Jason Wu for Target–Collection in stores Feb. 5.

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In honor of affordable high-fashion—I revive a chat I had with the wunderkind designer Jason Wu last year.
Wu was at the Nordstrom store in Fashion Valley  store to promote his Spring 2011 clothing line–the store is the exclusive San Diego carrier. 

Prior to the President and first lady Michelle Obama’s inaugural entrance in 2009, Jason Wu was simply an extremely talented recent Parsons grad…all that changed the moment Mrs. Obama stepped onto the world stage wearing Wu’s one-shoulder white gown—it was the fashion moment heard round the world. 

The gown now has a permanent home in the Smithsonian museum in Washington DC, and Wu has the opportunity most designers would kill for.

RS-What or who was the inspiration for your Spring 2011 line?

JW– I look at a lot of artists and travel is a huge inspiration for me.  Everywhere I go informs my aesthetic.  But when I saw the Brazilian artist Beatrize Milhazes, her work jumped out at me.  It’s filled with lots of color and vivid texture.  It’s very bright and happy. People want to be happy again and love clothing.  Clothes transform us, we dress the part, and people are dressing for a brighter future.

RS– You’ve been quoted as describing the line as “dangerous”. Why?

JS– It’s “dangerous” because it’s sexier than in the past.  Lots of subtle sensuality—sheer tops, leopard prints, bursts of color, exposed back—very liberating and seductive.

(The sheer blouses, simple but vibrantly colorful shift dresses, perfect belted LBD’s, and graphic patterned and beautifully fitting gowns were all easy and wearable standouts.)

RS– Describe the fall-out of dressing the first lady?

JW– Firstly, I’m a fan.  I would say that it was life changing and very meaningful.  I was given this huge opportunity, but I was also under a huge spot light.  There was a great amount of pressure and scrutiny.   I felt the experience forced me to prove myself–it has pushed my collection and me.

RS– Describe the Jason Wu woman?

JW– She’s practical, but with a lot of style.  I started working and sewing when I was thirteen, so I feel I understand work ethic.  And women today are working more than ever.  Her clothes have to take her from day to night.  I try to design with that in mind.  I think of it as all-in-one styling. A dress that has artistry, but is still designed for the world we live in.