NEW YORK (AP) — After a fall collection that was heavily sculpted and engineered, Jason Wu set off to craft spring styles that emphasized ease.

That proved rather difficult.

The clothes he previewed Friday at New York Fashion Week at a loft space in Soho were "a dialogue between construction and ease."

The bias-cut, gold-beaded dress Karen Elson wore to open the show was a sign of the delicate approach that was followed up with feather-light and sometimes sheer slip dresses. Those dresses, some covered in tiny beads, were technically difficult to execute, Wu said.

It impressed tennis star Maria Sharapova, who sat in the front row and then went backstage to pose for photos with Wu. Other celebrity guests included Alicia Keys and Jessica Pare of "Mad Men" fame.

"Jason has a remarkable talent of creating a feminine and romantic look through the use of drapery and unique tailoring," Sharapova said.

For something a little racier — but still chic and tasteful — he turned out some leather looks that incorporated corsetry. For edge, he threw in some utilitarian touches, such as cargo pockets and heavy hardware.

All the elements came together for an outfit that put a black satin motorcycle jacket with a black satin bra and ivory embroidered skirt.

"I wanted to let the body do its job and not do a lot of manipulation to the silhouette, but then to get them to hang just right was a feat. There are chains in the hems and anchor points to keep everything together," Wu said. "It was a labor of love."

There was so much labor and so much love that Wu said he welled up when the models stepped out onto the runway.

"It's the first time we see it all together, and that's a lot of emotion," he said backstage right after the show. "Emotion is good. It has to mean something."

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Follow Samantha Critchell at http://twitter.com/ap_fashion and http://twitter.com/sam_critchell

 

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