Jason Wu: Buttoned Up, Downtown

Jason Wu skyrocketed to stardom shortly after I made Chicago my home, and as he got his start at the infamous boutique, Ikram – located in downtown Chicago (hence Wu’s many appearances on a certain Chicago-based Obama), I’ve always had a special interest in following his career. After his CFDA win last year (Swarovski Award for Womenswear!), I had high expectations. It’s like when you’re niece or nephew grows out of the age range where messing up is still cute and acceptable – this is no time to wet the bed, Wu.

Post-collection, I can safely say: The proverbial sheets were dry, dry, dry. (…AKA This collection was lovely.)

Jason Wu

Known for his absolute knack for elegance while maintaining youthful vibrancy, Wu’s Fall 2011 collection seemed to be at once conservative (with necklines grazing the jawbone) and also a touch experimental. There were hints of Asia with intricately beaded jacket lapels and super-saturated silk. The pants were just that – pants. Tuxedo pants, which are undoubtedly sexy and acceptable, but nothing off-the-wall batty. A few jeans were thrown in making a typically formal Wu a bit casual, which was actually kind of refreshing. Formally, the gowns were¬† of typical droolworthy stature, with the exception of a couple avian-style mini-dresses that reminded me of the instrument responsible for the great signatures on the Declaration of Independence – something I’m not sure Wu was necessarily going for.

The collection had a seriously androgynous bent to it. Women in tuxedos and overcoats with slicked back hair, and highlighted, prominent jaws. I really loved the collection of intricately embellished jackets Wu created from beautifully pure colored cotton.

At some points, the collection too a decidedly colorless tone, and dresses and separates in black and white were paired in business-meeting-perfect couplings.

…And then we went back to vivid color in monochrome looks. I adore the look on the right – it looks perfectly comfortable, easy, and luxe.

but, hands down, this was my absolute favorite piece of the entire collection. From the underskirt to the waistline to the length to the sleeves… Everything about this is wonderful and perfect. Even the micro-dot stockings contribute positively to this. This is the dress that every girl should have in their closet.

The quill.

Wu ended his show on beautifully shiny gown notes. I could see these dresses on about 16 different rich people – and I bet I will.

View the rest of Jason Wu’s F/W 2011 collection on Style.com.