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August 20 2014

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Jason Wu’s Big Vision For Boss

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“Sleeping is so last season,” laughed Jason Wu from his New York studio. He was only half kidding. Since Wu was appointed as the new artistic director of womenswear at Hugo Boss last June, he’s had to learn to balance—and separate—designing for the German brand and his eponymous range. “I had apprehensions about being able to juggle both, showing both in New York, being able to make them look different…I thought it was a big challenge,” conceded Wu, who will present his first Boss effort in New York on Wednesday, February 12. “But at this point in my career, it felt really right to embark on this new journey, to challenge myself to do something unexpected.”

Given Boss’ history of stern, precise menswear and Wu’s penchant for directional, feminine designs (he’s not one to shy away from a frill here, or a ruffle there), Wu may have seemed an unlikely choice for Boss, whose women’s range has failed to take off since it was launched in 2000. But his fresh eye, artistic spirit, and understanding of women’s bodies—and wants—might provide just the edge Boss needs. Case in point, his first film for the house, which debuts exclusively here. Styled by Joe McKenna and lensed by Inez & Vinoodh, who also shoot Wu’s own campaigns, the film is aptly dubbed This Is Boss, and stars the new face of the brand, Edie Campbell. “With this film, I wanted to answer the question on a lot of people’s minds: What are we trying to do here?” said Wu, adding that Campbell is the embodiment his hypothetical Boss woman. “She’s modern, she’s someone you want to get to know, she’s well-traveled, cultured, successful…she’s the right person to represent my new vision.”

This Is Boss was shot at the Philip Johnson Glass House in Connecticut, largely because the locale reminded Wu of Boss’s Metzingen, Germany, campus, which happens to have inspired his Fall ’14 collection. “The campus is made up of three huge glass buildings, but it’s set in this picturesque countryside. It’s a complete opposition of beautiful, natural elements and these hard lines of steel and concrete, yet they blend together perfectly. And when I saw it, I said, ‘That is where I’m going to find my womenswear inspiration.’” This concept of opposites appears in the short, too. As Campbell is shown running through the snow in a sharply cut black overcoat (an unexpected blizzard nearly foiled Wu’s shoot), fractured images of cityscapes and blossoming roses flash across the screen. “All the elements are odd together, yet intriguing, and great at the same time,” Wu said. “The film incorporates not only Boss’ DNA, but also expresses everything that the Boss woman is, and wants to be. It’s all her thoughts in one picture.”

As for what we can expect on Wednesday, Wu revealed that we’ll see disciplined menswear influences with a feminine kick, as well as notes of Bauhaus. So is Wu nervous about the big show? “I don’t have time to be nervous!” he chuckled. “I just have time to create and make it all happen.”

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