November 9, 2011
Apparel and accessories designer Jason Wu collaborated with kitchen and bathroom manufacturing line Brizo to develop a powder room collection that will launch in Spring 2012.
The brands released a statement earlier this year indicating their intent to develop a line but have not released specific product information until now. The line consists of faucets, towel racks, soap dispensers and drawer knobs and pulls.
“I love to hear about smart corporations collaborating with design talent,” said Stephanie Tisch, art director at Seraph, Miami. “I believe we need more of the human touch in the business world.
“The mass market, one-size-fits-all way of making and selling things is dying,” she said. “Smart companies know this.
“Affluent customers are more interested than ever in filling their lives with meaning and beauty — not soulless, design-by-default — and are happy to pay a premium for stories and products they connect with emotionally.”
Ms. Tisch is affiliated with neither Jason Wu nor Brizo, but agreed to comment as an industry expert.
The two brands were not able to comment before press deadline.
Tapping into interests
An experiment by the two brands, the collection aims to merge design and technology to create timeless and chic pieces for the sophisticated home.
Mr. Wu and Brizo have partnered on projects since 2006 and the company is the primary sponsor of the designer's fashion week shows.
The Jason Wu for Brizo collection combines “sleek Scandinavian design and intricate Baroque detailing.” The pieces are finished in matte black with either chrome or brushed nickel accents.
Brizo collection from Jason Wu
Mr. Wu created a faucet at $799, a wastebasket for $125, a glass wall rack for $250, a towel bar for $235, a free-standing soap pump for $105, a soap dish for $105, toilet paper and tank levers for $105 and $85-$119 and drawer knobs and pulls ranging $15-$35.
Each piece is accented with a Baroque-inspired flower.
The centerpiece of the collection is the faucet, according to the brands. The Jason Wu for Brizio Odin faucet features a rotating handle motion and is emblazed with the Miss Wu owl emblem on the tip of the handle.
The faucet is also equipped with SmartTouchPlus technology that allows users to start and stop water flow with a touch anywhere on the spout or handle and a hands-free mode that activates the faucet when hands are anywhere within four feet, according to Brizo.
Jason Wu for Brizo faucet
Finally, the Odin faucet debuts a temperature-sensing indicator in which a LED light function displays colors such as blue, magenta and red to indicate water temperature.
The Jason Wu for Brizo collection is not available until Spring 2012, but pieces are available for pre-order at http://www.brizo.com/jasonwu.
Wu the consumer
Collaborations are becoming more frequent with luxury brands. However, they only really work when they make sense as to not confuse consumers.
“If two brands share similar values, collaboration is always a good thing in my book,” Ms. Tisch said.
“Whenever two creative talents come together, the output is usually stronger than the sum of their individual parts,” she said. “I love the spirit of working together and think we will see more and more of it as traditional ways of production and marketing dissolve.”
Other luxury brands have been testing the waters in new areas, most notably in the lifestyle market.
For example, Hilton Hotel-owned Waldorf Astoria and Italian footwear manufacturer Salvatore Ferragamo have partnered for the designer’s first fragrance and bath products collection offered to guests at Waldorf Astoria hotels (see story).
Additionally, Italian fashion empire Armani Group will open its second hotel this week in Milan which will further the brand’s lifestyle offerings and immerse consumers in its style (see story).
Ms. Tisch believes that the Jason Wu for Brizo collaboration will add value to both parties because it is tapping into a consumer’s passion and fashion interests and furthering the designer as a lifestyle brand.
“For everyday items in our lives like appliances, soap dispensers and waste baskets, we interact with them so frequently that we tend not to even notice them,” Ms. Tisch said. “They become so expected and commonplace they nearly become invisible.
“It's wonderful that Brizo has taken on a collaboration with Jason Wu to raise them from ordinary to artful,” she said. “Now Brizo has an interesting story to tell and a meaningful connection for style-savvy, fashion-forward customers that gives them a reason to choose Brizo products.”
Rachel Lamb, associate reporter on Luxury Daily, New York