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6 Fashion Trailblazers

Kebede’s new Lemlem scarves.

Photo: Lars Klove

Jason Wu: Designer

Until one cold night last January, most people outside the fashion world would have asked, “Jason who?” But that was before a certain First Lady picked Wu’s one-strap ivory gown to wear at an inaugural ball. “It was more than just a dress,” Wu says. “Now, it’s part of American history. That’s the power of choice—Michelle Obama didn’t follow the rules and use someone more seasoned.” At that point, the Taipei-born, 26-year-old New Yorker, whose own uniform consists of skinny ties and classic Levi’s, had only six collections to his name. But he’s been busy ever since. Wu jets regularly to Tokyo, along with Paris and London. Most recently, he took a break in Turks and Caicos—“I was looking for inspiration for my spring collection”—before launching into another creative frenzy. He says he tends to find ideas for his defined silhouettes and flirty fabrics both in fantasy figures—his fall collection is based on the fairy-tale images of the late English illustrator Arthur Rackham—and real women, including dynamic muses like actress Diane Kruger and stylist Tina Chai. “I love dressing women of substance,” he says, “not the flavor of the month.” —Shane Mitchell

Wu’s Tokyo

  • Undercover “I tend to buy a lot of clothes from local designers. In Tokyo I especially like Jun Takahashi of Undercover. Everything fits me, so I bring an empty suitcase!”
  • Shinjuku “I love to go shopping in this bustling district, where I can duck into the little hole-in-the-wall ramen places to eat. They’re really inexpensive.”
  • Comme Ça du Mode Tokyo “Whenever I’m in town, I shop at this Gap knockoff, which also has great stationery and gadgets.” Stores throughout the city.
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