A wakefulness has followed Jason Wu throughout his career. A consciousness – of the woman he designs for, the materials he selects and the craftsmanship behind each collection, fuels the ambitious designer’s ideals, allowing him to realize his ultimate visions.
Each season, Wu continues to transform himself to reach new levels of expertise; soaking up inspiration, knowledge and technique throughout his journey as a creative. Now in his 10th year of business, Wu has once again found a new version of himself: an older and wiser Wu. It’s with this refined experience that his newest Atelier Swarovski Collection came to fruition.
Atelier Swarovski, also celebrating a decade as a brand, sat down with Wu to discuss the significance of marking this milestone together, touching on the brands’ joint history as well as the inspiration behind the collection and Wu’s influences as a designer.
What inspired the Atelier Swarovski by Jason Wu collection?
The idea of the Atelier Swarovski collection was designed around mosaic stained glass windows. I wanted to use a lot of color because that’s something that’s very DNA to Jason Wu. Also, when I think about Swarovski, I think about the amazing crystal color selection I’m offered – it’s like being a kid in a candy store, and I wanted to use those colors to their full effect.
Both brands are celebrating 10 years of activity this year, how are you marking the occasion?
Swarovski has supported me since I began designing for the brand as one of the first Atelier Swarovski collaborators. It now feels like a full circle moment for me to be able to collaborate on a collection, almost 10 years later, as we’re both celebrating this milestone. It’s also fun to work on a collection now that I feel like I’m a little older and wiser.
Who do you design for? What type of woman would wear this collection?
I designed this collection very much with the Jason Wu woman in mind. She’s strong, sophisticated, and sensual – even the campaign is quite sensual which was shot with Karlie Kloss who is a longtime muse and friend of mine. There are so many synergies within this project that it just felt like everything came together seamlessly and I’m happy with the way everything was crafted; craftsmanship is something that is so important to the Jason Wu DNA and Atelier Swarovski, and I feel like this ideal is certain when you see the collection.
How did your relationship with Swarovski begin?
Our relationship started near my second season in existence as a designer. Swarovski was able to help us, giving us products and telling us all the great things that you can do with Swarovski crystals – things I never imagined. They sponsored my first shows and I was able to work with amazing ateliers like Lesage in Paris, and it was through this opportunity that I really began working with crystals in many different interesting ways. When I was starting out, this gave me an opportunity to work with elevated craftsmen for these embellishments and without Swarovski’s support, it wouldn’t have been possible.
How do you approach jewelry design as opposed to fashion design?
I look at jewelry design with more of an architectural eye and I’ve always been really inspired by midcentury furniture and I have that affinity, you can see that in the construction in my shop. I think there’s something very refined about this collection that feels like there’s a direct link to architecture and that’s where I get a lot of my inspiration for fashion as well.
What new materials did you incorporate into this collection?
For this collection, Swarovski manufactured two custom stone colors for me and this is the first time it’s ever happened so I was quite happy that Nadja Swarovski was able to painstakingly develop two special stones just for this collection. The collection also incorporates the Swarovski Crystal Pearl, and some people don’t know that Swarovski makes one of the most beautiful faux pearls there is and they’re actually crystal inside. The pearl has somewhat become a brand code for me, it’s on all of my eyewear, it’s been embellished on many of my designs; so with this collection I wanted to do this interesting mix of pearl and crystals to showcase something that people may not know about and discover how beautiful the mix is together.