In 1997 Alfred began a battle against stomach cancer that he eventually won. “I spent a lot of time just reading, thinking, learning to be grateful,” he says. “Now if I want to do something, I don’t put it off. If I want to say something, I don’t hold it in any more. I had to learn to express my emotions.” By 2000 he made a full recovery and with a renewed sense of self and optimistic outlook, he set out to create SHI ALFRED SUNG, one of his most enduring and thoughtful fragrances.
During an informal lunch meeting with Saul Mimran, Alfred drew a water drop shape with a single stroke on a napkin and said, “this is the shape of the new fragrance.” It is a direct expression of his personal journey in a singular form, where inner balance is achieved and calm and wellbeing are reflected.
The SHI ALFRED SUNG bottle is a study of visual balance and harmony in that perfect natural form, the water drop. Designed by Alfred Sung in conjunction with well-known designer Jerome Dinand, the unique and beautiful SHI ALFRED SUNG bottle explores the relationship between three of nature’s elements, namely water, wood and metal. According to the ancient Chinese philosophy of Feng Shui, the water element is one of the five elements of nature that create and balance earth’s energy: fire, wood, earth, water and metal. These five forces balance each other and flow in a natural progression from one to the other creating a constant movement of harmonious energy in our world. In the SHI ALFRED SUNG interpretation, a solid, dark wood base is the foundation for the perfectly smooth, rounded glass filled with fragrance representing water. The cap, which is the element of metal, sits atop the glass to complete the flow. On the flat top of the cap, the Chinese symbol for water is embossed. This attention to detail, for which Alfred is known, exists throughout all aspects of the fragrance.
The original ad image for SHI ALFRED SUNG. “reflect the calm within”
The original ad image for HEI ALFRED SUNG. “release the energy”
As with the bottle design, the paradigm of energy and life has been reflected in the composition of the SHI ALFRED SUNG scent and its carefully chosen ingredients - all of which flow in a creative cycle. In each of the three phases of this luminous floral fragrance, two ingredients capture the essence of the scent, water lily and fig leaves. Intermingling with each other in perfect balance and blending into the following phases seamlessly, the scent breathes a whisper of silver birch that ends with an aura of renewed tranquility.
Alfred appeared to sign autographs at The Hudson’s Bay Company in Toronto. The bottle and packaging won an HBA International Packaging Design Award in 2001.
No stranger to the importance of balance and serenity, Alfred Sung’s lifestyle has always mirrored this design philosophy. His passion for symmetry, the colour white and his intimate gardens are but a few examples of how he follows these simple principles. Alfred Sung is a perfect example of an individual who has reached the point in one’s personal journey where inner balance has been achieved and the resulting sense of calm and wellbeing is reflected outwards. SHI ALFRED SUNG was officially launched at The Bat in Canada and at Nordstrom in the U.S. and became an instant hit worldwide. It produced a number of seasonal spin-off fragrances including SHA ALFRED SUNG, MEI ALFRED SUNG, and HEI ALFRED SUNG for men.