09/09/2013 08:06 EDT | Updated 11/09/2013 05:12 EST

Zac Posen spins a romantic runway with some of his favourite models at NY Fashion Week

Zac Posen started draping his new spring collection almost three months ago, and he was still doing it right up until the first look appeared on the runway at New York Fashion Week.

It wasn't a last-minute rush — in fact, everything seemed incredibly quiet just before his show on Sunday night. It simply takes that long to hand-pleat chiffon and hand-paint organza. "Given the intensity of this collection, it has all been very calm," he said.

Posen even took a nap for almost an hour after the final sound and lighting checks, and before receiving a pep talk by phone from friend Naomi Campbell.

Models are important to Posen: Their loyalty and enthusiasm launched his career. Anyway, the elaborate gowns and dresses he is known for really needs "models," not just tall, thin, pretty women. They need to have confidence and know how to pull off an outfit that, hopefully, will have everyone in the room looking right at them, he said.

Coco Rocha wore the first look on the catwalk, a pale-pink chiffon cape dress. Lindsey Wixson wore an ivory-colored bustier gown and go-to Posen muse Crystal Renn wore a lemon-colored frock with a wisteria print and fluttery short sleeves.

There were gowns with bustles and ruffles in a beautiful jacquards, and dresses with satin corseting. A few dresses with many, many layers looked inverted, as if the ball skirt were at the bustline.

"This collection is very romantic," Posen said backstage. "It's beyond the va-va-voom red carpet."

Still, actress Christina Hendricks, who has worn Posen to several big Hollywood events, was sitting in the front row. "I have been a fan of his for a very, very long time, and I just think he is incredibly unique and exquisite."


Associated Press reporter Nicole Evatt contributed to this report.