Jason Wu has always been a glass-half-full kind of guy — a viewpoint that extends to his belief in New York as a fashion capital. “I think everybody’s quite down on New York Fashion Week right now,” he said in a conversation a few days before his show. “I spent my entire life trying to move here. I feel like it’s my responsibility to bring some happiness and joy to what I still believe to be a very important city for fashion. I want the collection to have a sense of calm elegance and be quite optimistic.”
Consider it done. The collection Wu showed for fall was a jewel — from inspiration to exquisite realization. For his starting point, Wu looked at the work of Ettore Sottsass and Michele De Lucchi, their jewelry as well as their larger works. While one might thus have expected clean lines and precision of structure, instead Wu opted for a gentler interpretation, drawing from the architects’ often-rich palettes, while keeping his silhouettes linear but languid. Wide cropped silk T and skirt combinations, one in red, one in brown, bared discreet wedges of skin at the waist; a shimmering bottle-green pajama top was extended to mid-calf over matching pants. Throughout, Wu worked with silk plissé and raw edging that gave the clothes an artful vibe that was intensified by the embroideries — random dapples of big, bold crystals. He employed these with egalitarian fervor on pieces as diverse as a meaty sweater over a wrapped plaid skirt and a sheer black skirt under a belted jacket. Even the tailoring had a relaxed attitude, in large part because of Wu’s choice of fabrics. It made for quite a sophisticated statement that infused an inviting ease that today we equate with a latent, alluring exotica.