The one-shoulder, ethereal ivory gown Michelle Obama
wore was a custom
creation by 26-year-old designer Jason Wu. Largely unknown even within the
fashion industry, the Taiwan native isn't even a full-time fashion designer,
at least in the conventional sense. Since age 17 he's been creative director
of a $5 million high-end doll company called Integrity Toys Inc.
Barbies, but dressed in runway-inspired designs, with pricetags over $200.)
Wu launched his fashion collection about three years ago, and recently
expanded beyond his initial eveningwear focus to include sportswear. Bruce
Weber shot the designer for W's "Summer Camp"
portfolio last July (above).
While Wu's designs may be bold, the designer himself is known to be rather shy. "Working with dolls, you know, they don't have a personality; they don't talk," Wu told W's Venessa Lau last year. "Meeting the girls who wear my clothes helps."
Photos: Wu: Bruce Weber; Obamas: Rick Wilking/Reuters/Landov. Dolls: courtesy of Integrity Toys, Inc.