Jason Wu Jessica Pare Emmys 2012 Dress
Courtesy of Jason Wu; Getty Images

Jason Wu only dressed one person for this year’s Emmy Awards, and he picked Mad Men’s Jessica Pare! “She is definitely a muse,” he told InStyle.com exclusively. “My jaw dropped when I saw her. Together with her dark hair and a statement red lip, she looked like she jumped out of a beautiful René Gruau drawing! I couldn’t be happier with how she looked—people really took notice.” (Including us!) And the back story of how this look came to be is a fashion fairy tale come true: After being introduced by her stylist Cristina Ehrlich to create a look for the CFDA Fashion Awards in June, Pare and Wu quickly became friends. That’s why it was no question who she’d wear on Emmys night. “He sent me a few sketches and then he made a few dresses for me,” Pare told us of the process before the big event. (See the winning sketch of the white silk jersey and leather bustier at right!) “I went to New York to try them on, and I thought, ‘I can’t believe this is my life.’ It was a difficult decision, but I’m happy it worked out. Especially working with someone like Jason, I would never say no.” And women everywhere can take away a lot from a look like this—think bridal inspiration and beyond: “Women can learn that to have maximum effect at a big occasion doesn’t necessary mean having to wear a loud and overly embellished dress,” said Wu. “Sometimes less is more.” That’s a lesson to be remembered!

Plus, revisit what everyone wore to the Emmys!

Emmys Arrivals!

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Jessica’s Perfectly Red Lips
Everything Jason Wu Here!
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— Sharon Clott, with additional reporting by Lindzi Scharf