If you were in any doubt as to what brand Jason Wu was about, the designer put a helpful reminder on his show notes: “Glamour”. Simple.
But, actually, where his previous collections had been a more traditional exploration into this, spring/summer 2016 has a little bit of rough around the edges to it – by which we mean the use of texture: here frayed edges on cropped proportions for jackets and short shorts that had a summer safari feel to them; raffia-esque tunics and lace panel inserts on spaghetti-strap dresses or a louche tuxedo look.
There came undulating folds and ruffles that wafted down from halter necks or cascaded out from the hips and hems and it felt like a much more relaxed take on cocktail hour than other times we’ve seen, undone in the right places while still catering to that sense of prim luxe upon which he’s built his reputation.
Polished, industrial, sharp and serious – one can’t help but think that ever since Jason Wu took on the helm of Hugo Boss this time last year that the aesthetic has filtered out onto his own eponymous line. As we saw at the start of the week, his namesake label was less full of the flounce and frou that it once was. And Boss is about a certain precision, a heritage luxury brand. That said, among the silhouettes today there was a renewed softness – rounder shoulders, a play on proportion and panels for lithe dresses and leg-of-mutton sleeves.
Jason Wu is a designer who courted a great crowd from the outset – you’ll recall Michelle Obama and a certain inauguration gown. It’s hard not to talk about him without making the reference – such was its career-defining moment, putting him more visibly on the map and plucking him from an overcrowded New York Fashion Week schedule. He continued to court his glamorous troops with Inez Van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin among his front row to add a little edge, which was the overall feel that followed in the collection.
These days Wu is moving away from the sensibility he started out with – less gowns fit for a modern-day ball, more utility gloss, a serious working wardrobe with an ultra-luxe overlay. His original Park Avenue princesses have become more fierce in their fashion taste with strong outerwear options (substantial and solid fur gilets and coats, lapel-unfurling jackets, impeccable tailoring as always) and slinky dresses accompanied by a decent flash of leg the mainstay of her wardrobe.
If there’s an event to go to now, she’s more modern in her approach to dressing for it – we could even (in this context and with those dress slits) throw the word risqué out there, though overall this was less the dazzling affair it has been in the past, more edited, streamlined and structured, a sense of the practical and every-day at its core. Which is no bad thing. Wu’s revision of his idea of glamour has simply now just opened him up to more avenues beside Park.
The Fall 2015 season is under way. It might take you weeks to get caught up on all the shows, so here is a daily edit of the best accessories and details from the collections, as selected by Style.com’s fashion market director, Rachael Wang.
Mary Katrantzou At Mary Katrantzou, the models floated by on chunky platforms wrapped in jewel-tone velvet, a girlish look complete with opaque ribbed tights and a Pepto-Bismol pink runway made of foam.
Ralph Lauren A wide-brim felt fedora isn’t necessarily breaking news, but there’s something to be said for a really good hat. Ralph Lauren’s oversize teddy brown version is an instant classic and added the perfect bit of rugged panache to a very glamorous collection.
Michael Kors Michael Kors nailed it with this top-handle handbag that reads like a mint-condition treasure you might find at an antique market. It’s equal parts luggage and doctor bag with enough hardware to make it special, the right warm caramel leather to make it versatile, and the perfect chubby size to make it practical for everyday.
Jason Wu It’s still early days, but Fall 2015 is going to be a big season for fur. Jason Wu’s belted stole added just the right covetable punctuation to an otherwise simple head-to-toe olive look.