensifies her ribbing. “Stop! I don’t gym!” a slender Posen laughs as Klum continues to poke beneath his barber cape. If you lived on some alternative planet and didn’t know that Klum is one of the world’s most successful models, the cohost of not one but two reality television shows—including Project Runway, for which she’s won an Emmy Award as the series’ executive producer—a burgeoning fashion designer, and an ambassador with Unicef, and Posen is an award-winning fashion designer whose gowns have graced Hollywood’s A-list, you would think this scenario was average silliness between two best friends.

The two originally met early on in Posen’s career when the designer cast Klum in one of his runway shows. “You were gutsy going for someone like me because people would not book me for fashion shows,” Klum tells Posen. “I was not a high fashion runway model, and I was never booked on those kind of jobs. I was very curvy with boobs… I remember like it was yesterday, I was wearing a red strapless jumpsuit. I was beyond excited; it was super cool, no smiling.” “I always cast my shows how I want to cast them, with good results and sometimes less good results,” says Posen. “Heidi was in a league of her own. And it was right before Project Runway started.”


On Klum: Leigh gown, Zac Zac Posen ($1,025). Rose-gold with pavé diamonds bracelet, Pamela Love ($6,600). Barneys New York, 660 Madison Ave., NYC, 212-826-8900. Earrings, necklace, and ring, Klum’s own. On Posen: Shirt and hat, Posen’s own. Printed Felin beach towel, Hermès ($630). Americana Manhasset, 2060 Northern Blvd., 516-869-6660. Red beach towel, Ralph Lauren ($125). 31–33 Main St., East Hampton, 907-0960

Just as Posen’s career has since gone through the stratosphere, Project Runway, too, has become a juggernaut, currently filming its 15th season. Klum has been there since the beginning, while Posen is just starting his fifth year. “The idea of venturing into media or onto television was something that had always been floating around and was interesting to me,” says Posen. “I had a big network my first year in business that wanted to do a reality show on me and my family, and thank God I didn’t do it. [Project Runway] had longevity and integrity. The first season, I really felt like I was being tested because, you know, a new fish in an operating machine. But Heidi was very nurturing and encouraging.”

“There’s not a lot of television shows, especially reality television shows, that are on the air for that long,” says Klum of Project Runway. “We come up with great challenges, and we still find great talent. It is the same thing [every season, but] it just shows you have a good concept. It’s imaginative, it’s like a dream world. I think that’s also why America’s Got Talent [which Klum also cohosts] works—because people just love watching people who have other jobs, and here they are singing, juggling, sewing, doing this other kind of stuff.”

Both Klum and Posen are, in a way, following in their competitors’ footsteps and branching out from their primary jobs to create new projects. Klum has launched Heidi Klum Intimates, a line of feminine lingerie for women, as well as a collection of briefs for men under the label HK Man. “I love lingerie and always bought a lot of lingerie, but I was not actively looking [to create a lingerie line],” says Klum, who partnered with Bendon Group for the quarterly collections.


On Klum: Guipere lace gown, Zac Posen ($8,990). Silver sandals, Manolo Blahnik ($725). Neiman Marcus, Roosevelt Field, 630 Old Country Road, Garden City, 516-368-0500. Earrings, necklace, and rings, Klum’s own. On Posen: Fitzgerald tuxedo, Brooks Brothers ($1,198). 48–50 Main St., Southhampton, 287-3936. Shirt, Posen’s own

“I have visions and ideas; we talk about what are the newest fabrics. I will make all of those choices, then I try everything on and tweak [the designs]. That’s how I get inspired—things I would want to wear.” Posen, meanwhile, is going from the atelier to the greenhouse, expanding on his love of gardening to develop his first cookbook.

“Instagram made me take the plunge into putting a cookbook together,” says Posen. “People warned me not to post food on Instagram; many people in fashion thought it would destroy a following. But in fact, I think there was a very humanizing quality to it. Growing up I had trouble reading, but the visual aspect and organization of a cookbook was really alluring to me. I remember when the first edition of Martha Stewart’s Entertaining came out—it was classic and it really captivated me. There was another book, the La Varenne Pratique cookbook, that was really influential. And the food section of The New York Times was always a topic.”

A rooftop gardener in the city, Posen cultivates a crop at his family’s home in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and shops the many farmers markets out East. “Heidi always wants soft-shell crab,” Posen dishes about his costar. “And she likes the daikon. Heidi’s great, because she goes on my Instagram and then prints out what she wants me to cook.” In addition, Posen designed the uniforms for Delta Airlines, which will debut this fall; created the packaging for a Pinot Grigio by Ecco Domani, which sponsored Posen’s first show; and was recently named creative director for womenswear at Brooks Brothers.


“Brooks Brothers is very appropriate for the Hamptons because it’s about redefining and evolving the classics, doing them better and updating them for today,” he says. “If you want to go from day to evening this summer, you need a great bathing suit, a great sandal, and the Brooks Brothers white shirtdress. Also, our long white tunic shirtdress, our chinos, and jewelry to accessorize. And sunscreen! It is so important to wear sunscreen.”

The Hamptons is one place Klum and Posen have found they can step away from it all and unwind. “I love just hanging out, making barbecues, seeing friends,” says Klum. “I’m a huge beach person, and I don’t mind lying in the sand all day, but I won’t go in the water; it’s just too cold.” “I love the ocean,” counters Posen. “My friends say that as soon as I see water, I turn into a 6-year-old. I jump in, I love the waves, I love the briny seawater quality. I feel very at peace and enriched in the dunes and in the ocean, swimming.”


On Klum: Charmeuse gown, Zac Posen ($3,990). 18k gold and diamond bangle, Ippolita ($3,895). London Jewelers, 2 Main St., East Hampton, 329-3939. Earrings, necklace, and rings, Klum’s own. On Posen: Shirt, Posen’s own

Together, they enjoy coffee at Starbucks—“Heidi drives,” interjects Posen—browsing flea markets and vintage stores, and stopping by Cayli Cavaco Reck’s Bridgehampton beauty boutique. Says Posen, “You know what’s really nice? When Heidi and I are out on Long Island, there’s no makeup, there’s no glam squad…” “No, there are only nails in our feet!” adds Klum, as the two cut in, finishing each other’s sentences about the time last summer both stepped on the same rusty nail and ended up in Southampton Hospital. “They took such great care of us,” says Posen. “They were so nice.” Echoes Klum, “That’s where we got a tetanus shot!”

Photography by: photography by MAx MontgoMERy; Hair by Wendy Iles for Iles Formula (for Klum); Makeup by Linda Hay at The Wall Group (for Klum); Grooming by Asami Matsuda using Dior Homme (for Posen); Hair by Shinya Nakagawa using Kérastase (for Posen); Manicure by Elle for Formula X using The System XCEL. Location: Gansevoort Park Avenue, 420 Park Ave. South, NYC, 212-317-2900