Travel News

How I travel: Jason Wu

Have frock, will travel. The A-list fashion designer on the power of flowers and personal deliveries.

By Lee Tran Lam
Jason Wu
Jason Wu

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.