Jason Wu made headlines today with the news that he’s sold a majority stake in his brand to the investment firm InterLuxe. Next up: a flagship and an expanded accessories range. Perhaps with an eye to his first store, his Spring collection played it restrained and safe. Remember the Kaws-designed graffiti print of a few years back? There was nothing quite that playful at Spring Studios this afternoon. Instead Wu opened with a beige-ish abstract brushstroke jacquard. A little bit artsy, but all grown-up. Otherwise, he preferred the simplicity of white, black, navy, and fatigue green.

“The one word I keep thinking is beauty,” Wu said via phone a few days ago, adding, “as usual, it’s a refined take on American sportswear.” He also called out Charlotte Rampling as an “invisible muse.” The actress’ effortless, slightly gamine sense of chic came across best in a white silk sleeveless blouse with a flounce down the front worn with full, slightly flowy trousers. Minimal suede separates in navy and limestone green had a similarly easy allure, and Karlie Kloss breathed a lot of life into her simple black silk shirtdress.

As the show progressed into evening, Wu amped up the heat. Beaded bias-cut cocktail numbers were gathered at the hip and exposed flashes of skin, and the two gowns he closed with were remarkably bare, featuring bodices that plunged nearly to the navel and open backs. But even with that hit of sex, this show came across a little too refined, a little too neat. We saw those Steven Klein pictures of Wu in W; a bit more of the designer’s sardonic wit wouldn’t have gone amiss here.

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