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Inside Jason Wu's 'general store' at New York Fashion Week

The designer presented autumn-winter collection, inspired by lockdown cooking and casual clothing, between rows of fresh produce

Jason Wu before his show at the New York Fashion Week on 14 February in New York. (AFP)

Lockdown cooking and casual clothing inspired designer Jason Wu's autumn-winter 2021 collection, which his models paraded live at the ongoing New York Fashion Week.

The creations were dished out in his 1950s-inspired 'Mr. Wu's General Store' between rows of fresh produce set up in an empty Broadway shopfront.
The creations were dished out in his 1950s-inspired 'Mr. Wu's General Store' between rows of fresh produce set up in an empty Broadway shopfront. (Dan Lecca /courtesy Jason Wu)

The creations were dished out in his 1950s-inspired "Mr. Wu's General Store" between rows of fresh produce set up in an empty Broadway shopfront.

"During this past year, cooking has proven to be an amazing outlet for me creatively," the Taiwanese-Canadian designer, 38, said in a statement.

"The joys that I experience from cooking and spending time with loved ones make me hopeful to celebrate the moments that really matter. This show represents who I am, not only as a designer but as a person."

The edible ingredients were donated to City Harvest, a New York charity fighting food insecurity, after the show, one of the few live events in this year's Fashion Week.

Wu, who founded his eponymous label in 2007 and rose to global fame as the designer of the gown worn by former first lady Michelle Obama to her husband's first inauguration ball in 2009, has been documenting his pandemic-time cooking in a diary on his Instagram account "MrWuEats".

In line with his 1950s Americana theme, Wu also partnered with Coca-Cola, diving into the US brand's archives to unearth prints, logos and styles.

"These logos bring that multicultural aspect to the collection and a nod to what America means to me - a melting pot of diverse cultures," Wu said.

The show featured loose-fitting long dresses and skirts, combined with knitted sweaters and long masculine coats. Red and blue popped out against whites, black and greys. Long fringes and boots in yellow snakeskin and pink patent leather lightened up more somber styles.

Earlier on Sunday, Tadashi Shoji presented his autumn/winter 2021 collection with armor-inspired metallics and embellishments.

In a pre-recorded video, the American designer, known for his evening gowns, unveiled silhouette-hugging frocks adorned with fringed sleeves, puffed shoulders, paillettes or lace detailing.

Models stood against a fire-lit sky and on top of a pile of old furniture - including a piano, chandelier and bed frame - in the video, with smoke sometime billowing from underneath.

The 14-18 February New York Fashion Week: The Shows is a mainly virtual event, with most brands sharing videos of their latest designs and only very few hosting socially distanced live presentations.

"The past year has challenged us in ways we could never have imagined. No one has escaped unaffected. We yearn for security. We are forced to summon our strength every day," Shoji said in show notes.

"This season, I wanted to design pieces that inspire a sense of protection, a collection that reflects our strength - a strength so palpable you could rap your knuckles on it, and it would sound like steel."

Other designers unveiling their designs at New York Fashion Week include Badgley Mischka and The Blonds.

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