Some occasions are too important to fête just once. Take it from Jason Wu, the launch of a new collection is cause to celebrate again and again. On the advent of his new diffusion line, Grey Jason Wu, the American designer decided to host a series of dinner parties. Wu is a consummate entertainer. His elegant and lively functions usually include any number of New York artists, literati and fashion luminaries, inventive menus and impeccable decor. And, of course, gorgeous clothes.
Jason Wu bartending at his July 20 party at the Lucky Bee in New York. All images courtesy of Grey Jason Wu.
Coolly feminine with a slight edge, Grey Jason Wu, his namesake designer collection’s sister line, is perfect for the New York society with whom Wu runs.
We got a glimpse inside two launch parties Wu has hosted to date—more will follow, we’ve been told—and a look at the comely guest list dressed in Grey. Additionally, the designer imparted some party hosting tips and a recipe for French vanilla bean ice cream—so good.
Scenes from the July 20 dinner party at The Lucky Bee in New York.
Do you have one simple tip for entertaining that you can share?
Make guests feel welcome. I think the best dinners have a great ambiance and are not too fussy. I love using creativity to cook and prepare for guests. Try to curate a meal that encourages guests to get involved.
What is a must for any host?
Set the scene. I think lighting and fresh flowers set the perfect mood for a dinner.
Model Hilary Rhoda and designer Jason Wu.
Do you have a favorite recipe you prepare regularly for dinner parties? Can you share it?
Fresh vanilla bean ice cream for dessert is my go-to.
2 vanilla beans
3 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 large eggs
- With a knife, halve vanilla beans lengthwise. Scrape seeds into a large heavy saucepan and stir in pods, cream, milk and sugar. Bring mixture just to a boil, stirring occasionally, and remove pan from heat.
- In a large bowl lightly beat eggs. Add hot cream mixture to eggs in a slow stream, whisking, and pour into a pan. Cook custard over moderately low heat, stirring constantly, until a thermometer registers 170°F. (Do not let boil.) Pour custard through a sieve into a clean bowl and cool. Chill custard, its surface covered with wax paper, at least 3 hours, or until cold, and up to 1 day.
- Freeze custard in an ice-cream maker, in 2 batches if necessary. Transfer ice cream to an airtight container and put in freezer to harden. Ice cream may be made 1 week ahead.
Do you have a favorite wine or cocktail you serve?
I love making margaritas with Casa Dragones, especially during the summer.
Tell us about your launch dinner party for Grey.
I hosted a small intimate dinner party for the launch of Grey Jason Wu! I collaborated with the installation chef Laila Gohar, who expressed the idea of Grey through a food experience. She created paint palettes of vegetables and watercolor cakes to represent my art collaboration with Hunt Slonem, and my absolute favorite dish, a puff-pastry-wrapped whole fish. We all painted different courses of food, laughed a lot and took a bunch of Polaroids. It was colorful, easygoing and fun. Family and friends are the idea behind Grey and the spirit of #GREYLaVie.
Grey launch dinner party on June 8 at Spring Place in New York:
Tell us about your second dinner for the launch of Grey. How does your new collection reflect the entertaining mentality?
The Grey Dinner Series is about creating a fun, intimate and casual environment to connect with a group of dynamic friends, like Hilary Rhoda, Cleo Wade, Sophie Auster and Skye Daru, whom I consider “Grey Girls.” I even took on the role of bartender for this dinner, serving a few of my signature cocktails, and shared my favorite dishes, including Khao Soi curry of chicken with egg noodles, coconut-braised short ribs and spicy mango salad. The Grey collection was designed to embody the lighthearted spirit of a dinner party with friends, so what better way to celebrate it?
What is the most memorable party you’ve ever attended? Why was it so great?
Definitely my wedding in Tulum! It was one big party with all of my closest friends, all weekend long.
Where is your favorite place to entertain?
My apartment in Tribeca; I feel that entertaining at home is the most personal and comfortable environment. I love hosting small groups of friends and making a meal together.
Poet and artist Cleo Wade with Jason Wu.
Who do you usually invite? How do you craft a guest list?
I like to create an interesting yet intimate mix of guests. People I know and love to spend time with, and also a few that I want to get to know better.
Skye Daru, Sophie Auster, Hilary Rhoda, Estelle Chen, Jason Wu, Alexandra Elizabeth, Emily Meade, Meghan Collison and Ruth Bell.
Tell us about all the bunnies in the collection.
We had Hunt Slonem’s bunny print on our mood board for the collection, and we ended up collaborating on the print. Hunt’s work is charming, full of life, and so-clever qualities that perfectly sum up Grey Jason Wu. I was drawn to the bunnies because they’re so abstract—from far away, they look like a graphic print. You only notice it’s a bunny up close.
Which item from Grey would you wear for …
hosting a brunch?
going to a fancy dinner at a restaurant?
lunch with friends?
SHOP: Grey Jason Wu