Jason Wu has been at this for a long time, now. The New York-based designer has been a stalwart of red carpet dressing for more than 15 years, perhaps most famously via Michelle Obama. And though he has remained true to his style as a classically trained modiste, last September, for Spring Summer 2024, Wu began detailing a new era – an expressive, looser hand. An “evolution”, as he describes it. Keep reading for a peek into NYFW Jason Wu edition.
Today’s collection, Fall/Winter 2024, shown in New York City, was the next instalment of the new Wu. A heavily darkened runway with models dramatically spaced and spot-lit was akin to the beguiling theatrics of Marc Jacobs’ Fall 2019 show. The collection itself, an amorous display of raw-edged textures bound into more traditional feminine silhouettes drew an emotive, almost romantic melancholy from its constructed deconstruction. Wrapped-up wools with bodice gathering were pulled long, wide and rough at the sleeves, fine black suiting was contrasted with visible white lining as though a pattern remained fastened to its interior and dresses were kept raw-edged, simplified and asymmetrically draped. Most notably, however, were the evening gowns that, although of a regal nature (with rosette folds and sweetheart necklines) were given an inspired casual-ification through the use of thick garbardine-type wools with tattered hems and loose threads.
The result was an atelier fever dream. On Wu’s Instagram, he teased the show with black and white clips taken in his studio. Moments that included pattern-cutting, heat-setting, fastener-selecting and machine-sewing were given the mellifluous caption of “a rhythmic hum of craftsmanship in the making” by Wu. This is his own Métiers d’Art, a celebration of the architecture, the engineering, the people and the very fibre that makes his clothing so supreme.
His influence, he noted too this time, was 20th Century British illustrator Arthur Rackham. Rackman’s ink and watercolour sketches were a distinct feature of whimsical turn-of-the-century storybooks and was appropriated here through subtle abstractions on shift dresses, skirt ensembles and long-line jackets. This print then contrasted againes the use of almost iridescent crushed organza, wild boutonnière-embellished silks tops and delicious duvet quilted coats that reminded of the Moncler Genius collection of 2018.
Despite the departure from his self-described “pretty” aesthetic, this collection is still wholly picturesque. The molten gold peplum gown that flickered and shadowed from its own wavy contours and whose bodice lilted as the model walked the runway was inarguably mesmerising – an atelier achievement. One surely already being noted by Mrs. Obama…or anyone who has an appointment with the red carpet.
This story originally appeared on GRAZIA International.