Models swanning about in gowns you'll soon be seeing on a red carpet, a photographer plus assistants, hair and makeup people, a stylist, and another person on lint roller patrol…That was the scene at Jason Wu's studio. Pre-fall, in case you remain unconvinced, is every bit as big—and important—a collection as Fall itself. "They are four equal seasons now," said Wu. "This one, like the others, is about giving our girl luxury clothes. There's nothing watered down." Really, how could there be when Wu's inspirations were Indian maharajas and the colorful illustrations of Charley Harper, an artist noted for his bold, graphic depictions of nature?

Wu's Spring experiment in "edgy" appears to have been short-lived. "Regal" was the word he used here, and it fit. Not only were his evening dresses hand-embroidered—a strapless black gazar with green beading on the bodice and a silk georgette halter gown with a sequined collar were standouts—but so was daywear. Both his camel-hair cape and his burgundy trench boasted jet beads and paillettes at the shoulders, while a long-sleeve black sheath with an "exploded houndstooth" print down the front was in fact densely stitched with sequins. Even casual pieces got the royal treatment; a sporty striped sweater, for example, came in a loose crocheted weave.

In October, Target announced that Jason Wu will design a limited-edition collection for the retailer. One thing's for certain: There will be no mistaking these clothes for that high-low collaboration launching in February.