Fashion / Style

Jason Wu Fights Back Against Sweatpants With Dreamy Glamour and Exacting Craftsmanship

Dressing Like You Mean It

BY // 09.22.21

NEW YORK — During the heart of the pandemic, Jason Wu kept the fashion flag flying as one of the few designers to continue to present a live show during New York Fashion Week. The  shows, presented in fall 2020 and winter 2021, were small, featuring Wu’s contemporary collection of knock-around clothing rather than the artfully executed day dresses and evening wear he is known for, and audiences were limited to a few heavily masked attendees.

But Wu’s message was clear. The show must go on.

Now he’s back to doing what he does best. For his full-scale runway show in nearly two years, Jason Wu returned to his roots.

The 38-year-old designer has always been interested in flowers (since the age of 5, when his father, whose pastime was gardening, taught him every flower that he still knows). And, throughout his career, Wu has been continually fascinated by the process of creating fabric.

So for this collection, he combined his two passions, collaborating with fabric artist Cara Marie Piazza, who uses a technique where flowers are pressed onto fabric so that they imprint themselves onto the material in a blurry, impressionistic way.

“I was inspired by the art of craftsmanship this season and the idea of working with the hand. I was especially intrigued by different, innovative techniques of dyeing fabrics using strictly natural materials, including delicate florals which are an integral part of the brand DNA,” Jason Wu explains in his program notes.

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“Special techniques include hand dyed florals using frozen roses, ranunculus, safflower and lac beetle pigments that achieve a cloudy, almost impressionistic effect. Bundle dyeing was also used with steamed roses and cosmos while cloudy pinks were achieved through hand sponging with cochineal extract and logwood.”

The result shows through in blurry floral print dresses of varying lengths and billowy ballgowns with a dreamlike quality. Interspersed among the florals are bold monchromatic gowns in red, yellow and black that really stand out.

Just about the entire collection, which is available in Houston at Elizabeth Anthony, is made for special event dressing.

“We want glamour,” Wu tells E! News. “There’s no shortage of ballgowns here. Sweatpant dressing was the thing last year, but this year it’s all about glamour.”

Adding to the effect was a floral-filled runway created by Emily Thompson. Afterwards, the materials from the show set were given to local dye artists and students from the Pratt Institute.

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