In a time of austerity, should fashion respond with severity chic?
As Jason Wu took his bow at Boss, he walked, like the models, past breathtaking views of a pale blue sky, the high rises of the World Trade Centre area and the rippling water of the Hudson River.
Movie star Julianne Moore was just one of the celebrities at this Hugo Boss womenswear collection, but the clothes suggested that Wu had his eye on the sharp, executive women of Wall Street.
This ode to the woman who has broken the glass ceiling and reached the top in the world of finance included a wardrobe of skinny black dresses, sleek coats — some flashed with red, and the kind of footwear that suggests you mean business.
I contest this view of the woman boss wearing clothes that Wu labelled “industrial beauty”. Whereas Hugo Boss for men is built on tailoring, a woman’s wardrobe needs to be more nuanced, however elegant some of the equestrian styling.
As Artistic Director, Wu produced some fine effects with texture — especially using sheen, rather than sparkle, to illuminate the breast of a dress. The textural message was strong, as colour or print was kept inside strict geometric lines that broke up the outfits with materials such as fine-weave tweed.
It was still an exercise in solemnity, however. I guess the (male) wolves of Wall Street just have more fun.