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April 18 2014

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beyond kimonos: jason wu’s japanese influence

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First things first: Just because Jason Wu is citing a Japan inspiration this season, that doesn’t mean his Spring 2009 collection, which he’s showing tomorrow, is composed of a bunch of, well, you know. “People hear ‘Japan’ and immediately think ‘kimonos,’ ” Wu sighs. “Speaking as someone who’s Asian, that’s totally the most obvious reference. Haven’t you at least seen pictures of Tokyo? There is so much going on there, so many things to be inspired by. Samurais and geishas were a long time ago.” Wu’s trip this summer to the Japanese capital gave him a fresh perspective on the city, which he’s visited many times, and he’s distilled its neon-lit night into a palette packed with punchy colors. More than that, Tokyo’s sensory density inspired the CFDA/Vogue finalist to pack an extraordinary amount of detail into his new clothes—one dress, he says, features at least 3,000 French knots, plus embroidery. “This has been such a breakthrough year for me, both in terms of the attention I’ve received and in terms of the ways I’ve broadened the horizons of my line. This is the first collection I’ve done that feels balanced day-to-night. I’m taking ideas from evening dresses and finding ways to translate them into outerwear, suiting, knits.” But no kimonos. Ever.

Photo: Courtesy of Jason Wu

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