It’s not the thought, it’s what you do with it. Which is by way of saying that except for his set — walls veiled in white; still-crated chandelier; runway assembled of smoky mirror panels in gilt frames, all suggesting the loveliest of construction sites — and a soupçon of Saint Laurent, little about Jason Wu’s fall collection walked a straight line from his inspiration: the 25-year renovation of Versailles as chronicled in the three-tome photography set “Parcours Muséologique Revisité” by Robert Polidori. Which is all the better, as Wu avoided cumbersome constructivist moves, preferring to work the evolving grandeur motif by infusing appealing flourishes into his very pretty clothes.
“I love,” Wu said pre-show, “the relationship between the opulence mixed with the under-structure, the raw building material.” (Read: How great to lavish jewels and froth upon savvy wardrobe staples.) Similarly, he noted that when you take things apart and put them back together, “it’s always a little bit different.” (Read: Affixing pricey, cut-up lace to a basic lady sheath takes it to the cusp of exotic.)
Wu scored big on both counts. In New York’s early going there’s a movement afoot to destabilize classic sportswear with hyper-attention to detail, particularly embellishment. Wu did so beautifully by putting wide strips of lace down the sleeves of a coat and sweatshirt, and, in one of his most charming moves, attaching a lace “train” (really a peplum-type affair) to the inside of a parka, its scalloped edge protruding from the hem.
More often than not, his tailoring came in lean, androgynous silhouettes which, when lavished with colorful crystals, had an unexpected touch of the rhinestone cowboy. Conversely, feathered affairs and some beautifully embroidered gowns were all femme fatale.