Emily VanCamp and Alexa Chung looked on from the front row this afternoon as Jason Wu presented easily the most spectacular show so far this Fashion Week. Amid a cloud of billowing smoke, Wu’s models burst through enormous red and gold doors with the ferocity of warrior princesses, and closed the show by walking in three abreast through dense smoke, like a conquering army of Amazon women.
Wu reimagined his trademark ladylike silhouettes with a fierce twist—slim pants paired with closely cut olive military jackets and plum sheath dresses paired with leather gloves and studded stilettos. Luxury had not deserted the troops, however, as faux fur nestled on jacket sleeves and opulent brocades and gold embroidery embellished the dresses. Backstage at the St. John’s Center, the Taiwanese-born designer told us that his Fall 2012 collection reflects “my autobiography, a little bit. I was inspired by the question, ‘what is Chinese?’ It came through in three different archetypes of Chinese iconography; the Mao jacket and military warriors. The other is the Ming Dynasty, with the emperors’ beautiful brocades and beading. The third was the 1930’s, 40’s Hollywood interpretation of Chinese style, with Marlene Dietrich in Shanghai Express. All of these three came together in a very powerful woman. She’s ready for action and very fierce.”
Not since the days of Oleg Cassini and Jackie Kennedy has a designer’s name been so synonymous with a First Lady as Wu is with Obama, for whom he has since created a long list of chic looks—a fashion marriage made in Vogue heaven when André Leon Talley introduced them. Of working with Michelle Obama, the 29-year-old said, “I think it’s really great to have a First Lady who is so inspirational and to be able to dress her and be part of American history is this boy’s dream come true.”
Emily VanCamp’s dream came true when she was first cast on the WB series Everwood: “Kevin Williamson, who created Dawson’s Creek, cast me in a show called Glory Days that he was producing and even though it was short-lived, his good friend Greg Berlanti saw me on that show and that’s how it came about. I love both of those men.” VanCamp went on to join the ensemble cast of ABC’s Brothers and Sisters, before the network gave VanCamp her own show, Revenge. She stars as Emily Thorne, who is hell-bent on exacting revenge for her father’s wrongful incarceration. Of playing the lead role, she said, “It’s really intense; it’s a heavy workload. Obviously you get tired but at the same time it’s so much fun that you run on adrenaline.” How was VanCamp—previously cast as good girls—able to locate Emily’s nefarious spirit? “Our producers wondered the same thing. I don’t know! It’s there, I guess. My parents always say,’ where did that come from?'”
Alexa Chung is only naughty when it comes to organizing her closet. The wry host of 24 Hour Catwalk and a contributing editor at British Vogue, is renowned for her creative and eclectic style. On a recent appearance on Chelsea Lately, she described her method of dressing as picking up whatever’s on her hotel room floor and throwing it together. “It’s because I don’t have access to all of my clothes at any given time,” she explained. “They’re scattered around the globe, so I’ll take what I can get—that’s how I describe my style.” Her stay in New York will be brief. “I went to the Honor show yesterday but I’m actually leaving for London tomorrow, so this is my last show.” As for the difference between New York and London Fashion Weeks? “Everyone’s a lot more hung over in London.”