Balancing Act

1.13.2012

By Jason Wu and Gustavo Rangel

This couple doesn’t discuss business beyond Fifth Avenue.

Photo by Martien Mulder

JASON WU
Fashion Designer, left
At first, we were friends -- I don’t remember when that line became blurry. I didn’t think he was my type, but things changed. When it’s unexpected, that’s the best—in anything in life, not just a boyfriend. Our first date was Mary Poppins, which is funny, but it turned into a romantic night.

When my company started growing, I asked Gus to help -- we work from different sides of the brain -- and he always works from the practical side. Like, when we’re shopping, he pulls me back and says, “Don’t buy that.” That’s how our relationship has played out. Working and living with someone -- that’s intense. We have to leave the baggage behind and have a personal life. We have that balance. We walk home, and once we go from the West to the East, there’s no more work talk. At Fifth Avenue, it ends.

It’s good to have someone that is real and honest. Sometimes you don’t see who you are after a long time, especially if you’re busy and working toward something. It’s nice to have someone who’s a mirror. You may not always like what you see, but it’s true.

GUSTAVO RANGEL
CFO, Jason Wu
We first met at a friend’s house on New Year’s Eve in 2005 and became friends. After about six months, it started to develop into something more. I helped him out a little with the business because he was doing a lot of it himself. Eventually we sat down and decided it was a full-time job. We try not to talk too much about work at home -- it’s hard not to, but we really try. During our time alone, we’re very playful with each other. We joke around and make funny noises.

I saw the whole inauguration dress [for Michelle Obama] process from the beginning. We submitted the dress, and then we kind of forgot about it. We were working on Inauguration Day, and after work, we went home and turned on the TV. Finally, the ball began and President Obama and the First Lady walked out -- and there was the dress. Jason started crying, and I was emotional. It was a nice moment to see something he worked so hard on come full circle. And then the phones started ringing.

As told to Max Berlinger

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