Jason Wu and Imitation of Christ open New York Fashion Week
Jason Wu opened this month’s New York Fashion Week on the Sunday night of Valentine’s Day, with a nostalgic ode to Coca Cola capitalism.
While Imitation of Christ duo, Tara Subkoff and Matthew Damhave, followed Wu up with a call for whimsy and sublimity, inspired in part by the loss of one of Subkoff’s friends to Covid-19.
Wu explained that he was “feeling nostalgic” about his New England schooldays, and the “very idyllic Americana of those years.”
Though he actually harked further back to the 1950s, playing on the idea of the real-life general store. His set for his live, yet private, show included baskets of flower and plywood crates of tomatoes, leeks and pumpkins.
Wu will be one the few shows with actual live models in this week’s New York season; the vast majority of whose events are digital presentations or fashion videos. The three-and-a-half-day season includes some 60 brands, and climaxes Wednesday night with Tom Ford. However, New York is bereft of shows, or even videos, by a half-dozen of its greatest fashion houses including Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein and Marc Jacobs.
For the season’s opener, Wu’s cast dressed demurely, their hair pulled back in ladylike chignons, as Wu respected his own inner city cosmopolitan DNA.
As he explained last season, during the pandemic he’s been cooking his mother’s recipes and “finding new ways to be expressive.” And, thanks to Chef’s Warehouse, Wu was able to fill his show with the finest ingredients, which charity City Harvest could then pass on to help New Yorkers most in need.
Wu also played on the most ubiquitous expression of American soft-power capitalism – Coca Cola. After being given free rein to their archives, but not - one imagines - to their secret formula, weaving in iconic Coca Cola bottles into prints, notably in a dense multi-logo silk frock in candy apple red; or a black and white bottle print seen in a plissé skirt. Part of a series of international Coca Cola logos in various languages.
“These logos bring that multicultural aspect to the collection and a nod to what America means to me – a melting pot of diverse cultures,” said Wu. He took his bow dressed in all black – jeans, top coat, mask and hoodie featuring the Coca Cola logo in Chinese.
What also worked well were the great, almost painterly knits; and the perfectly judged jackets, as Wu honed his craft in the lockdown. His goal, he said, was to “create a collection of elevated American sportswear, handcrafted artisanal details with an emphasis on outerwear.”
Wu has always cut a great coats; and again added a sense of majesty with long, mannish topcoats with extra hand stitched detailing. Better yet a matelassé Canadian trapper look with black torso and plaid sleeves.
Adding in metallic earrings and pendants in autumnal leaf shapes was also a neat touch; as was using the same shapes in art gallery opening frocks.
Later in the evening, Imitation of Christ, or IoC as they are often known, played on whimsicality via drum majorette tops paired with baggy pants; colonial military jackets seen over crushed golden silk bras; tie-dye t-shirts with lace sheathes worn by men with hairy legs and off-beat screen goddess gowns with eccentric lacing.
Circus performers at a downtown after, after-party, or better yet -- in search of one of IoC’s much missed performance art runway happenings. May that return soon.
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