Discount retailer Target confirmed Monday that its next high fashion collaborator would be Jason Wu, the Taiwanese-American designer, beloved by everyone from first lady Michelle Obama to famed drag-queen RuPaul.
Only six years ago, the recent Parsons grad was designing doll clothing for Integrity Toys. "I started making clothes for dolls [at the age of 10] because I didn't have enough fabric," Wu told The Cut. "That's how I learned patternmaking." In 2006, Wu launched his first ready-to-wear women's collection with the profits from Jason Wu dolls. Three years later, he got his big break when Michelle Obama wore this white, one shouldered stunner to the White House Inaugural Ball. Since, Wu has achieved global recognition, racking up CFDA awards and putting his name on everything from handbags to faucets and digital cameras.
At 28, Target could just be the extra push Wu needs to make him a household name. His 1960s inspired collection, which will hit Target stores next year, features "sophisticated, feminine dresses, mix-and-match separates and playful accessories all with a bit of charm and dressed-up attitude," as Wu told Women's Wear Daily.
Target has already begun building buzz for the line with strategic leaks. The announcement was made Sunday night via Twitter, through a series of cheeky clues about the new mystery designer (who, apparently, draws his inspiration from sleek black cats and would love a second career as a pastry chef.)
The big question Wu fans have is, as one TargetStyle commentor put it: "Missoni debacle round 2?" If you don't recall, just last month Target's limited edition Missoni line was met with overwhelming demand, crashed Target's website and led to many unfulfilled orders. With customers still receiving emails from Target canceling their weeks-old Missoni orders, it's a brave time for the company to announce it's moving on to a new designer.
Still, Target has a long time to repair its image. Wu's line is scheduled to hit stores next year, on February 5, 2012. With New York Fashion Week beginning February 9, it will be interesting to see whether the retailer postpones Wu's line for another Bryant Park pop up (à la Missoni) or whether it will launch this next collection with a safer amount of fanfare.