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Fragrance and Fashion: Crafting Luxury Through Scent with Christopher Yu
Episode 87th June 2024 • Just A Fashion Minute • David M Watts
00:00:00 00:40:16

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Hello, fashion aficionados! Welcome back to Just A Fashion Minute. I'm your host, David M. Watts, and today we have an incredible episode lined up for you. Our guest, Christopher Yu, takes us on a deep dive into the world of fragrance, sharing insights on sustainability, the art of perfumery, and the evolving language of smell. Christopher's experiences working with LMR and his passion for protecting the planet and the people within the fragrance industry truly shine through in this episode.

We'll also explore Christopher's embarrassing fashion moment, discuss trending comfort scents, and delve into the global fragrance market's predicted growth. Plus, we have the latest in fashion news, from Gucci's cruise 2025 show at the Tate Modern to the excitement surrounding the opening of Dover Street Market in Paris.

And as always, we have our Just A Fashion Minute News Round Up to keep you updated on the latest happenings in the fashion world.

Don't forget to subscribe on your favourite podcasting app to catch all our episodes and stay connected with the world of fashion. So, sit back, relax, and let's dive into the fascinating world of fashion and fragrance with Christopher Yu.

Timestamps & Topics

00:00:01 Introduction and overview of the episode

Just A Fashion Minute News Round-up and overview of the podcast episode topics.

00:06:01 Early interest in fragrance

Christopher Yu shares how he became interested in fragrance from a young age, including anecdotes about playing in duty-free shops as a child.

00:07:07 Fragrance memory triggers

Discussion on how certain smells can trigger nostalgic memories, like the smell of steamed rice reminding Chris of his childhood home.

00:07:57 Career influences

Chris credits influential people like Laurent Delafon and Olivier Polge who helped shape his fragrance career early on.

00:09:19 Bringing Diptyque to UK

Introducing the Diptyque fragrance brand to the UK market in the late 1990s.

00:10:04 Fashion/fragrance connection

Exploring the connection between fashion and fragrance as projections of one's self and personal style.

00:11:46 Defining fashion

Christopher Hu provides his definition of fashion as an expression reflecting a point in time.

00:13:38 Sustainability in fragrance

In-depth discussion on sustainability practices in the fragrance industry and Chris's perspective on what true sustainability means.

00:18:57 Price variations in fragrance

Explanation for why there are significant price variations between different fragrance brands.

00:20:14 Describing smells

Tips on how to better describe and articulate different smells beyond basic vocabulary.

00:22:48 Fragrance trends

Discussion on current fragrance trends like scents reminiscent of Play-Doh, lipstick and hemp as consumers seek out comforting smells post-pandemic.

00:24:41 Growth of global fragrance market

Exploring what is driving the projected growth of the global fragrance market in the coming years.

00:26:54 Creating Ostens fragrances

The years-long process Chris went through in creating and developing his own Ostens fragrance brand.

00:31:11 Meaning behind wearing fragrance

Whether people wear fragrance just to smell good or if there are deeper meanings and emotional reasons behind it.

00:32:23 Ostens brand purpose

Chris shares the driving purpose behind his Ostens brand: to spotlight talented creators in the industry.

00:33:09 Redefining fragrance

How Chris believes the fragrance industry should be redefined, valuing creators and respecting the product.

00:33:30 Quickfire questions

Rapid-fire questions about fashion/fragrance topics.

00:39:01 Closing remarks

Closing thoughts and appreciation for you, the listeners, as the podcast season wraps up.

Guest Bio

Christopher Yu, an industry expert with over two decades of experience in the perfume sector, is renowned for his exceptional ability to transform fragrance ventures into successful enterprises. Originally from New Zealand, Christopher began his career in law and accounting, practicing tax litigation at PricewaterhouseCoopers in Wellington. In 1999, he relocated to London, where he initially worked as a solicitor in investment banking.

In 2002, Christopher shifted his focus to the fragrance industry, starting a niche fragrance distribution business for the luxury candle pioneer Diptyque. This venture was highly successful, and in 2007, after selling the business to Manzanita Capital, he co-founded United Perfumes with business partner Laurent Delafon. Under his leadership, United Perfumes has launched and elevated numerous high-profile fragrance brands globally, including Fragonard, Apothia Los Angeles, Olivina Napa Valley, Maison Francis Kurkdjian, and Cire Trudon.

Christopher has also been instrumental in creating and defining home fragrance brands under licence for prestigious fashion and design houses such as Anya Hindmarch, Paul Smith, Alexander McQueen, and the Italian design icon Fornasetti. His strategic vision and innovative approach have not only shaped his career but have also made a significant impact on the luxury fragrance industry. Christopher Yu's journey from a legal and financial background to becoming a fragrance mogul exemplifies his diverse skills and his ability to identify and cultivate luxury brands in the competitive perfume market.

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