Face Time: Jason Wu

Fashion designer, Francophile


Best known for creating Michelle Obama’s inaugural ball gown and other femme, high-end dresses, New York designer Jason Wu is taking his talents to Target. His lower-priced collection, in stores and at Target.com Sunday, boasts frocks, sweaters and bags that maintain his signature simplicity (sweet stripes, striking colors, ladylike shapes) at seriously affordable prices (less than $60 a pop). We caught up with Wu about the gamine chic-meets-American street style line.

Why’d you decide to work with Target?
For years, I avoided doing a more popularly priced collection. But after meeting the Target team, I felt really inspired to do it. I’m a fan of what they’ve done, so why not?

You’re used to designing high-end clothes. Was doing a different price point tough?
You know, it comes with its challenges. It’s not difficult; it’s just a different design process than what I do. It just works differently. I was really specific on how I wanted to work on this. I didn’t want to replicate any part of my collections verbatim, meaning I didn’t want to just translate what I do literally. I wanted to design a new collection that has my aesthetic and my touch, but was unique.

What inspired the collection?
French new wave films and the likes of Jean Seberg and Anna Karina. It’s “gamine chic” incorporated with American sportswear details, channeling an American girl in Paris.

Any other collaborations coming up in the future?
I don’t have any other collaborations lined up just yet. I’m mainly just focusing on designing and putting together my fall collection.

What’s your favorite item you’ve ever designed?
That would be like choosing which child is your favorite. But one of my favorites was the yellow dress Diane Kruger wore to the 2010 SAG Awards. It was a moment!

Can you give me one style tip for the D.C. woman?
Don’t be afraid to wear something feminine and still be taken seriously. Embrace your femininity.

If you could choose to see anyone, alive or dead, wearing your clothing, who would you choose?
Diana Vreeland. She was so sophisticated and classic, such a style icon.

Written by Express contributor Erin Cunningham

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Vicky Hallett · February 3, 2012