First fra­grance speaks to de­signer’s child­hood

Jas­mine sam­bac flower stands out in Ja­son Wu’s name­sake eau de par­fum

The Daily Observer - - LIFE - JOHN CARUCCI

NEW YORK — Scents of­ten bring on mem­o­ries and Ja­son Wu packed a per­sonal one into his first fra­grance, that of jas­mine. But find­ing just the right raw in­gre­di­ents was a process.

The de­signer said at the Fra­grance Foun­da­tion Awards, where the pack­ag­ing for his name­sake eau de par­fum was nom­i­nated, that a niche fra­grance like his de­mands an in­ti­mate con­nec­tion. He smelled a lot of dif­fer­ent raw in­gre­di­ents when he was creat­ing it with se­nior per­fumer Frank Voelkl at Fer­menich.

“And there was one smell that was so cap­ti­vat­ing to me and it turned out it was Jas­mine . ... It just kind of brought me back to five-year-old me in Tai­wan pick­ing those flow­ers with my cousins,” Wu said.

With top notes of fig and pink pep­per, a woodsy touch at the base and hints of iris, it was the jas­mine sam­bac flower that stood out. Wu cre­ated it last year and it launched re­cently in a bot­tle rem­i­nis­cent of a boxy clutch he showed on the run­way that fall. The top of the thick glass base is in a cir­cu­lar gold de­sign that looks like the han­dles of his hand­bags at that time.

The big­gest chal­lenge, he said, was creat­ing some­thing that will en­dure.

“When we de­sign a fra­grance ... it’s some­thing that is for­ever,” Wu said. “You have to re­ally com­mit and you have to re­ally know how to en­com­pass your brand in one lit­tle bot­tle. That means ev­ery­thing from the cap, the bot­tle, the pa­per car­ton, down to the scent.”

The liq­uid in­side is a nude pink, a com­mon hue for the de­signer. The box is a darker shade. And the flo­ral notes in the per­fume re­fer to the many flo­ral prints he al­most al­ways in­cludes in run­way col­lec­tions.

“I think that scent can evoke mem­o­ries like noth­ing else you know. Like a scent of some­thing can bring you the rich­est mem­o­ries back,” Wu said.

On Tues­day, how­ever, Carolina Her­rera walked away with the fra­grance foun­da­tion’s women’s pack­ag­ing of the year, for Good Girl by the fra­grance com­pany Puig.

Wu said he’s proud of his first ef­fort.

“It’s not some­thing that’s put together by com­mit­tee,” he said, “and it’s some­thing that has a sig­nif­i­cant per­sonal mean­ing to me.”

EVan agos­tini/INVISION/AP

De­signer Ja­son Wu at­tends the Fra­grance Foun­da­tion Awards at Alice Tully Hall on June 12, in New York.

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