January 11, 2020: On a rainy Wednesday this past December, I indelicately tore into my PR box full of Jason Wu Beauty. Nude-packaged products spilled out, including the NYC-based designer’s elevated take on classic cosmetics like eyeshadow palettes and matte lipstick. But trend-inspired items also joined the lineup: faux freckle pigment, a unique formula to achieve Insta-famous “soap brows,” and “magic” mattifying face oil. Consider the latter the ultimate recipe to combating a gloomy day self-isolating in your studio apartment.
Beauty incubator Bespoke Beauty Brands is launching Jason Wu Beauty online and in-store at Target starting Sunday, January 17. This retailer is a change up for the designer, whose high-fashion silhouettes are no stranger to luxury retailers like Bergdorf Goodman and Net-a-Porter. But that’s Wu’s strategy: to infuse the affordable aisles of one’s local Target with the sophistication of a high-fashion artist. That’s not something you find very often—a collection born to blur the lines of prestige fashion and beauty with functional makeup accessible to all.
Ahead, the designer chats with GRAZIA about Jason Wu Beauty. The following conversation has been edited slightly for ease of reader experience.
GRAZIA: So you teamed up with Bespoke Beauty Brands to launch your own beauty line. I’d love if you could give us the fast facts on the line and everything we need to know.
JASON WU: Well, I met Toni Ko last year through a mutual friend who legendarily invented the NYX brand. I was really excited to meet her, and then Toni told me all about her new venture, Bespoke Beauty Brands, and how she was starting an incubator for new lines. And so we immediately got talking—over Korean barbeque, of course—and then, you know, we just hit it off and decided, ‘You know what? We’re going to create Jason Wu Beauty, and we’re going to be the first prestige designer to launch a beauty line at the masstige level.’ So that’s what we set out to do. A year later, I can’t believe we’re about to launch.
G: So you launch on January 17, is that correct?
JW: That’s right! We launch at Target and on Target.com.
G: That will be here before we know it, which is insane!
JW: I’m really excited. I generally don’t like January, but this January I’m really looking forward to. It’s definitely one of my dreams to have my own beauty brand, and through Toni’s expertise and experience, it’s just been amazing to work with her.
G: So how long have you wanted to launch a cosmetics line? Obviously, you’re certainly not new to the beauty world as a major fashion designer and fragrance designer as well, but makeup is a whole new venture.
JW: Well, you know, I have had a close relationship with makeup since I was growing up. I was always watching my mom getting ready in the morning. I grew up in the 80s, so there was lots of makeup involved. Also, beauty is a very important part of every single one of my fashion shows.
The beauty look completes the entire runway experience, always.
G: What was the process of bringing the line to life like? How long did it take from conceptualization to execution?
JW: Usually, when it comes to a big corporate company, it would take like three years. But through the magic of Toni Ko, it took about a year from start to finish. There was no bureaucracy, it was just myself and Toni working on every single product together—texting every day, sharing shades, looking at everything. I started beauty with Jason Wu fragrance about two years ago and the packaging is all nude. That was the taking-off point for our makeup collection. We wanted nude to be our brand identity. It’s one of my favorite colors, it’s in my collections that evokes the 50s, which is my favorite era. We took the idea of nude and expanded that to every spectrum and every shade of nude— from pinkier shades to darker browns. We wanted this to be a beauty collection for everybody.
G: I’ve been playing with the products and I’m in love.
JW: After 2020, the way we are is forever changed. For a quick Zoom call right now, just having a little something on is great. The idea was to create something that’s really easy and user-friendly for the modern woman. It’s not about taking three, four hours to get ready, it’s about taking maybe ten minutes. And the other idea is elevation. The packaging has every bit the look of prestige beauty. Just because the price point is masstige doesn’t mean you have to compromise on the quality and the look.
G: I know the line hasn’t launched yet, but can you share your favorites and how you use them?
JW: Well, I love Jason the Freckled Boy. I started getting freckles seven or eight years ago and I was like ‘oh, I kind of like this freckle look.’ My last fashion show, I gave all of the girls for Spring-Summer 2021. This is a product that is great for the faux freckle look, like DIY at home, easy to apply, it comes in a liquid form. Just dot, dot, dot, pat it and it’s great.
G: What were some of the non-negotiables in developing the line?
JW: The non-negotiables were all agreed upon between myself and Toni from the beginning. We really shared the same vision. The non-negotiables werre first that the product had to be top quality. Number 2 was that we needed this to look elevated. It needed to be priced for everybody, but it needed to look three, four steps above what’s out there already at this price point.
G: Would you say that your line takes inspiration from the runway?
JW: It’s definitely packed full of Jason Wu DNA. Everything has to be fun, sophisticated, and quality. That is very much the DNA of Jason Wu.
G: I meant to ask you about the brand names.
JW: I worked with Toni on them. We both have a sense of humor. Makeup is about having fun and so we had to have some fun with the names. We want people to enjoy this. This should be something you don’t have to think so much about. They should be something that is a delight. The world is heavy enough as it is.
There’s so much going on out there and makeup shouldn’t be a part of that stress, makeup should be something that brings you a ton of joy and a ton of happiness.
G: So based on today’s fashion trends is there a look or two from your Fall 2020 collection that you’d love to see paired with your products?
JW: There’s one worn by model Sara Grace. It’s a lilac feather confection. That fits right into the beautiful nudes of the collection. And then there’s another look that’s all nude feathers, worn by model Lara Mullen. It just looks like the beauty line.
G: Moving forward, will models be wearing Jason Wu Beauty on the runway?
JW: Yes, models moving forward will be wearing exclusively Jason Wu Beauty.
Keep scrolling to shop GRAZIA’s favorite products from Jason Wu Beauty.