Designer Jason Wu

With fashion month around the corner, we could think of no better way to begin to usher in fall than with a chat with a great designer. Especially one who started a dinner series and just hosted one inspired by Asian street fare: Food and fashion much?

Jason Wu is no doubt a fashion icon in his own right, with both Jason Wu and its new sibling label – Grey Jason Wu – he continues to aptly cover all our wardrobe needs, and then some. We caught up with the designer on his affinity for poached eggs, shaved ice and why digital has made the fashion world’s curtains come down…

From start to finish, what would be your ideal food day?

I start my days with a poached egg, avocado or smoked salmon and fresh OJ. For lunch I try to eat as healthy as possible. My day is usually so hectic and I look forward to eating a fresh, home cooked meal prepped by private chef Greg Karnilaw. My favorite is his Broccoli Rabe and Vegetarian Chili. For dinner, I love to cook at home and invite a few of my close friends to join.

What parallels do you see between the worlds of food and fashion? 

I am obsessed with fashion and food, there are constantly new trends emerging, but the classics will always be there. In some cases trends start from the reinterpretation of a classic. Matcha green tea has been a traditional drink in Japan for centuries, but has more become a great ingredient for different dishes. Similarly, I remember having shaved ice as a kid in Taiwan and Snowdays brought it to NY and made it cool.

How has the fashion industry changed since your career started?

The Internet has taken over, it’s important to be digitally engaged and be very active about showing what happens behind the scenes. The curtains have to come down.

What is your definition of good content? 

Good content needs to be authentic. This is more important than ever today as people are constantly bombarded with media. Content that is genuinely interesting and authentic will capture the audience’s attention.

What do you always like to put out when hosting a dinner party? What do you usually bring to one as a guest? 

I always prefer an intimate environment with a small group of friends which is how the GREY Jason Wu dinner series came about. I’m always looking for emerging chefs and new restaurants as well as creative ways to set the table with a personal touch. We had guests’ names on a paintbrush and on a fan at our recent GREY dinners.

I usually bring my favorite Byredo candle in Cotton Poplin or a nice bottle of wine as a gift for the host.

What is your favorite weeknight go-to recipe? 

I make a great roast chicken with herbs. For a treat, I love Ina Garten’s chocolate chip cookies with Fleur De Sel.

What is your earliest fashion memory? What is your earliest food memory? 

My earliest fashion memory is when I discovered Vogue! My earliest food memory is the Moon Cake that my grandma used to make when I was a child.

Where do you love to travel? What won’t you travel without?

One of my favorite places to travel is Mexico. I had my wedding this year in Tulum and one of my inspirations for the GREY Jason Wu collection was the Oaxaca botanical garden in Las Pozas. I never travel without my Uniball pen and Moleskin notebook to sketch or write down my thoughts.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received and from who? The worst?

My mother always told me to always remain a student and never stop learning. I carry that piece of advice with me every day. The worst advice I ever received was to become a doctor.

What are your favorite restaurants in New York City? What do you order at each? 

Indochine is a staple, I eat there almost every week and always order the glazed duck. The Lucky Bee chef Matty Bennett makes the best Khao Soi curry chicken egg noodles. The Smile’s spaghetti is my favorite because it’s so comforting. China Blue in Tribeca has the best Chinese food in the city. The fish fillets in rice wine is my favorite.

What other cities do you love for food? Where do you go in each?

Every time I visit my parents in Taiwan I look forward to making a stop at Din Tai Fung for dumplings. In DC I love Le Diplomate. In Seattle I love Fran’s chocolates.

If you could host a dinner party for five people living or dead who would be there?

Michelle Obama, Diane Kruger, Yves Saint Laurent, RuPaul, Jean Seberg

What would your last meal be and who would it be with? 

A big plate of my mom’s handmade dumplings, ice cream, and caviar with my family and my cats.

In the same vein as what is the new black in fashion, what’s the new potato right now? 

GREY is the new black. Collaborations are the new potato. I’ve always loved the idea of collaboration and with GREY Jason Wu, I’ve had the opportunity to work with some amazingly talented people from artist Hunt Slonem for our Fall collection to the team at Pantone for a custom shade of grey.

Have you read our interview with designer Isaac Mizrahi? Also click here to see our interview with The Line’s Vanessa Traina.

*Jason Wu, photographed at Spring Place in New York, NY by Danielle Kosann