For spring, Jason Wu sought to explore “the relationship of construction with ease.” After two seasons of overt power-woman audacity (including a soupcon of Helmut Newton), he was wise to let the air in and the seams out. This collection felt lighter and more genuine to the innate prettiness on which Wu leapt to fame — but at a price. Appealing though it was, the collection lacked evidence of the experimentation one hopes for from a still-young designer.

Wu’s relaxed mood stopped well short of slouchy, realized instead in languid but still shapely lines. Often, half-corsets in back added provocation as well as structure. He favored a calm palette of sandy neutrals (beiges, tobaccos) and gentle shots of color — pale sage, blush — and a casual attitude that recalled the sporty chic of Calvin Klein.  

Throughout, Wu combined utilitarian and dressed-up elements — putting a trench jacket over an embroidered chiffon skirt or reworking the utilitarian jumpsuit in silk crepe, its bodice sheer beneath strategically positioned pockets. He joojed up a classic gray sweatshirt with shredded chiffon froth and tossed a beige suede topper over a metallic slipdress. The dresses were lovely — bias-cut swirls of shimmery embroideries and the showstopper, a high-glam mermaid gown sprung from a simple tank. And lest anyone forget that Wu is building a lifestyle brand, he sent out numerous looks with variations of his terrific bags.

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