Women enter the room with eyes shielded from the prying eyes of strangers. Their clothing is demure, conservative. We're not in the Middle East—we're at the Fall 2011 Jason Wu ready-to-wear show.
As The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Vogue.com will tell you, Wu’s most recent collection was influenced by the restoration of Versailles, specifically the photographs from the 2010 publication by photographer Robert Polidori, “Parcours Museologique Revisite”.
But they are wrong. The photographs which influenced Wu are of the destroyed Versailles…the pre-restoration palace. At least, that’s what I think. Robert Polidori is a renowned photographer who has captured moments and places in the most unusual way—a behind the curtain look at our world. A house in Katrina with water still receding after the flood, a post-Chernobyl Nuclear Plant control panel. Real places, real things. His images are both a question and an answer—Question: What happens when people build society? Answer: This is what happens.
I’m not sure what exact elements inspired Jason Wu—the colors, the draping, the texture. Maybe it’s the beauty that still exists within the turmoil, the glimmers of hope you can still see in the wreckage at the bottom of the sea.
All Interior Photographs are Robert Polidori
Runway images are Getty
For an excellent 2007 interview with Robert Polidori, go here.