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Designer Jason Wu Exclusive Talks Michelle Obama, San Francisco First Ladies and Soup Dumplings

Jason Wu

Jason Wu

Jason Wu, fashion star and favorite of First Lady Michelle Obama (not one but two inaugural ball gowns, hello!) recently alighted the Golden Gate for a fashion show of his Spring 2013 collection presented by Neiman Marcus and the San Francisco Opera Guild. Here, the designer talks SF superlatives like soup dumplings and Marissa Mayer with 7x7 at the Rotunda (of course).

Lauren Goodman: When you come to San Francisco, what strikes you about the women here?

Jason Wu: They are very beautiful. And they dress. Last night‘s fashion show was like a fashion show in the audience. It was like a Jason Wu retrospective. I saw so many dresses from so many different seasons. I love to see these women really wearing the clothes. They looked fabulous.

LG: What do you think will sell well here?

JW: This is my first time in San Francisco working. For the trunk show, we have so many of the clothes with us that never make it to stores. Especially the very special delicate dresses from the show, with feathers, beads. Did you know this is one of the best Neimans? It gets all the designer collections.

LG: While you are in town, where do you stay?

JW: The Ritz-Carlton. I always stay there. I love it.

LG: Do you have any plans to play tourist?

JW: Tonight I go to the Slanted Door. One of my favorites. I have already been to Wo Hing General Store in the Mission. Last night, after the fashion show, I went to Cotogna with Vanessa Getty and two Ginas (Pell and Peterson). I feel like I found my San Francisco family.

I discovered Blue Bottle coffee here. Now, there is one in New York. And oh, I always go for dim sum here. Did you know that dim sum is better in San Francisco than in New York? I am partial to Yank Sing. Right off the plane, it's, "Let's go to dim sum."

LG: What is your favorite at dim sum?

JW: Soup dumplings.

LG: How do you think the fashion world sees San Francisco right now?

JW: Well, we look to this part of the world, where the technology is coming from, and there is a tension. The fashion world doesn’t know this world or know technology. But we would like to. And we would like to get to know this customer.

You look at a woman like Marissa Mayer, who is a beautiful, successful woman, who dresses beautifully. I sat next to her at the Costume Institute Gala last year.

LG: You are arguably the designer most associated with Mrs. Obama. What do you think women think of when they think of Mrs. Obama? And in turn your clothes?

JW: When women look at Mrs. Obama, they see confidence. I think that is inspiring to American women. She is smart, beautiful. She speaks with her clothes. I don’t think anyone has expressed so much with her clothes since Jackie Kennedy. And I don’t ever remember a First Lady getting bangs being a news story.