Jason Wu: Menswear Jackets and Over-the-Top Gowns

Jason Wu rolled out the long pink runway for his Fall 2010 show at the Waterfront, and put an inventive combination of boxy menswear and ultra-frilly ladies' cocktail wear on display.

The collection was inspired by Irving Penn and his work: The menswear-inspired, boxy jackets and high-waist, slouchy trousers were a nod to his signature style of dress, while the cocktail dresses seemed like a bit of a cheeky reference to some of his iconic photographs. In particular, there were dresses that had incredibly exaggerated silhouettes -- ultra-wide hips and a swinging '50s-style skirt come to mind -- and there was also the black-and-white palette in certain looks that seemed an obvious wink at Penn. Not everyone was sure how to take those particular pieces, however. Cathy Horyn, in particular, tweeted, "Jason Wu's Penn-inspired collection ambitious but dubious. Was irony intended in the clunky draping? Those were iconic images, right?" Right. Frankly, we felt they were playful moments in an otherwise very Wu collection.

The signature Wu elements were all here -- exquisite details like super-fine ruching on a structured cocktail dress, feathers covered with soft tulle, and of course, the impeccable tailoring on some of the suiting and curve-hugging pieces. In terms of the feathers, frankly there were a couple of dresses that we felt were repeats from his Spring collection, but hey, pretty dresses are pretty dresses.

Overall, Wu seems to be angling for more red carpet -- or looking to the Paris couturiers for inspiration -- with some of these high-fashion dresses. The overall collection makes for an incredibly exciting show to watch, though we see fewer and fewer "retail-friendly" pieces. We'd plonk down some hard-earned dough for the '50s-inspired dresses, to be sure, but the gold-splattered cocktail wear and the ornate gowns seem a step above. Not that we're complaining -- fashion for fashion's sake is worth fighting for.

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