Since 2007, Jason Wu has been creating chic, classic American sportswear. Each piece is beautifully crafted from the inside out—using the most sophisticated of fabrics, romantic embroidery, and custom sequins. Because so much time and attention goes into each collection, the team starts working five to six months in advance of the season’s presentation. Wu’s hard work and dedication has led to many accolades, including being named one of the finalists in the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund in July 2008, winning the Swarovski Award for Womenswear at the CFDA Fashion Awards in June 2010, and receiving a nomination for the CFDA/Swarovski Award for Accessory Design in April 2011.
You have enjoyed fashion design since you were a child. Who in your life inspired or influenced you to continue enhancing your craft?
My mother—she was my first muse—has always been refined and elegant. Without my family’s support and my mother championing my creative side, there would be no Jason Wu the brand.
When you decided to leave Parsons early in order to create your own collection, how did you not let fear overtake your decision?
I felt ready to embark on the next chapter of my life and it was pure instinct. Looking back, I think I must have been absolutely insane, but I think a bit of naive fearlessness can be good sometimes. It was very demanding at times, but I can truly say that I learned the industry from the ground up.
Jason Wu has been a staple in women’s wardrobes for over 10 years. Why do you believe a woman gravitates toward your collections?
I have always embraced the feminine form. I think women gravitate toward my designs because they can feel beautiful, confident, and completely themselves in them.
When designing your collections, can you share how important the fabric choice is?
Fabric selection is a very important part of the design process. I always start a collection by looking at new fabric techniques and embroideries. For the final design decision, I always ask these questions: Does it fit into the lifestyle of the Jason Wu woman? Is it luxurious, sophisticated, and desirable?
Your Spring collection featured airy lace and tulle dresses, while Fall was about the ruffle. Can you tell us about your vision for both your Spring and upcoming Fall collections?
The spirit and architecture of New York served as the backdrop for both Spring and Fall 2019 collections. For Spring, draping took center stage with fluid jerseys, chiffons, and tulles, representing what is at the heart of my label—impeccably refined femininity. For Fall, I found myself immersed in the creation of my new fragrance, Velvet Rouge. The intense interplay between light and dark textures, layered upon a core of blooming florals, became the inspiration behind the Fall 2019 Jason Wu Collection—reflecting American couture craftsmanship, refined materials, and ultra-feminine silhouettes.
Why do you now gravitate more toward presentations than runway?
I honestly wanted a change—a break from doing fashion shows over and over again—and to try a different format. The idea of stripping everything away, except for the clothes, felt important to me as a designer. Especially now with social media, the attention to the clothing is getting lost. I felt that people were busy looking at which models were walking the show and who was seated in the front row, and that the last thing we talked about was the clothes. After 10-plus years in the industry, I wanted to rediscover why I became a fashion designer in the first place—it’s good to remind yourself every so often.
What is the one piece that every woman must own?
A belted trench coat dress is such a versatile and elevated look. I am particularly fond of the pinstriped belted dress with delicate embroidered lace from the Spring 2019 collection that gives a modern edge.
When not in the studio, what do you enjoy doing in your free time?
Cooking! I love food and find cooking at home with friends one of my favorite things to do. Also, spending time with my cats.
Jason Wu’s collections are available at Sam Malouf Authentic Luxury in Burlingame. | www.sammalouf.com