"Baroque sportswear" is how Jason Wu sums up his fall 2011 collection, which he showed this afternoon at Center 584 in Chelsea. The runway consisted of fragmented — or deconstructed, if you will — antique mirrors that caused one model to have a slight bobble as she rounded a corner. "It was really slippery," model Karlie Kloss told us after the show. "And I, thank goodness, had a full dress rehearsal, so I got to kind of experience it before everybody else. Some of the girls [walked on it] for the first time in the actual show, and everybody was a little caught off guard, but the show goes on."
And that runway was the perfect complement to the collection: Wu's inspiration came from a series of photos taken by Robert Poliodori of the restoration of Versailles. "We're definitely in a lace state of mind," said the designer, who used over fifteen different kinds of it, all of which he had made in Paris. Dresses had lace sleeves, skirts came with lace panel overlays, and some models wore "sculpted lace masks," as the show notes called them, with their evening gowns. "I'm sort of a nerd — love techniques and I love beautiful fabrics. And they have to be right now — our customers are looking for things that are truly special," Wu said, hinting that recessionary buying habits were still on his mind.
After taking a break from doing press to "say hi" to his mom, Wu said she's never missed one of his shows. Having only slept two hours last night, the designer said he plans to vacation in Paris in a couple of weeks. His itinerary there is simple: "I'm going to go eat everything I see," says the foodie who's been on a "Fashion Week non-diet" of Vietnamese bánh mì sandwiches from Boi Sandwich in Midtown. "It's not exactly low fat, but it's good."
He might encounter a few fans when he travels. He was recognized in a mall in Atlanta once, when he was doing a trunk show at Jeffrey. Wu says photographers even take his picture in the airport when he goes to Taiwan, where he's from, but jokes he's "not quite" the Lady Gaga of fashion designers. He encounters fans in New York, too. "Always in Starbucks," he says.