Photography by Rebekah Reiko

Adrian Wu — a conceptual designer — is no stranger to referencing the work of history’s great thinkers. Last spring it was Freud and The Interpretation of Dreams. This season the subject of choice was quantum physics, “Creatures of the Photons” to be exact. For those who haven’t forgotten their high school physics, you may already know what a photon is, but I had to look it up: A particle representing a quantum of light or other electromagnetic radiation.

Last season Wu’s impressive gathering, volume and sharp structure solidified his flare for the dramatic. However, despite knowing this, I was not expecting what slowly and uncomfortably inched along the runway. The first look was a beige lace over voile dress (note: the most minimal look of the collection) accompanied with a white headpiece. The headpiece was best described as a sculpted representation of photographed light trails and different versions of it appeared throughout the show.  Heavily gathered voile cocktail dresses in blue and green pastels, blood red and ivory appeared next. Attached to the dresses via a belt or necklace were large balloon like voile covered spheres and balls. Photons I presumed?

At first I felt frustrated by his impractical attempt at “art meets science,” and how pained the models looked wearing the experiment. Maybe it was the eight-inch heeled shoes? Either way they looked incredibly uncomfortable, and it was a tough sell for me. In spite of my initial discomfort, by the third look my eyes started to adjust to the oddness, and the intended beauty of Wu’s work began to make sense. I slowly became more and more awestruck by the exquisite layering of the gorgeous colored voile and seemingly light filled photons. One of the dresses, which was photon-less, seemed plausible and very luxurious.

Wu wants you to facilitate an “experience” when you see a collection: mission accomplished. There is no doubt he has talent and there is beauty to be found in his work. However, with exception to one or two pieces, “Creatures of the Photons” is hard to imagine in most women’s closets, and that, perhaps, is the point, or so what looked like a bloodstain on the beige lace dress would suggest. (The look was titled “second period” in the show notes so I am pretty sure blood it indeed was suppose to be). Although Adrian Wu’s interest in wearability clearly isn’t a focus, I am most certainly curious to know what area of knowledge he will be pulling inspiration from next season.