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First lady-favorite Jason Wu announces Target collection

Jason Wu first burst into the international spotlight when the first lady wore one of his designs to the inauguration balls in 2009. Now, with his upcoming Target collection, Wu will be finally able to design for American women with less-than-presidential budgets.
/ Source: TODAY contributor

Last week, Michelle Obama was spotted doing some incognito shopping at a Target in Alexandria, Virginia. Today, the megastore announced that the next Target retail collaboration willbe with one of the first lady’s favorite designers, Jason Wu. Coincidence? Well, probably. But whether planned or not, Michelle Obama’s surprise visit certainly helped build buzz for the young designer’s upcoming Target collection, which will include apparel, handbags and scarves.

Michelle Obama’s effortless style

Slideshow  26 photos

Michelle Obama’s effortless style

The first lady looks as sophisticated in designer dresses as she does in outfits from J. Crew.

Wu, known for his polished, feminine looks, first burst into the international spotlight when the first lady wore one of his designs to the inaugural balls of 2009. Michelle Obama had been introduced to Wu’s clothing by Ikram Goldman, the owner of one of her favorite Chicago boutiques, and began to wear his ready-to-wear pieces for photo shoots and on the campaign trail.

In late 2008, Wu was asked to design an inauguration dress, which he delivered himself to Chicago from New York. He didn't know his gown had been chosen until he saw it with the rest of us — on TV. Though it was this dress that arguably launched Wu’s career, the 29 year-old designer met Mrs. Obama for the first time when the two donated the dress to the Smithsonian Museum in 2010.

Since then, Wu has been heavily in demand, dressing clients like Ivana Trump, January Jones, and Amber Valetta. His New York runway shows are met with critical acclaim, and prices for his gowns can reach into the thousands. With this Target collection, Wu will design for American women with less-than-presidential budgets.“The exciting thing about this limited edition collection of affordable women’s wear and accessories is that it allows me to reach a wider audience and bring my designs to people who may not have been able to purchase them before,” Wu told Women's Wear Daily.

The collection is scheduled to debut in early February 2012.