Jason Wu’s First Fragrance Is A Throwback To His Childhood in Taiwan

Now that he’s been in the business for a decade, Jason Wu is hitting the proverbial fashion designer milestone: launching his own fragrance. Sitting in Cafe Boulud at Toronto’s Four Seasons Hotel, Wu concedes that designer scents are “a great brand extension”, but that wasn’t his motivation for doing one. For him, beauty has always been a huge interest, as his collaborations over the years with Shiseido, CND, Lancôme and Caudalie can attest. “I wanted to start with fragrance first because it’s something that really sets the groundwork for eventually what I hope will be a beauty empire,” he says. He also likes scent because of its power to put him in a different place, and always has a candle burning while he’s working. (He likes Diptyque, but recently got into ones from Buly 1803)

Wu sought to figure out his olfactory profile by sniffing 200-300 raw ingredients. He knew he liked florals, particularly the greenness of a fresh cut stem (“It makes me really happy”), and wanted the finished product to be light, with a little bit of citrus. But what he gravitated most towards in multiple sessions was jasmine sambac, which reminded him of his early childhood in Taiwan. Along with his cousins, Wu would string the small white flower on wires and use them as room scents. “It was always really humid and heavily air conditioned,” he recalls. “So you would always put things near the vents so it would smell fresh.”

The mid-century design inspired bottle was created by architect Andre Mellone, who has also designed Wu’s NYC shop in Saks and apartment in Tribeca. “We speak the same design language,” says Wu about why he chose Mellone for the project. “Perfume bottles can say so much about the fragrance itself,” he adds, believing that the visual story is just as important as the product itself. “It leads to people touching it.” And the fact that fragrance is one of the last things that still has to be experienced IRL is something Wu holds in high regard. “In today’s world, where everything can be done digitally, I think it’s kind of nice.”

Jason Wu fragrance is available exclusively at The Bay in Canada