Fashion designer Jason Wu, best known for creating one of the dresses Michelle Obama wore to the 2009 inauguration festivities (She also wore another of his designs at this year's inauguration.), was in Chicago recently to introduce his new collection, Miss Wu, to Nordstrom shoppers. We caught up with the 30-year-old before the event.
What’s the story behind Miss Wu?
I started my namesake label, Jason Wu, a little more than six years ago and it’s been in Nordstrom for almost that long. So when [president of merchandising] Pete Nordstrom asked me about creating a contemporary collection that would debut at Nordstrom, I really thought that was a great idea. Girls around my age are fashion conscious and want clothes that are investment pieces, but might not be ready to be able to afford designer price points. This line is by no means inexpensive, but it’s much more approachable.
You started out designing for dolls?
I did. When I was 16, it was my first job. I was in boarding school, and it was a part-time job. It was fun and very creative and I got to be an adult and work, which is all I wanted to do at the time. It really allowed me to see how a business is run. It really helped prepare me, subconsciously, for when I started my label when I was 23.
You even collaborated with RuPaul on a doll design.
Yeah, that was my idea to make a RuPaul doll. I’m the biggest RuPaul fan. RuPaul’s Drag Race is my favorite show in the world.
You might be the only designer who’s designed things for both RuPaul and Michelle Obama.
Yeah, designing for RuPaul and the First Lady were both really amazing.
Who else would you like to see in a Jason Wu design?
I love Cate Blanchett, she’s one of my favorites. She’s worn my bag, but not my clothes…yet.