Hot List: Jason Wu

5.17.2009

By Jessanne Collins

New York'based designer Jason Wu became a national sensation the moment Michelle Obama appeared at the inaugural balls wearing his now iconic chiffon-and-crystal gown. But the precocious 26-year-old was already a known quantity in the couture world: In the three years since he launched his label, he's dressed the likes of Leighton Meester and Ivanka Trump and caught the attention of Anna Wintour. A former Parsons student and Narcisco Rodriguez intern, Wu was born in Taiwan and emigrated to Vancouver as a child. 'Let's just say Taipei 20 years ago was an extremely conventional society,' he has said. 'I played with dolls. I made little clothes for them. I think if my family hadn't left it would have become traumatic.' Having designed for a line of high-end dolls since he was a teenager, it's no surprise Wu's aesthetic marries a youthful whimsy -- bright fabrics and teacup skirts -- to a sophisticated sensibility that has earned him comparisons to Oscar de la Renta and Carolina Herrera. And there must be some magic in that formula -- his label is expected to bring in $4 million this year.

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