Inside The $30,000 Jason Wu Experience At Saks Fifth Avenue

By Tanya Klich, Forbes Staff
Jason Wu Jayme Thornton via Saks Fifth Avenue

When holiday shopping for a beloved clotheshorse, it’s easy for your gift to get lost in the shuffle (or walk-in closet). To cater to fashion fanatics, upscale retailers like Saks Fifth Avenue are packing holiday lookbooks with extravagant gifts that are centered more on the experiential and less on the unboxing. 

“More so than beautiful clothes, people are looking for special experiences,” says Jason Wu, “and Saks is offering a custom experience with me where the customer gets to create a tailored, exclusive look.”

Saks is partnering with the renowned designer to create from scratch a personalized head-to-toe outfit for a special client ahead of Summer 2022. Customers can work in person or virtually with Wu to bring the final ensemble to life. 

While his most recent collections have been marked by floral and abstract prints pressed onto modern silhouettes, he’s approaching this Saks holiday project with a blank canvas. “They will be meeting one-on-one with me, so there’s no preconceived look,” says Wu. “It will be personalized for the client who might be looking for a day dress for a warmer season ahead, or an extravagant evening gown for the holidays.”

With this experience, Wu says he and Saks aspire to recreate the Golden Age of Couture, when it was common for designers like Christian Dior and Coco Chanel to meet with the client in their ateliers.

Wu continues, “I’ve only done this for celebrities for red carpet events like the CFDA Awards or the Met Gala so something like this is as exclusive as it can get, and is never readily available.” The designer has dressed stars like Karlie Kloss, Reese Witherspoon and January Jones. The artist became a household name when Michelle Obama wore Wu to her first inaugural ball. 

In addition to a customized full ensemble, the Jason Wu x Saks client will receive a custom sketch autographed by the designer as part of the design process.

“I still love to sketch by hand, I never sketch by computers,” says Wu. “It’s that old school mentality of designer and muse concept that we’re trying to bring back. So much of this is about personalization and that exclusive access to the atelier.” 

Los Angeles-based jeweler Robert Procop creates fewer than 500 pieces of jewelry each year. Saks Fifth Avenue

The Jason Wu partnership is just one of many experiences the luxury department store is offering this holiday season. Those feeling extra indulgent can opt for a separate design adventure with Robert Procop to create a personalized piece for $100,000. Like the Wu experience, Procop clients can take home a framable customer sketch of the custom jewelry as an extra stocking stuffer and souvenir.

If a five- to six-figure gift from Saks is out of reach, Jason Wu fans can always turn to his beauty line at Target, which he often describes as “an extension of my couture fashion brand.” He’s celebrating his one-year anniversary since launching the Jason Wu Beauty line with products like Free-da Brow, Apple Pie modern matte lipsticks, and of course, Faux Freckle Boy—all of which retail for less than $20. “What is amazing is we have been able to expand the Jason universe because beauty is so much more accessible,” says the designer.

Besides Wu’s $30,000 fashion package and Procop’s $100,000 jewelry design, Saks has also designed luxurious holiday experiences for foodies as well. The company will line up a two-night stay at a 5-star hotel that will include dinner and drinks at L’Avenue, its on-site restaurant which overlooks Rockefeller Center. After dessert the store will escort diners to the Saks rooftop, where all guests have an unobstructed view of the Rockefeller Center Holiday tree lighting ceremony, minus the crowds and frigid weather. The ‘Saks Dinner With A View’ package is priced at $10,000.

A Holiday dinner with a view at L'Avenue. Saks

But Wu will likely take his his Saks clients away from the iconic flagship and conduct the exclusive design experience somewhere a little more intimate. “It’s about welcoming them to my studio for inspiration, which is a really personal space for me, so it’s a custom concierge service,” says Wu. 

Net proceeds from this Saks Holiday Experience will support the Saks Fifth Avenue Foundation which focuses on making mental health services more accessible to the LGBTQ+ community and communities of color. “Knowing that this is going to the Saks Foundation prioritizing mental health makes this whole experience worthwhile for me,” says Wu.

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