When Michelle Obama stepped out in her dress for the first inauguration of her husband Barack Obama as President of the United States, the whole world needed to know who was behind the stunning design.
As it turns out, it was none other than Jason Wu who put his skills to work for Mrs. Obama multiple times throughout her tenure as First Lady, including for her husband’s second inauguration.
Jason Wu is a Taiwanese-Canadian artist and fashion designer based in New York City (Credit: John Nacion / Startraksphoto)
Though many were unfamiliar with his work, Wu had been designing clothing long before he was dressing a First Lady. Let’s dive into this man’s remarkable sartorial career and see what has attracted members of the upper crust to his work.
Jason Wu’s Career Beginnings
Jason Wu’s career started back in the 2000s. A former student of Parson’s School of Design, Wu’s career started in earnest before he had even finished high school.
While a teenager, Wu sold doll clothing designs to Integrity Dolls, and he eventually became the Creative Director of the company.
Jason Wu’s doll clothing designs for toy company Integrity Toys under the lines “Jason Wu dolls” and later “Fashion Royalty” (Credit: Integrity Toys)
Eventually, Wu began creating real clothing, a skill he was adept at thanks to his years of prior experience designing for dolls.
Wu started his own line of ready-to-wear clothing. After being nominated for an award by the CFDA and being featured in W Magazine, Wu attracted high-profile clients such as Diane Kruger, Olivia Palermo, Naomi Watts, Lady Gaga, January Jones, and Brie Larson.
Gemma Chan, Olivia Palermo, Naomi Watts, Lady Gaga, and January Jones wearing gowns by Jason Wu (Credit: Janet Mayer / John Nacion / Startraksphoto / Cover Images / Dave Allocca / StarPix / Abby Grant)
More on Jason Wu’s Work with Michelle Obama
Jason Wu met Michelle Obama through Andre Leon Talley, and he quickly impressed her with his designs.
Obama wore a Wu design for an interview prior to the November 2008 election, and she wore a custom Wu dress for the Inaugural Balls she attended in her husband’s honor after he was sworn in as President.
Michelle Obama wearing a custom Jason Wu gown at the 2009 Presidential Inauguration: Home State Inaugural Ball (Credit: Patsy Lynch / INFEvents)
Mrs. Obama wore Wu’s designs on a few other notable occasions, including her husband’s second set of Inaugural Balls, as well as a meeting with the late Queen Elizabeth II.
Obama’s frequent dressing in Wu gave him immense publicity, and his career soared from then on.
Michelle Obama arriving at the 2013 Inaugural Ball in a red Jason Wu gown with her husband Barack Obama held at the Walter Washington Convention Center on January 21, 2013 (Credit: Chip Somodevilla / picture-alliance / Cover Images)
Jason Wu’s Other Career Ventures
Aside from dressing celebrities, Jason Wu has had his hand in lots of design work. In 2013 he became the art director for Hugo Boss, and he even created a custom hue with Pantone, the world’s foremost authority on color.
Wu even has his own beauty brand, Jason Wu Beauty, which sells clean beauty products. The products are suitable for eyes, lips, and face, and his website features a shade finder to help shoppers.
Jason Wu has his own beauty brand, Jason Wu Beauty, offering clean beauty products for eyes, lips, and face (Credit: Jason Wu Beauty)
Wu’s design headquarters are in New York, New York, but most of the fabrics he uses in his clothing are manufactured in Italy and France.
Jason Wu is a leader in the design industry, and his dedication to creating beauty, whether through clothing or makeup, has brought more color to the world. His impact on the fashion industry will only grow.