Four years ago, Jason Wu was one of many struggling New York designers working hard to get his beautifully made, thoughtfully designed clothes noticed. Then the 2009 inauguration happened. Michelle Obama wore his white, one-shoulder, grecian-style gown. And Wu became a household name over night.
Wu, who is now 30, prefers not to discuss the inauguration these days, focusing on what’s ahead instead. When I interviewed him in 2011, he had already moved on. “I gave myself 24 hours to celebrate because I needed to plan my next act,” he told me then. “And that’s why we’ve really been able to be successful and go from a young designer to a larger brand in two years. It’s very important, because in an industry with so much flash, whenever there’s any doubt I go back to why I got into fashion in the first place. I literally just love the craft of it. I love making clothes.”
But people can’t stop talking about the power of that dress—and with reason. In anticipation of Barack Obama’s second inauguration on Monday, we’ve tracked the major moments in Wu’s career, from the 2009 inauguration to today. Click through to watch his story unfold.