HOW I TRAVEL

Fash­ion de­signer Ja­son Wu on flow­ers and per­sonal de­liv­er­ies.

Gourmet Traveller (Australia) - - News -

Just back from… Tai­wan. I was there to see my fam­ily – it’s where I grew up, so I re­ally love it dearly. I try to go back as of­ten as pos­si­ble. Next up… To Malaysia for a day, for a pro­ject I’m work­ing on. And then

New York, then Shang­hai at the end of the month.

There’s an in­ti­macy to

Tai­wan; peo­ple re­ally feel like they’re home when they’re there. The main in­gre­di­ent in my lat­est fra­grance is jas­mine, which is the flower I grew up with in Tai­wan. My neigh­bours had a whole wall of it; we used to go pick the flow­ers with my cousin. That’s what’s amaz­ing about scent – it re­ally takes you way back. Sud­denly I’m on a street near my fam­ily’s house.

I al­ways love Paris. I went to school in Rennes in France as an exchange stu­dent and we’d take the train to Paris. That was the first time we saw all the fancy big boutiques. I knew I wanted to be a fash­ion de­signer by then, but see­ing fash­ion on that next scale com­pletely blew my mind. When you don’t travel, your vi­sion of the world is lim­ited. When I was grow­ing up, if you didn’t leave the coun­try, you didn’t

ex­pe­ri­ence any­thing else. I think travel is what’s in­formed my work. I re­ally find it vis­ually thrilling.

I’m al­ways notic­ing ev­ery­thing. I think that’s my job, to ob­serve, whether it’s look­ing at build­ings or how peo­ple dress on the street. I ac­tu­ally de­signed a col­lec­tion of cot­ton dresses in­spired by a stay at Ho­tel Esen­cia in Tu­lum – they use a lot of pri­mary colours and flow­ers. It’s also where I got mar­ried two years ago. I re­ally wanted some­thing per­sonal

– it’s a small re­sort and it felt like a big re­u­nion. I did some­thing with my par­ents sep­a­rately in Tai­wan be­fore. Tu­lum was a three-day party, which would be rather in­ap­pro­pri­ate for my par­ents to see.

Al­ways pack an ex­tra charger. It’s very im­por­tant, es­pe­cially when you have a long de­lay. And bring as many lit­tle lux­u­ries as you can – I al­ways bring an Evian spray, and if it’s over eight hours I’ll use a Ja­panese sheet eye mask. Those lit­tle things re­ally make a dif­fer­ence. I’ve flown with my dresses many times. I promised Diane Kruger last year that if her film, In the Fade, got in to Cannes I’d make her pre­mière dress and come with her. And that’s what I did

– I took the dress from New York to Nice, and from there to the he­li­copter. I al­ways use a lot of tis­sue pa­per with a long gar­ment bag. And I al­ways hang the dress as soon as I get on the flight. I de­liv­ered the in­au­gu­ra­tion dress to Michelle Obama in 2008. I flew it to Chicago my­self. I thought: I’m go­ing to fly over there, it’s only three hours, af­ter all the hours I worked on the dress. It was a white chif­fon gown, em­broi­dered with thou­sands of hand­made flow­ers. It was this vi­sion of pure beauty, some­thing that re­ally re­flected the op­ti­mism and felt like a fresh be­gin­ning. It was the big­gest sur­prise when she walked out that night. To be part of that moment, when the whole world was watch­ing, felt sig­nif­i­cant. ●

Ja­son Wu’s eau de par­fum is avail­able at se­lect David Jones and Myer stores, from $75 for 30ml.

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