Who needs a formal runway? Not Jason Wu, who experimented with an alternative format last season and came away pleased with the result. After that low-key presentation, during which he re-branded the luxury tier of his business as Jason Wu Collection, he opted for a variation here — an artful installation in an artist’s studio behind his fragrance pop-up store that opened on Mercer Street in celebration of the launch of his second scent, Velvet Rouge. Wu said he wants his presentations to be about “just the clothes, nothing else. I want to fall in love with the craft, and why I got into this business again.” And, he noted, there’s plenty of exquisite craftsmanship created right here in New York.
Wu’s lineup — 18 looks presented in a gallerylike installation amidst floral wonders by Putman & Putman — argued convincingly in the affirmative. Taking inspiration from Irving Penn’s flower photos, and combined with his fragrance development, the rose became the focal point. But subtly so, in various derivations of petal constructions rather than an effusive print display. He applied the petal technique in various ways: horizontal frills detailing the bodice of a red cocktail dress; delicate black-edged vertical ruffles down the front of a silk shirtwaist gown; graduated, imprecise mauve tiers creating an intriguing undone mermaid.
In case you’re wondering, Wu showed a couple of dresses that could pass as dressed-up daywear, but that’s it. One presumes he hasn’t fully purged everyday fare from his commercial Collection range; surely, there’s plenty of day in his contemporary line, also rebranded last season, from Grey Jason Wu to Jason Wu.
Wu’s just not interesting in trying to say everything at once, and for fall wanted to send a clear, tight message. “I wanted the collection to be super glamorous and sophisticated and refined in a time where maybe that’s not the most important value,” he said. “But that is my value.” Point made, beautifully.