When First Lady Michelle Obama wore a Jason Wu ivory one-shoulder gown with floral appliqués to her husband’s inaugural ball, she let the world in on a little secret that we fashion insiders already knew—Jason Wu is a tailoring genius! Now I could go on and on about the way he brilliantly overlapped traditional haute couture silhouettes with whimsical Pop Art and sport elements for Spring 2012, but to put it simply: Jason Wu designs beautiful clothes that make a woman look her best in an almost effortlessly, nonchalant manner! Because what’s even better than looking AMAZING?—Looking like you didn’t even have to try, because it comes so easily… It’s no wonder that adoring ingénues Lea Michelle, China Chow, and Jamie King were front row and center at the designer’s Spring 2012 Runway Presentation.
Delicate white runway tiles suspended from the air forming pristine runway with charming bridges centered amongst the seats. The collection’s 38 looks had an ethereal quality with voluminous skirts that floated on air; peplums that accentuated the waistline; and sequins and feathers for added shimmer and texture to compliment the playful pops of color throughout. Fashion is most intriguing when it’s unexpected. Paradoxical juxtapositions of brights with neutrals, hard with soft, and as we saw in this collection the more “athletic sophisticate,” provide a marriage made in heaven. The blending of sport mesh and chiffon is not an association one would readily make, but that originality and innovation are what make Mr. Wu one of today’s most gifted young talents. According to the show’s liner notes, opposing concepts were a strong theme of the collection, particularly contrasts of old-world shapes and mixed media. He paired sport mesh details with delicate fabrics, removing both materials from their usual context. The designer said that he wanted to play with the idea of artificiality and grandiose paperweight leather. The sport theme continued with a series of “chiffon” windbreakers atop digitally printed t-shirts and sport shorts. Jason Wu collaborated with artist KAWS, who literally leant his handprint, layering the signature outline over floating petals as a playful commentary on and nod to the workmanship of and the number of hands involved in creating a garment.
The well-balanced palette blended comfortable neutrals in black, ivory, and charcoal with the season’s most vibrant hues of shocking pink, electric blue, and pop yellow. This season’s silhouette emphasized the waist with pleated shorts, cigarette pants, and high-waisted skirts; while draped sleeves, fitted bodices, and flyaway separates gave the collection a gossamery sensibility. Textiles such as silk, techno faille, knit pointelle, lace, and mesh underscored the collection’s mantra of contrast. The collection’s design details from laser cut sequin collars, bugle beads, and Swarovski elements to cropped peplums, floating petals, and knife pleating created added depth and texture to the feminine shapes. Featured accessories in the form of python bags, multi-strap sandals, and ankle cut-offs punctuated a tough contrast to the collection’s soft silhouettes.
My favorite looks from the Jason Wu Spring 2012 Collection included: an ivory metallic lace shirt with embroidered Swarovski elements, floral print sport shorts, and beige nylon windbreaker; the grey and black KAWS floating petals print pleated dress with sport mesh yolk and beaded collar; an ivory photo negative print silk tee atop a black brulee feathered petaled silk gazar skirt; and the heather grey silk gazar embroidered pleated top with heather grey high-waisted pleated shorts.
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