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Inspiration image from 'Helmut Newton Work', Tasch
Inspiration image from 'Helmut Newton Work', Taschen, 1997

EXCLUSIVE: Jason Wu Womenswear SS13

The designer shares an inspiration image by Helmut Newton

The set at Jason Wu was like the opening scene of a noir romance. Massive black and white tiles met a full length tilted mirror at the end of the runway, forever reflecting into what looked like endless space. The illusion transformed the St. John Centre Warehouse of the West Side Highway into a fantasy vanity powder room, the perfect place for a woman to wander around in her slip, setting her hair and her makeup before going out. Whatever mysteries are conjured up behind closed doors though were on display in leather and lace. To the lilting piano of Moonlight Sonata, Wu's lingerie-esque camisole minis, leather harnesses and lace covered bustiers added to the effect, a slightly restrained undressing that let a little sex into Wu's traditionally formal designs. Perhaps this luxurious lavatory motif was inspired by Wu's recent collaborator and show sponsor Brizo, a high end bath fixture company that featured a similarly noir motif in a press release at the show. Whatever the influence, the tiles were gleaming and the women walked them endlessly, mirrored like ghosts on a marble floor.

Dazed Digital: The environment was amazing: the set, the music, everything. Can you tell us what you were thinking?
Jason Wu:
Well, you know I always love a bit of a set. I was like, what if we just transform this industrial space into a beautiful mansion with this mansion-like floor? That was sort of the study of contrast that I wanted throughout the collection, and the set will really set the tone. You see the exposed work of the building but you have this perfectly polished floor. The mirrors are about this multifaceted woman that I wanted to portray this season. It was all about the works of Helmut Newton and Lillian Bassman, two very different photographers, and what I found in common with Lillian's somewhat dreamlike photos and Helmut's sexy provocative photos was that appreciation and confrontation of the feminine form. I really wanted to do that with this collection, I felt it was really important to push myself as a young designer, and to continually push myself every collection. I wanted to show a little sex, a little naughtiness.