Michelle Obama's wardrobe choices are always center stage, especially during high-profile events like Monday's inauguration, and her custom red gown for the inaugural ball by Jason Wu was no different.
The halter-style dress by the Taiwanese-born, Manhattan-based designer made a splash, with Obama's look scoring high marks among fashion's elite.
Wu said he was elated to design Obama's inaugural ball outfit. "After four years in office, I thought the country was ready to see a confident first lady in red," Wu, 30, told Women's Wear Daily
. "It just felt right."
Here are five things you may not know about the man behind the dress.
This isn’t Wu's first time in the spotlight.
The first lady catapulted him to fame when she chose one of his creations — a white, one-shouldered chiffon dress — to wear to President Barack Obama's first inauguration ball four years ago. The moment was career-defining for Wu, who told The Wall Street Journal
at the time that it was "great for name recognition in the mainstream." The first lady has also worn the designer on the cover of Vogue, during interviews and during the president's first official European trip to meet with Queen Elizabeth II in 2009.
The first lady isn’t Wu's only famous client.
He was a relatively unknown designer before dressing the first lady in 2009, but soon had a growing A-list clientele. Actress Dakota Fanning arrived at this year's Council of Fashion Designers of America awards in a hot pink Wu dress with the designer himself as her date, while Michelle Williams wore a blue Wu gown to collect her Golden Globe Award for "My Week with Marilyn."
Wu started out designing doll's clothes.
As a teenager, he began designing clothes for dolls as a freelancer for toy company Integrity Toys. At 16, he debuted the Jason Wu doll line, featuring a Barbie-esque figurine with makeup, hair, and clothes all entirely designed by Wu. It later became a collectors' item at FAO Schwarz.
You don’t need the first lady's budget to get Wu's designs.
Though his custom designs often sell for thousands of dollars to high-end clients, Wu has debuted ready-to-wear, affordable collections for retailers like Target and Nordstrom.
Wu's resume is well padded.
He was born in Taiwan, and moved to Vancouver, Canada, at age 9. He attended boarding school in Connecticut, and then design school at Parsons The New School for Design in New York where he interned with Narciso Rodriguez. He was also named the 2005 Fashion Group International's Rising Star.
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