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Jason Wu wows Hollywood ... and Washington

November 19, 2008 | 11:00 am

Hot off the results of the Vogue Fashion Fund awards, first-time nominee Jason Wu flew to L.A. to show his Spring 2009 line to media, celebrities and socialites. Wu may not have won the award (Alexander Wang and Vena Cava took home the prize), but he certainly has a following of starlets and most impressively, Michelle Obama -- who recently purchased four dresses from Wu’s spring collection.  She was introduced to his line by Vogue Editor at Large Andre Leon Talley, who has been styling the soon-to-be first family.

Jason Wu and January Jones Lucy Liu hosted Tuesday night’s event in Wu’s honor at Satine.  Erika Christensen, Kate Mara, China Chow and Rachel Zoe all turned out to greet the 26-year-old and comb through racks filled with his collection. Also there was "Mad Men’s" January Jones wearing a beige and black fitted dress by Wu. “I love his dresses because they’re tailored and polished,” the actress said. But not as prim as the costumes and cumbersome underpinnings she wears on her hit TV show. “Oh no! This dress doesn’t have a corset built into it. I’d rather have a belly than a corset.”

Wu mingled at the boutique before heading off to the Palihouse to have an intimate dinner with about 20 guests. I caught up with Wu in the calmer, latter half of the evening and found out about his interesting background and start in fashion, which was surprisingly sparked during a bout of boredom in boarding school. 

Wu was born in Taiwan, moved to Vancouver, Canada, at age 9, attended boarding school in Connecticut, then design school at Parsons in New York. It was in boarding school that he filled his downtime with a natural talent for design and started freelancing for toy company Integrity Toys.  At 16, he developed the Jason Wu doll -- a Barbie-esque figurine that Wu designed from head to toe, hair and makeup and of course, clothes. The dolls have become collector items, selling at FAO Schwarz, and this year he is celebrating his 10th anniversary as a doll designer. That moment of boredom has paid off. Wu was able to start his ready-to-wear line with the earnings made from sales of his doll line.

He now dresses living dolls. “I love working with young actresses who are just on the verge,” says Wu.  “It’s always good to have a muse.” 

-- Melissa Magsaysay

Photo: Jason Wu and January Jones. Credit: Frank Micelotta / Getty Images

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