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Zac Posen Dishes on Former Intern Ashley Olsen

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Bryan Bedder/Getty; FAME

Zac Posen has a fondness for teachers, he told PEOPLE at a recent Teachers Count benefit at NYC’s Royalton Hotel, where he auctioned off items to benefit the charity. “All of my teachers have been incredibly formative relating to fashion,” says the 26-year-old designer, “they pushed me intensely and challenged me.” So it’s natural that Posen would do the same for his students: namely, friend and former intern Ashley Olsen. “Ashley was present through a season in the studio one to two days a week, and I tried to create as hands-on an experience for her as possible,” says Posen, who accepted the former Full House star as an intern after she literally came knocking. “She came in person and knocked on the door to get her internship, which is four steps farther than most interns go. She had that drive and that’s what makes someone special.’ And now that she’s running labels The Row and Elizabeth and James with twin sister Mary-Kate, Ashley “has a lot to learn still,” Posen admits, “but she definitely learned perfectionism and elegance!”