Q&A: Jason Wu Thought Michelle Obama Made Her Target Dress Look "Luxurious"

The designer's Target collabo lands in Toronto for tomorrow only!

Photo by Anthea Simms

Jason Wu for Target

You (and we) all jumped at the news that US retailer Target would be making their arrival in Canada next year. Much of that excitement hinges on the chain’s wildly popular designer collaborations, for which we usually have to make haste to the nearest border town. That particular bugaboo has been (temporarily) satisfied with the surprise announcement that Target will be bringing a selection from their most recent collabo, super-feminine and super-fast-selling pieces by Jason Wu, to a pop-up store in Toronto. (Tomorrow only!) The sale is the first time Target has launched a pop-up outside of the U.S. and the company is bringing in Wu himself, along with celeb stylist Brad Goreski, for an appearance.

We caught Jason Wu between production fittings for his fall collection, which recently walked at New York Fashion Week, to talk about the French New Wave, design codes, and Michelle Obama.

There’s been an overwhelming response to the Target collaboration, both in the press and with customers. Were you surprised?
“I was really ecstatic. I had a lot to live up to after the overwhelming success of the Missoni collaboration. I wanted to bring my own point of view and my take on this collaboration. I was really happy that people welcomed it and were really, truly excited about it.”

Did you see that Michelle Obama wore the blue floral dress last week?

“I did. I think it’s so great. She’s such a perfect example of how a collaboration like is not only for girls that may not be able to wear my main collection, it’s great for everyone. I love how she can wear something from my main collection and something also from my Target collaboration and still make it look luxurious.”

Why do you think people go so crazy for these collaborations?
“I think it’s really fun. It’s an opportunity for a lot of people to experience what I design. It’s a great way not only to expand my appeal a little bit, but give everyone an opportunity to have a little piece of Jason Wu.”

You’ve mentioned in interviews that you wanted to make this different from your main collection. What are some of the Jason Wu signatures in the Target line?
“The little collar shirts, the bow ties, the stripes, the floral prints, the lace details, the feminine silhouette, they’re all codes that people have come to expect from me. I think it still feels very me, it’s just I didn’t want it to be a knock off of my main collection. I wanted to handle it like its own capsule collection so it’s special and I thought we really achieved that.”

Looking back, is there any advice you’d give yourself for doing this collaboration?
“We need to make more!”

You also appeared in the TV commercial for the line. What was that like?

“That was part of the exciting thing about my Target collaboration was that I got to work on the marketing side, to be involved in the print campaign, TV, outdoor advertising. It was really creatively exciting and challenging, and really fulfilling. It sort of tells a story, you know?”

This line was inspired by French New Wave cinema. What are some of your favourite movies in that style?
Breathless is one of my favourites. I think Jean Seberg is the ultimate muse for this collection. There’s also Anna Karina. I think those girls have that certain something. I felt like this collection, inspired by their spirit, was perfect for the audience we were going after.”

Jason Wu for Target pop-up
Date: Thursday, Feb 23
Location: 363 King Street West, Toronto
Time: 12:00 p.m.
Limited purchase of 3 items per customer per purchase
All proceeds go to United Way Toronto
Quantities limited
No rain checks
All sales final, no returns

See the complete Jason Wu for Target collection
See looks from Jason Wu’s Fall 2012 collection