Thursday, September 6, 2007

Jason Wu, Rock & Republic, Fashion Rocks

Jason Wu is only 23 years old, and he looks it. Small and slight, with a young face - but his Spring 2008 collection, shown September 5 at Exit Art in New York was the most mature he’s produced so far.

After graduating from Parsons and interning with Narciso Rodriguez, Wu showed his first major collection during Spring 2007 Fashion Week, a collection of soft, pretty pieces in mostly black and white. It was sweet, but safe. With his Spring 2008 collection, however, he took a step out of the box and showed a little more versatility and a bit more edge.

Pretty without being frivolous, Wu’s collection began with structured pieces like full-skirted strapless dresses, trench coats, and shifts. His color palette of black, white, and ivory was punctuated with bursts of bright color: a red cummerbund, a full black skirt that faded to a bright acid yellow, an electric blue belted dress. Details like hand-painted plaids and an exposed zipper added character.

However, the real standouts of the collection were his softer evening looks. Nude, gray and blush-colored dresses in tulle, chiffon, and a gorgeous “feathered” chiffon were ethereal and classic; model Han Jin stole the show in a tan chiffon blouse with delicate black buttons and a high-waisted black feathered evening skirt.

Wu’s influences were evident: His black-to-yellow, white-to-red and black-to-blue fading echoed Prada’s fall ombré, and his black dress with sharp white pleating recalled several fall dresses by Giambattista Valli. However, each look fit into place for a coherent but progressive collection.

The big players in the fashion industry seem to get younger and younger every day, but Wu is the real thing. He’s shown that he can do accessible, pretty, red carpet- worthy dresses, but he’s also showing that he wants to - and can do - fashion as well.


Walking into Rock & Republic’s Spring 2008 presentation on Sept. 5, one would have no idea that designer and CEO Michael Ball built his company on a pair of jeans he once designed for his girlfriend years ago in Southern California.

Cocktails were served and a DJ spun while male and female models lounged on white sofas on a platform in the middle of Eyebeam in Chelsea, also the setting for the Rock & Republic/Fashion Rocks party later that evening. Call it the Halston-sparked return of the 70’s disco era, or call it Ball’s shaky foray into “real” clothes – every model looked as though he or she had just stepped out of Studio 54.

If the dresses weren’t short, they were tight, and if they weren’t tight, they had a plunging neckline. In bright oranges and blues and spangled with studs, the models were nearly as shiny as the disco balls sparkling overhead. There were high-waisted hot shorts and silver stilettos. A male model wore black suit with a silver lamé shirt and matching shiny silver shoes.

And the jeans? Only one or two pairs trotted around, but they were as you’d expect: skintight, with the ubiquitous R&R logo on the back pockets in – what else? – rhinestones.

Clearly, Ball is trying to move his company into higher-fashion ready-to-wear (the collection included shoes, bags, belts and eyewear), but the uber-trendy party wear would look more appropriate at a Zara than a high-end store.

A combination Rock & Republic after-party and Fashion Rocks pre-party followed. Fashion Rocks, a televised concert event to take place Friday, is a Condé Nast-sponsored fashion and music assembly hosted by Entourage’s Jeremy Piven and featuring performances by artists like Fergie, Jennifer Lopez, and Maroon 5. Not to be outdone, the pre-party featured a performance by the VMA-nominated Gym Class Heroes, known for their song “Cupid’s Chokehold.”

Fall Out Boy’s Pete Wentz (whose record label represents the Gym Class Heroes) mingled, and Michael Ball looked on from the VIP area as attendees sang and danced along in their Rock & Republic jeans.

A glamorous party perhaps, but as for the fashion, Ball should stick to the basics – denim.


Anonymous said...

I wonder what the conservative department stores that carry Rock & Republic product will say about
the sexual harassment stuff going on inside this sleazy company? How can they endorse that?
Nicole Baros is only one of many. Others will come forward now. Shame on any department store who supports discrimination
and sexual abuse at the work place!

Michael Ball, CEO of fashion company Rock and Republic Enterprises, is going to be in a lot of trouble if the sexual harassment lawsuit obtained by TMZ is true. The suit was filed by a girl named Nicole Baros who interviewed with the CEO to be his personal assistant. During the interview, he asked if she had a boyfriend and things just went downhill from there.

Ball is accused of making unwanted sexual advances such as touching her hair or continuously staring at her T&A. He even told her at one point that he wanted to sleep with her. At the company Christmas party, Ball cornered the poor girl and attempted to kiss her before sliding his hand down her pants. In yet another incident, she went to his hotel room to get some company checks signed and he answered the door in his underwear then proceeded to chase her around the hotel room, finally physically tossing her on the bed.

If even a fraction of the first half of the report is true, then Ball is going down. If she manages to prove to the court the hands-down-the-pants and the bed-tossing then Ball is going to fry.

Anonymous said...

This is so funny! More and more people are realizing how horrible Rock & Republic is.....

Party girl Paris Hilton kicked off Monday night - which ended after 13 bottles of champagne - by "hosting" a charity event, though she wasn't in a giving mood.
According to an insider, Hilton refused to be photographed at the Puck Building event with the AmFAR Rocks co-chairs from Rock & Republic, instead staying behind a velvet rope with her flack all night.