The name Jason Wu is hot on everyone’s lips right now, as it should be. The 26-year-old designed Michelle Obama’s inaugural ball gown and, let’s not forget, the shift dress she wore for a Barbara Walters interview in November. After the jump, a brief introduction to the cherubic-faced designer, whose dress for the new First Lady will become part of the Smithsonian’s collection of inaugural dresses.1. Wu got his start creating couture outfits for dolls, like this Dynamite Girls “Jolly Jet” doll, plus dolls of drag queen celebs RuPaul and Amanda Lepore. He got into the toy biz after entering and winning a fashion doll design contest. At 17, he became the creative director of Integrity Toys Inc.
2. At age 14, Wu went to Tokyo to study sculpture. After that, he spent his senior year of high school in Paris, where he decided to become a fashion designer. His eponymous line deputed in 2006.
3. Wu’s spring 2009 collection was inspired by a trip to Tokyo: “I was inspired by urban life in Japan — the crazy street signs, the flashy get-ups young Japanese girls wear, and lots of layers.”
4. Leighton Meester, Joy Bryant, Gretchen Mol, Amber Valetta, Kerry Washington, Eva Longoria, and many other celebs have worn his fresh, feminine designs.
5. Because he loves using haute-couture style detailing, Wu’s clothes aren’t the cheapest. His day dresses typically retail for about $1,000, and evening gowns go for $3,000 to $6,000. Lucky for us, he has a slightly less expensive diffusion line hitting stores in June (it’s still not cheap, though, with prices between $790 to $1,560).