When Jason Wu was first starting out, fashion watchers liked to compare him to an upstart Oscar de la Renta. He was a precocious kid with his eye on the Park Avenue set. Over the years and after the one-two success of Michelle Obama’s inauguration gowns, Wu’s aesthetic shifted. The frills and the flounces disappeared; we haven’t seen a feather, once one of his favorite embellishments, in seasons. These days, if there’s a designer precursor for what Wu is doing, it’s Michael Kors, he of the souped-up, super-luxe sportswear.

An exacting tailor, Wu happens to be very good at sportswear himself. You won’t find better cut trousers than the high-waisted, cropped pair he sent out with a silk tie-neck blouse in the same shade of olive green. And you can’t argue with the sleek, streamlined elegance of his double-face cashmere coats. Other outerwear pieces were built with detachable linings, removable fur outer layers, or zip-off sleeves, the better to offer his clients variety and value for money. He’s also happy to satisfy their more indulgent side, the case in point being a sleeveless dress made from matte crocodile, or a very authentic-looking stamped leather.

There were beads and crystals, but because of their simple T-shirt shapes, his evening dresses retained the quiet, respectable feeling of the daywear. On the phone before the show, Wu name-checked Catherine Deneuve, noting, “There’s something definitely glamorous about it.” The belted fur coat that closed the show came closest to capturing Deneuve’s glam factor. Otherwise it was hard to shake the feeling that Wu was playing things too safe. The clothes were essentially faultless, but the show wanted for some of the drama and heat of real life.

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