Jason Wu interview

The fashion prodigy tells TimeOut about his new collection and creating Michelle Obama’s dress


What is fashion all about?
Fashion is about looking and feeling comfortable and at ease in what you’re wearing. As a designer, I constantly aim to move fashion forward and test the boundaries.

When did you first realise you wanted to be a designer?
When I was nine years old, I was already making patterns, sketching and sewing – that’s when the fashion bug first bit me!

You’ve proved (with the help of Michelle Obama, right) that dressing for politics doesn’t have to mean suits and shapeless shift dresses. When you came up with the design for her dress, did you research past ‘politico’ fashion?
Not at all. Designing her inauguration dress was much more about creating something that symbolised hope, beauty and a fresh start for the US.

How did it feel when you saw her wearing it? Will you look back on it as a significant moment in your career?
Absolutely – it was a major turning point in my own life as well as in American history. Mrs Obama looked incredible, so confident and elegant. Many hours of work went into that one dress, but the second she stepped on stage I knew it had all been worth it.

What was the inspiration behind your spring/summer 2010 ready-to-wear collection?
I definitely took more design risks than ever before. I worked in lots of bold, unusual colours – mustard, bright red, and fuchsia, for instance – and chose fabrics with unexpected textures and finishes.

The recession has heralded more pared-down, classic designs. Is this something you’ve considered in your autumn collection?
I’ve always had an appreciation for fashion’s classics. Beautifully made pieces that are chic and versatile – gorgeous coats, perfectly fitted sheaths, and tailored blazers – are always safe buys, so I included lots
of great outerwear and day-to-day basics for autumn 2010.

You’re now stocked here in Dubai – have you visited the city before?
I visited for the first time a few months ago. The city is amazing, and I met so many stylish and interesting women. The Dubai culture holds the fashion world in such high regard, and it’s great to have such a strong presence in the Middle East.
Jason Wu’s designs are stocked at Saks Fifth Avenue, BurJuman (04 351 5551) and the Symphony Showroom (www.symphonystyle.blogspot.com).

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