Jason Wu caught his rising star to fame when First Lady Michelle Obama helped make his moniker a household name in 2005. And since his big break, Wu, 29, has been keeping busy, both dressing several Hollywood starlets and expanding his business. If you're new to the Wu, here's what you need to know about this buzz-worthy fashion designer as he presents his Fall/Winter 2012 collection at New York Fashion Week Friday.
He got his start designing outfits for toy dolls. Just 16-years-old at the time, Wu was hired as a freelance designer for European brand Integrity Toys and later was named the creative director at age 17. The stylish dolls were first sold under the name "Jason Wu Dolls," then "Fashion Royalty."
He dressed Michelle Obama for President Barack Obama's inauguration. "This gown is a masterpiece," Obama has said about the ivory one-shoulder gown. "It is simple, it's elegant, and it comes from this brilliant young mind, someone who is living the American Dream." The whimsical garment later made history when it went on display at the Smithsonian National Museum in Washington, D.C. March 2010.
His collaboration for Target sold at lightning speeds. On February 5, Wu's highly anticipated line for Target hit stores and Target.com, selling out in almost a day. "I sort of designed it with a different set of eyes," Wu told Us Weekly at the launch event for the affordably priced 53-piece collection. "The Target team was great to work with and I'm getting to do what I love doing, design, but now I get to design for a bigger audience. It was great to see it all come together after a year of hard work."
He continues to expand his brand with multiple partnerships. Jason Wu for Target wasn't his first rodeo. In 2010, GE launched Create by Jason Wu, a limited-edition line of stylish digital cameras. The following year, nail brand CND created a 4-color nail polish set inspired by his Spring 2011 runway presentation. "I would like to expand the world of Jason Wu into a lifestyle brand," he told Nordstrom in February. "I'm particularly interested in exploring opportunities in cosmetics and possibly designing a fragrance in the near future."
He keeps a good-luck charm on hand. Even with all his hard-earned and well-deserved success, Wu is still a bit superstitious. "I keep a lucky penny in my pocket," he has told Racked.com. "[I've had it for] three years. It's always in my front pocket -- it's a little something."