Today’s Gallery Collection presentation at Cedar Lake will be Wu’s swan song for a Boss women’s wear collection. But he and Hugo Boss executives appear to be ready to move on. Thanking Wu for his “incredible creative input and inspiration,” chief brand officer Ingo Wilts said, “I feel certain that he will approach all his future projects with the same compelling passion and zest that he brought to Hugo Boss — and for which we are highly indebted to him at that time.”
With a 10-year-old company of his own to run, Wu is proud of his five-year alliance with Boss. “I feel like by today’s standards that’s a very long time, which I’m very, very proud of. It’s public knowledge that about a year and a half ago there was a management change at Hugo Boss. I’ve really stayed on to help the brand with the transition of its next stage,” the designer said. “It’s going on to the next generation and iteration of Hugo Boss. We just shot the fall 2018 campaign in January in New York. I’m happy to have helped the brand get more notoriety in terms of women’s wear.”
The first Gallery Collection was unveiled during last summer’s Berlin Fashion Week. Last December, Wilts spoke of the need for redefining the women’s business while unveiling a new generation store at Mall of the Emirates, revealing plans to bridge the gap between its men’s and women’s lines. “We have to rebuild the women’s. Our woman always has to be feminine and sensual but she also has to be sexy. I think the mistake we did over the past years, we went a little left, right and center. We do need to address the younger customer in our product,” he said at that time.
Referencing the scope of projects that he has been able to work on with Hugo Boss — fragrance, fashion shows and campaigns — Wu said he felt fortunate to have collaborated with Wilts on “the next phase, his phase of Hugo Boss. I feel like it’s a good time for me to leave and to concentrate on my career and my own company.”
Although plenty has been written about big-name designers being stretched too thin, Wu said, “I’ve worn many different hats in the past 10 years and throughout my whole career. I am never really the complaining kind. I love doing a lot of things. One of my biggest idols is Karl Lagerfeld. I think to be able to do a lot is fortunate. I’m really happy to have done a lot. But I’m also happy now that I can concentrate 100 percent on my brand. We are really looking at Asia and China being a really big step for me next.”
But don’t look for Wu to be taking on a creative director role with another conglomerate in the immediate future. “After 10 years in the business, I feel like I need to devote all my energy on my own label,” he said.
Having started his own company right out of fashion school, Wu said he has never had a “quote-unquote official job in fashion” other than internships. “Through Hugo Boss I’ve just been able to learn so much about the inner workings of a mega international brand. There is a lot of knowledge that I will take with me to the next phase of my career in my own company. From global retail to visual merchandising to looking at a brand in a very 360-degree sense, I’ve learned things I never had experience in until I entered Hugo Boss. To look at everything in every category of products and to [see] how to take a seasonal message and have that translate at retail has been kind of amazing,” Wu said.