Exclusive: Talking Floral Notes and Fantasia with Anna Sui
While the term “Fantasia” may trigger images of dancing broomsticks and Disney characters for many of us, Anna Sui thinks more along the lines of unicorns, floral notes, and juicy fruits like raspberry and pomelo.
Known for her dreamy, whimsical designs, Sui has solidified her spot as a runway legend, and each of her fragrances follow suit, perfectly bottling the designer’s penchant for the fanciful. Her latest scent, Fantasia, in its unicorn-adorned glory, is no exception. Ahead of her show at NYFW, Scentbird caught up with the designer to get all the details on the scent.
Where do you draw inspiration to create your fragrances?
“Every fragrance I create illustrates another part of my world… People are attracted to my fashions because of all the elements I try to put into it. There’s always a very sweet feminine, girly aspect…a touch of nostalgia. There’s also the aspect of trendiness; the hipness I try to create by always adding a rock-and-roll coolness. There’s always that ambiguity…the Good Girl/Bad Girl thing. All these facets have to go into my designs, or it doesn’t look like Anna Sui”.
Scent has so many close ties to memory — what are some of your most poignant scent memories?
“I always remember watching my Mother getting ready to go out for the evening. I was totally fascinated by the whole ritual of it…the beautiful dresses, the jewelry, the makeup. I remember she used to wear Chanel No 5, and for me, that scent will always take me back to those days. My Mom is still such an elegant woman, so polished. I learned a great deal from her.”
Do you ever incorporate scent memory elements into the fragrances you create?
“I use a lot of flowers as they are a really important scent memory for me. My mother always grew roses in our yard, the association of roses takes me back to my earliest childhood memories.
Are there any notes you gravitate toward when concocting a new scent?
“There is a farmer’s market in Union Square that sells fresh seasonal flowers. I adore springtime when there are peonies, tulips, lily of the valley and iris available all at once. After going there for a while and sampling what’s new each week, I have come to realize my new favorite flower is the peony! I love to arrange armfuls of them in my bedroom! The scent of the peony is not as pronounced as the rose, but they do have their own fresh sweetness. Their subtle fragrance whisks me off to a dream of Imperial China!”
For Mermaid in particular, what was your inspiration for the scent?
“I loved the Fantasia world and wanted to expand it further. After finishing my beach themed SS19 collection, I was inspired by the imaginary world of the sea; I felt the mermaid perfectly exemplified its mystery. The ocean is alluring, but can also be dangerous. There are many hidden treasures in the ocean waiting to be discovered!”
Did you have a specific kind of person or personality in mind when creating Mermaid?
“She’s a little bit of a rebel, independent, living life her own way. She’s always looking to discover new and exciting things, exploring the world, looking for treasures. A beautiful smile and a slightly mysterious look is her signature. Like a mermaid, her personality has several facets and that is the reason why everyone is intrigued.”
What’s next for your fashion and fragrance houses?
A retrospective exhibition of my career opens this September at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York City. The history of Anna Sui fragrances is amply documented in the show…and each room will be scented with one of my signature fragrances!
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