By Cannon and Izzy Ruiz for The Cannon Media Group with additional reporting by Teresa Diaz
Spectacle does not describe the scene at any Jason Wu runway show. The scene is buzzing with anticipation for so many reasons. Anna, Hamish, Cindy Levy and every major editor was in attendance, along with the stunning Alicia Keys, Maria Sharapova and Mad Men star Jessica Pare. Supermodel Karen Elson opened the show with a vengeance. Hilary Rhoda was a goddess in sequin tank and a long fitted skirt, and the darling Karlie Kloss just coy as ever, winked at us as she purred just before her look, “Not a bad day at the office.”
But beyond all the delicious pomp and circumstance, what holds the breath of the audience is the dream will they be living in real time. Which chords will be struck when fashion does the aspirational and makes an audience believe in ideas and passions greater than themselves. That’s what is so exciting about a Jason Wu show. Each season, he weaves new ideas divergent from collections past. As top fashion blogger Bryanboy shared with me before the show, “He’s always unpredictable. But what I love about him is his clothes are incredibly polished, incredibly ladylike and then somehow there is always like a naughty fetishistic aspect… Jason, for what he’s worth, is a naughty boy at heart.”
That naughtiness, that cheeky allure begins before a stiletto takes its first steps on the runway. Each season the audience is welcomed by some visual metaphor of what’s to come. Last season it was a larger than life chandelier suspended just above the parquet floor. The season before that, sky-high mirrors loomed at the top of runway. This year, our eyes and our imaginations were piqued by asymmetrical light structures staged down the middle of the runway. They could not be more lyrical to the collection that was to be presented.
For Spring/Summer 2014, Wu described his collection as, “A dialogue between construction and ease.” That quote in itself could not personify any simpler what we are seeing all over the runways this season. But no one does it with with the precision and femininity of Jason Wu. Sleek silhouettes, utility and relaxed constructions were the foundation of his tailoring. But while most designers presented a free flowing approach to relaxed sportswear, Wu was able to hold form and feminine shapes without the feeling of constriction.
Jason shared his perspective on the season with us: “The design process…was really about this sort of mixing these, almost athletic features, you know the tank—with couture details, like details on the skirt and that kind of contrast… between sport and dressed up feels completely modern, and just like the kind of clothes that women want to wear today, the women I know that would embrace.”
The juxtaposition of a chiffon V-neck pullover with a lace-up skirt was exactly that idea of female form with everyday function he was aspiring to. A sexy lace-up bikini was softened with a silk gauze cover-up. The bias cut was used often to create that effortless draping in skirts and dresses, but paired with a corseted coat it was that powerful sexuality that Wu has harnessed each season. That yin and yang of his collection was also significant with his fusion of men’s tailoring with tuxedo jumpsuits and shirtdresses.
Cannon: I loved the dresses where you could see part of the corsets from the back.
Jason Wu: Yes, that's exactly the dialogue I wanted to have this season, you know, from the front it’s this beautifully draped diaphanous dress, and then she turns around and the corsetry is exposed and it’s quite constructed and fitting her in all the right places. That's the dialogue I wanted to have and that‘s the kind of clothing that feels right to create for Spring 2014