Jason Wu’s incredible trajectory is a classic story of an American Dream.
The Taiwanese born designer took an early interest in fashion, sketching bridal dresses he saw in a local bridal shop. Observing her son’s creative talent, Wu’s mother sent him to arts-friendly Vancouver, British Columbia, where he would patter his first designs for dolls as a nine year old. Wu continued his career path as sixteen by learning to create freelance doll clothing designs for a toy company called Integrity Toys, under the line of “Jason Wu Dolls”. The following year, Jason Wu was names the creative director of Integrity Toys, then a partner, positions he holds to this day.
“It’s all about construction and very precise detail, in a miniature form,” he told a reporter in 2005.
Early days Soon, as Wu’s eager for design was growing he launched his very first ready to wear collection in 2006. In 2008 he was nominated for the CFDA (Vogue Fashion Fund Award), where he caught the eye of the vogue’s editor-at-large, Andre Leon Talley, who had been advising the appearance of the current First Lady, Michelle Obama. She bought four dresses from Wu early in the year wearing one of them for a segment with Barbara Walters Special, shortly before the elections. But the dress, that made headlines was the custom-designed, one-shoulder, floor-length white chiffon gown, which Michelle Obama wore at the inauguration of the President Obama in 2009. “I was over the moon. I know I am an unusual choice for a First Lady. I didn’t think it was my turn yet,” said Wu to the New York Times. Since that moment, Jason Wu, became an overnight sensation. “Did that put me on the map? It certainly did, but I always say, to do something like that, you really have to back it up with more hard work” And so did he. Four years later, having The First Lady already established as one of his regular clients, she wore another Wu custom-made dress. This time, it was a ruby red velvet and chiffon design worn at yet another Presidential Inaugural Balls in 2013. It might have turned someone else’s head, but Wu’s. He still keeps his eye firmly on the road ahead. Fall/winter 2014 Having shown his 2014 Fall/Winter collection at Mercedez Benz New York Fashion Week, he embraced a sensuous silhouette with silky dresses as well as more menswear inspired separates. As Wu states: “In my shows, there’s always been a uniformity and neatness.” Steeped in a color palette of neutrals ranging from the deepest of black to light champagne, the Wu woman wears velvet dresses, pleated skirts and slouchy trousers for the upcoming fall. He says he dreams of working in a pastry shop and admits to sometimes faltering under the pressure and expectation. “So many times,” he says, “I’ve felt ‘I can’t do this.’ ” Perhaps, but there’s many people including me that have every confidence, that Wu will continue in his reserved and astonishing way, to make clothes for a particular kind of connoisseur of fashion. “The women who buy my clothes have discerning taste,” he says, with quiet pride. “My customer isn’t buying my clothes because famous people wear them.” text: Karol Palinkas