“Ha ha, Fendi misspelled Asia with Asja”, I raughed. But did they? I used Google to translate Asia to French and Italian but Asja didn’t come up. Fendi probably invented this word for the title of their oriental perfume so that it sounded even more exotic.
The packaging of Asja (1992) is fun and beautiful and not necessarily cliche. It is a mishmash of various Asian traditional iconic designs – Chinese red lanterns, Japanese lacquered wood bowls, radiating stripes that resemble sun rays in the old Japanese flag and paintings, and the use of gold colour that turns every Chinese on.
I haven’t noticed any new Asian inspired packaging for perfumes for years. I guess Asia is no longer exotic to westerners anymore – they are now everywhere in the world. I live in Toronto, and walking down the street in my neighbourhood, all I see are Chinese bubble tea shops, Korean convenience shops and Halaj restaurants. I bet nowadays white folks in Toronto would find a bottle maple syrup more exotic than before.
Asja is actually a proper title for the perfume. It’s oriental to the max, and I like it better than YSL’s classic Opium. Opium debut in 1977, although it’s a smash success, it smells unfriendly to me. It lacks a certain warmth that I expect from an oriental perfume, and also it smells plasticky to me. Asjacame out 15 years later, although the notes are similar, it is sweeter, fruitier, warmer, and has a little trace of metallic smell, which I like, probably due to cinnamon and carnation overdose.