Fans of Jason Wu’s effortlessly feminine designs rejoice! The celebrity-favorite designer is launching his first ever cosmetics line—Jason Wu Beauty, under the umbrella of Bespoke Beauty Brands. The premise is the same as his hit fashion brand: elevated, elegant, and sophisticated. Better yet, it’s incredibly attainable, as the cruelty-free and clean range will be available at Target nationwide from January 17, with prices ranging from $12-$18. We caught up with the designer to get the scoop on the products and their catchy names—think: Brows Before Boys Eyebrow and Hairline Powder and Goodnight Mr. Wu Nighttime Lip Mask—plus to hear his plans for the upcoming NYFW…
How long has this range been in the works?
I started working on it at the end of last year. It’s crazy to believe it’s been a year already! Time has flown by. I met Toni Ko [the entrepreneur behind Bespoke Beauty Brands] through a mutual friend, we had dinner, and hit it off. She’s legendary in the beauty world and I fell in love with her, so we decided to do some beauty. Now here we are with a full range, ready to launch in less than a month. It’s so exciting. It’s an amazingly short space of time to come up with a whole product line. But we’re working on it directly and there’s no middle men at all. It’s instinct based and based on what we love. It really comes from the heart.
Is beauty something you always thought you’d get into?
I’ve been dying to do it! At my shows, I always have a beauty look as it’s such an important part of the complete look. I used to watch my mom get ready in the ‘80s, doing full makeup every morning and I always found it so interesting. Even from the packaging point of view—there’s something beautiful about that alone, they’re like little confections! It’s infatuating and I love playing with them. It’s been a dream [process]. I met the right person at the right time.
What was on the mood board for the collection’s packaging?
Nude is one of our brand codes, it’s a very important color to us. The first Jason Wu fragrance was completely nude. It harps back to the 1950s, which is my favorite era. There’s a lingerie nude pink that I love and we used that as starting point. But we wanted to be inclusive so we expanded the nude range: it goes from pinkish nude to taupe and brown. There’s definitely a wide range of what we call ‘nude’, so it’s a harmonious way to introduce a collection. What we see out there is that there’s a lot of black and white, so we feel when consumers see our product, it’s going to pop. It’s soft, feminine, beautiful, and very elevated. We’re also offering a prestige product at a masstige price point, which is something that hasn’t been done before.
Tell us about how the hallmarks of your brand come into the beauty offering?
What is very important to us is creating very clean products. They’re not heavy handed: it’s revealing beauty instead of covering beauty. That was one of the goals. Little did we know that 2020 was going to be about staying at home, but we started thinking of how women lead very busy lives and don’t always have the priority to spend a long time getting glammed up. So we wanted to use the starting point of embracing the natural beauty of the skin. These products aren’t dense, there’s a lot of that on the market already and we wanted something different. Another aspect is questioning why we need 20 products to complete a face when you can use two or three. Our lifestyles have changed and it kind of happened in a way where it’s really went in the same direction we were going—multi-use, light handed beauty products. The Hot Fluff is for the lid, cheek, and lips. We find it to be a signature for the collection, it’s a one stop shop!
What were the non-negotiables when coming up with the brand and the products?
Clean ingredients were very important. Consumers are more informed about what they’re buying into in 2020. We realized we have to be kinder to the environment, we’re cognizant about what we touch, use, and purchase—in every aspect of life.
It’s less is more. That was a very important thing. I didn’t think we needed another line of everything. We needed a line with a clear point of view. With this elevated designer look [we’re going for], a designer name doesn’t really exist in the category. We wanted to speak to a wide range of customers, we’ve done collaborations and projects and they’ve been a massive success. With beauty, it’s a great opportunity for our brand to reach everyone.
The names are super fun! Was it enjoyable coming up with them; did friends or family contribute ideas?
I wanted to have a sense of humor, things are too serious right now! It should be fun it should bring joy. I love the product Jason the Freckle Boy. I started getting freckles 10 years ago and I hated them! But for my last show, we gave all the girls full freckles! This is a great product to DIY at home. The names were Toni all the way. We were texting and on the phone every day, but she has the experience. She knows! Rather than replicating what she’s done at NYX, she did something different. She’s always moving three steps ahead.
Are your friends trialing it at the moment?
I got my samples about a month ago so I gave some to my girlfriends for the first round of trials.
What’s everyone loving so far? I’m excited about the zit stickers!
Everyone is obsessed with the zit stickers! The lip pencils are also really pretty: it’s so smooth. It’s a great product, it feels like it should cost $50.
You also worked with Loewe’s this year. Apart from beauty and home decor, is there another project you’d love to get involved in?
This year we’re launching kitchen [Jason Wu for Brizo™ Kitchen Collection]. That’s where I spend most of my spare time at the moment. During quarantine, I did a sourdough challenge, a focaccia challenge…I started @MrWuEats on Instagram. It’s very casual, literally just me making things! I would think, ‘What am I gonna do from 9pm until 1am?’ That’s usually when I’m out. I go to bed late and I get my creative ideas late, but I love to cook so it’s all coming together. I haven’t been able to travel, so I really have to look for inspiration different to how I found it before. Sometimes it’s even just at Union Square Farmer’s Market around the corner.
What lessons are you taking away from the year?
Conscious decisions. We all have to be more responsible in how we consume. I know that’s ironic, coming from someone who’s in consumer goods! But it’s quality versus quantity. It’s not always about the price point; it’s about having less but better. That’s the big lesson of the year. Things you took for granted can become unavailable all of a sudden. It makes you think.
Are you glad you endeavored to show during the very quiet NYFW?
It was an amazing experience! We had 36 people and then it was also virtual. The theme was escapism and it really felt like we brought Tulum to New York. It was great. It felt like people really appreciated it. Usually people are so busy during fashion week, but being that there wasn’t that much going on, people really appreciated and took the time to look at what we did. That was really special. Fashion is emotional; people say fashion can be frivolous but it’s a form of art and it does provide an experience. Editors said they’ll never complain again about having to go to shows!
Will you show next season?
I have no idea. I’m hearing of shut downs in January. When we shared the last show virtually, it had three million views, but the idea was the combination of live and virtual. We can amplify what we do through digital—but there is just something about the human touch and having the energy and the girls together….
Will you be using Jason Wu Beauty at all your shows?
Yes—we’ll use it exclusively going forward! We’ll create a cool new look.
Tell us about the masterclass you’re hosting with the legendary Ash K Holm in January?
I’m really excited. I have so much admiration for makeup artists and I’ve worked with amazing ones throughout my career. One of the first books that inspired me to go into fashion was Kevyn Aucoin’s Making Faces. I still have my teenage copy at home! There really is transformative powers of beauty, so to be able to work with Ash so people can see and experience the product, it’s a really great idea. The thought of 400 Target stores having my line by January 17th…it’s all pretty unreal!
Follow @JasonWuBeauty for updates!