TSE Cashmere has a long history of collaborating with fashion talents. A refresher: There were both Hussein Chalayan and Narciso Rodriguez before Richard Chai and then Tess Giberson. The latest name in the company's cozy quarters is Jason Wu. Today, the young designer, who has actually produced the knits for his own label with TSE for three seasons, dipped a toe in the water with a capsule collection of 13 looks.
Wu's goal was to merge his very feminine and polished sensibility with the ease of a favorite cardigan. "I really wanted to push myself," he said at the presentation, where models stood obediently, each on her own fluorescent-lit slab. His balancing act was a decidedly attractive one. Pleated chiffon skirts peeked prettily out from hearty (or at least heartier than Wu's uptown fare) sweater dresses. He played the savage quality of a looped wool dress off a precise and proper tailored double-face cashmere coat. And a pleated and asymmetrically draped frock that he described as "one of my dresses that went through the washing machine" could snag him a wholly new customer. Inspired by artist Robert Ryman—and probably the endless innovative possibility of great knitwear—Wu experimented all over with texture. It came together to chic effect in a look that paired a rough, marled charcoal wool tunic with a delicate cream chiffon skirt embroidered with tight, ink black scribbles. Wu's collaboration with TSE might be a one-off event, or it could be the first of several. "We have to discuss further steps," he said. For what it's worth, it would be interesting to see Wu walk this way again.
Shown opposite Wu's wares was the work of TSE designers Dushane Noble and Jessica Groom, who had taken a softer and more minimal route with head-to-toe tonal looks in winter white, slate blue, and burgundy. These reflected the label's typical luxurious and uncluttered ethos and offered a hint of American sportswear in the vein of Halston or Geoffrey Beene, aided no doubt by the knit turbans that topped several looks.