For Spring/Summer 2024, the designer took a botanical approach, setting his signatures in another world

Apart from histrionic stunts and America’s Next Top Model runway challenges, fashion shows typically occur above ground. This was not the case with Jason Wu’s Spring/Summer 2024 collection Solstice, staged in Isamu Noguchi’s Sunken Garden at the Chase Manhattan Bank building in New York City’s Financial District. From a bird’s-eye view, each model stomping down the runway was an imaginary planet in orbit—a rare breed of swampy-chic merperson, sporting lace-up platform sandals where their tails should’ve been.

Wu’s woman is powerful in her refinery, and this collection outfitted her in appropriately striking silhouettes—delicately decorated, with intentionally unfinished hems. Wu’s archetype was reimagined in bookish yet dramatic form: Brown crinkled silk dresses looked like sheer murky lakes over the models’ bare bodies, and textured green brocade bomber jackets and matching shorts resembled the underwater botany he drew from. Hand-distressed tunics and skirts followed Wu’s classically ethereal dresses, and stylish printed separates took inspiration from ’30s scientific drawings, enhancing the horticultural arena set director Emma Davidge and landscape artist Emily Thompson built. Thickets of verdant wild grasses and flowers lined the concrete floors of the runway, a welcome juxtaposition.

Solstice is a point of culmination, of turning, for Jason Wu. His signatures are still intact, simply turned inwards and set in another world: somewhere between a sunken paradise and the city streets.