Friday, February 19, 2010

Jason Wu - Poetic Mood

Post-show climax, the US womenswear prodigy Jason Wu (he's 27)
ran the length of his pink-carpeted catwalk to thunderous applause.

So, at least, we read. Unfortunately, at that moment, The Times fashion team was at 30,000ft, New York bound. Yet we could not miss Wu: he's the man Michelle Obama chose to dress her for Barack's Inauguraton Ball. And even though he's near the start of his career, Wu made around $US10 million ($13 million) in sales last year - ovation-worthy when his T-shirts start at $US295 and his USP (beautiful evening wear) can cost around $US5000.

We met Wu at his new showroom near the Garment District, where he revealed the Irving Penn moodboard that helped him to conceive the show and the masculine menswear look that was inspired by Penn's wardrobe. "It's a new silhouette for me," Wu says, "but it felt to me that fashion is going to swing away from this overtly sexy aggressive mood of the last few seasons. I'm feeling alone and moody and poetic."

That moodiness translated into clever, screen-printed splashes of PVC paint on cashmere dresses and coats. As well as men's tailoring, some of that new silhouette came from sportsgear: Wu has padded some clothes puffa-style, giving delicately exteriored parkas serious presence. The poetry came in his evening wear.

He's pioneered a new way of laser-printing on to tulle, which ripples and blurs and shimmers against the material beneath. Elsewhere he's used guinea hen and peacock feathers to makes beautiful skirts and dresses that are far sturdier, he says, than they look. There's alpaca so fine it looks like a fur and gowns that Wu says aren't concieved for bridal wear but could be. Expect to see Wu at the Oscars, where, despite the mood, there should be room for overtly sexy.

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