Jason Wu RTW Spring 2011

Wu's spring collection flaunted a self-aware, perfectionist approach to design, balancing beautifully tailored sportswear against girlish froth.



From Day One, Jason Wu has worked to make everyone forget that, four years into his business, he’s still only 27. Maturity is his thing, and not only in his taste for clothes — always equal parts pretty and sophisticated — but the way he handles them. His spring collection flaunted this self-aware, perfectionist approach to design, balancing beautifully tailored sportswear against girlish froth. That tension worked quite well for day with great trousers, pleated and wide with a Forties swagger, worn with filmy blouses in point d’esprit, organza and lace chiffon and layered under meatier tweeds.

There were plenty of Wu’s familiar motifs, such as outsize jabot collars and striped knits, circulated throughout perhaps with the intention of becoming signatures. Speaking of which, show notes announced a new house icon: a wide-eyed owl named Miss Wu. Going forward, she’ll appear on the clothes and sunglasses, as well as the new shoe and bag collection, which made its debut on the runway: frame bags and heels done in contrast leathers, all extremely chic and ladylike but with a very welcome bite.

As in past seasons, Wu cultivated a specific artistic reference, this time the vibrant works of Brazilian artist Beatriz Milhazes, known for her use of bold, saturated tones. “She’s all about color and I’m all about color,” he said. Milhazes’ influence was most obvious in the evening lineup, which ranged from body-skimming sheaths to dresses abloom with petal embroideries. But where Wu could have gone for earnest explosions of color he exercised complete control, tempering pops of magenta, violet and yellow and the finale goddess gowns, with plenty of nudes and neutrals. The result was undeniably pretty and well crafted.

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