Hugo Boss Womenswear Fall 2014: The evolution of Jason Wu


During my very first season of New York Fashion Week coverage in 2006, I stood in line alongside a celebrity photographer in a crowded Bryant Park tent.  At that moment, the photographer wasn’t on assignment scoping out the lobby looking for stars.  It turned out that he was also a doll-collecting enthusiast and a big fan of the toy-turned-fashion designer we were waiting to see.

As the photographer eagerly filled me in on Jason Wu’s biography, I wondered whether the Taiwanese Canadian designer’s fashion for his Integrity Toys multiethnic dolls would work for the human figure.  Wu’s Fall 2006 collection was the first time that he had created clothing for girls all grown up.  Classic, elegant and safe, his evening gowns showed promise but no certain future.  After all, unlike Fashion Weeks in cities such as London where the schedule of shows remains fairly predictable, New York can be fickle: an open test for those who have the means, but a harsh lesson for any designer, regardless of age, whose promise can abruptly fade into oblivion after just one season.

Obviously, this ended up not being the case for Wu, now 31.  When Michelle Obama famously donned one of his gowns to her husband’s first inauguration, it proved to be a turning point in Wu’s professional metamorphosis.  Eight years after his first New York showing, Wu currently balances his namesake label with his appointment as Artistic Director BOSS Womenswear for Hugo Boss.  With the New York Fashion Week Fall 2014 collections marking his debut for the latter, the anticipation was tangible.  Would he be able to find a happy medium between the stirring evolution of his own label and a 90-year-old company traditionally known for conservative men’s suits?

The answer: a resounding yes.  Fittingly, the architecture of the German company’s headquarters – combined with Wu’s ready-to-wear background – propelled this first collection, juxtaposing structure with femininity. “I think I really wanted to extract the DNA of BOSS,” Wu said of his collection in a backstage video interview that the company published on Wednesday.  “I wanted to take a rich heritage of just making beautiful tailored goods and be able to turn that into something quite feminine, strong, sophisticated.  And delicate, at the same time.”

Wu’s masterful assortment of modernized power suits and evening dresses for the professional woman successfully toes the line between close of business and cocktail hour.  The best aspect of this collection is that the actual start of cocktail hour is completely at the discretion of the Hugo Boss woman herself.  Delicate black, patched sheer tops peered out from the deep V-necked collars of blazers and trench coats.  Black stiletto ankle boots and loafers toughened up glittering cocktail dresses.  Embroideries featuring Bauhaus art-inspired prints added unexpected visual twists to otherwise stoic, buttoned-up, long-sleeved coats cinched with belts.

While Wu’s BOSS Womenswear Fall 2014 collection proves that he has aptly matured from designing for dolls to girls to women, he believes his work is far from over.

“Today was just Chapter 1,” Wu said in that same backstage interview of his role at Hugo Boss.  “I cannot wait for Chapters 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7.”

Photos: BOSS Womenswear Fall 2014 by Jason Wu – New York Fashion Week
all photos by Kwai Chan / Meniscus Magazine

Video: BOSS Womenswear Fall 2014 by Jason Wu – New York Fashion Week
video by Kwai Chan / Meniscus Magazine