Jason Wu’s sea-washed, grit-and-glamour spring ethos came ashore for fall.
The “Nocturne” collection felt like a sister to his previous effort, with stunning craftsmanship and a luxurious approach to deconstruction. But it was also a nod to his personal evolution as both a sportswear and eveningwear designer, with inspirations à la illustrator Arthur Rackham harking back to his fall 2009 collection.
“That show looked like a fairy tale, which I love, but this one’s more subversive. 2009 to now, it’s very interesting. I always say, ‘everyone should be lucky to be put in a box because’ that means you’re known for something. But at the same time, we all need to evolve and I’ve evolved a lot. I wanted to revisit a topic from a long time ago,” he said.
His fall collection proved that with an emphasis on rich textures, inside-out constructions, hand-drawn flora and fauna motifs, “deconstructed” luxe sportswear and “glamour, glamour.”
The collection instantly set the mood with look one’s drapey long gray jersey dress with outside seaming details — the look was an ode to Geoffrey Beene, one of the two iconic American designers who Wu referenced in his collection.
The references were both personal and purposeful to Wu, who backstage emphasized his steadfast enthusiasm for showing in New York and for American designers. “We need credit in New York as we make beautiful clothes here. We’re not just commercial designers. I think American couture is a real thing,” he said.
Fall’s architecturally draped corsets gowns — his own Charles James moments — in rust-toned, crushed gold metal satin and muslin-hued silk-spun cotton (with a little bit of linen) renditions certainly fit the bill. Ditto for sensual, hand-shredded fil coupe organza dresses that evoked healing bark.
Next to “old school,” Wu also peppered in rich collaborations with “new school,” emerging designers, including plush, enveloping cashmere knits with Crush Collection and gilded jewelry with Sauer (as well as footwear with Gianvito Rossi for the first time).
Wu said he spent three months in fabric development, and it showed all the way from grosgrain-woven bustier nestled between raw edge suiting and padded luxe puffer-meets-opera coats to delicate floral embroidered sheer origami tops and printed and layered organza midis.
All in all, it was a collection steeped in dark, moody beauty — one that certainly requires an up-close, second look.