The Wu label, now in its fourth season, is slowly crystallizing into the sort worn by a well-groomed young lady with a penchant for immaculate details, the kind of girl who could be a future couture customer if she plays her career (or matrimonial) cards right. Grace Kelly is by now a bit of a careworn reference in the fashion world, but that's just who Wu's Spring show brought to mind: a contemporary version of the movie icon as she appeared in Rear Window.
Wu played to his customer with a pretty and well-constructed collection, keeping his waists high (and punctuated with narrow patent belts), his silhouettes lean (save for a few circle skirts of the 1950's-Kelly ilk), and his shapes classic (the sheath, the trench, the strapless tea-length cocktail dress). For the first time, he introduced pattern to his previously more restrained color palette, with hand-painted prints inspired by René Gruau, the illustrator eulogized in The Guardian as the "chief visualiser" to the great couturier Christian Dior. Bold and graphic, these had a strong impact in cherry red, acid yellow, and electric blue.
The show closed with a series of evening gowns, the most impressive of which was a mottled-gray chiffon number hand-sewn from a tremendous 55 yards of fabric, all cut on the bias. It was a demonstration of craftsmanship that not many twentysomething designers could have pulled off.