“Growing up, I always admired Yves Saint Laurent because he never cared about what was in fashion,” Jason Wu said last night, at the Waldorf Astoria, of the masterful designer who served as inspiration to him in the early days of his career. “He was fashion,” Wu added before heading to the stage to accept his YMA Future of Fashion Award.
As he stood in front of a crowd of 850 people, a group that included Yigal Azrouël, Iris Apfel, Sophie Théallet, and Alina Cho (the host for the evening), he had 126 college students (recipients of Geoffrey Beene National Scholarship Awards—”the Super Bowl of fashion scholarships,” as Cho put it) in the room who were looking to him for words of wisdom. Wu confessed, the path to success was not as easy, or glamorous, as he had imagined. “In the early days, I wore many hats: ‘designer,’ ‘shipping manager,’ and ‘sales rep,’ ” he said. Motioning a fake telephone call with his hands, he joked, ” ‘Hello, you have reached the Jason Wu studio, how may I help you? No, sorry, that’s currently not available, sorry.’ ” On a more serious note, he thanked Michelle Obama for being one of his greatest supporters, and Anja Rubik and Karlie Kloss (both in attendance), “for always making my clothes look good.”
Kloss, who was there (wearing Wu, of course) as the designer’s arm candy for the night, gushed over some of her favorite Wu pieces. “I wore this huge gown made from, like, 30 pounds of tulle that I closed the show in one season and it was seriously the definition of a showstopper,” Kloss told Style.com. “It collected everything in its path—dogs, children, or dirt, they all ended up in the middle of this dress.” Enough about the big dress, how about Kloss’ big year? “2011 was a fun one, but 2012, it’s happening, baby,” she said with an ear-to-ear smile. Though she had her lips sealed on the details of her upcoming projects, she said, “Especially if the world is going to end, you better make it a good one.”