Sunday, September 27, 2009

Eau de Celebrity: Waning, waning...?

In the last 10 years everyone who is recognised a bit more widely than their schoolmates, their own mother and possibly their hamster seems to have issued a fragrance bearing their name in gilt lettes on bottles produced by Parlux and Coty (mainly). The phenomenon nicknamed "celebrity fragrances" had accumulated epic proportions in the last couple of years when even reality game players had their own eponymous scent on the market (no disrespect to poor late Jane Goody), adding to a massive churn-out in the class of the hudnreds. Thankfully (to many, ourselves included) it seems that, despite Beyonce, Kim Kardashian and Peter Andre all having a scent in the works, the trend is on its waning phase.

"[...] it has recently been revealed by retailers that these products don't have the longevity of classic fragrances and that customers actually don't want to smell like someone off Big Brother after all. Jason Zemmel, founder of online discount store halfpriceperfumes, said: “It’s a fickle market with celebrity scandals and poor album sales having a direct effect on sales of celebrity scents. It used to be the biggest stars that brought out a scent but we now have all manner of C-listers churning out fragrances whenever they have something to promote.”
Adding that:
“Whilst some, like the Britney Spears range sells well, we’ve found many have shunned the scents of lesser known celebs. We’re now seeing resurgence for classic scents such as Christian Dior, Elizabeth Arden and Chanel, that have been around for years,” said Zemmel.
Parlux is on record for losing $4.3m last year and a reported $2.5m loss in the second quarter of this year. Whether the economic recession is having any relation to the buying patterns of consumers who would rather spend their money on something they really perceive as necessary (or as prestigious, when they do spend over budget)is not accounted for. It does seem that overexposure to specific names has created satiation and boredom and that only strong names are surviving, such as the Jennifer Lopez empire of scents or the Beckham duo.
Shall we all heave a collective sigh of "oh good!" and forget about the overexposed faces that greet us with their candid shots on the front pages of Hello magazine? Here's to hoping! Or at least that from the collective stink only the nice fumes (no matter how few) will surface victorious and sustain their life on the shelves.

Read the full article on Body Confidential.

Victoria Beckham pic courtesy of American Elle magazine.


  1. This is so interesting... I think our culture has had celebrity overload and is no sick of it- hence the turning towards the more classic perfume houses. I knew it would happen sooner or later!

  2. Anonymous21:42

    Dear E,

    Although I think I have largely ignored the whole celebrity-fragrance trend (not being very interested in celebrities in the first place), it must have affected me to some degree. I was completely unable to work up any interest in Insolence after first seeing the celebrity ad; ergo, I have never bothered to sample it.

    I can't wait to see magazines finally filled with interesting and compelling perfume advertising.


  3. Thank God the trend is on its waning phase! It was about time that people realize the importance of a perfume. Let your nose do the work when selecting a perfume..

  4. it's happy news isn't it. The only celebrity scent I like- probably like everyone else- is Lovely by Sarah Jessica Parker- but she seems like a real enthusiast. Let's be honest if they all loved scent so much they would start their own lines not bring out some sugar sweet 6 month wonder with their name on them. I was shocked when Kate Moss jumped on the bandwagon too.

  5. J,

    I believe that you're right: it had to happen sooner or later. And so many factors are at play: The recession making splurges more well-planned, the celebrity watching being rather boring (we've seen just about everything by now), the interminent number of launches and perhaps the rise of the Internet fora, blogs and boards which show a discerning new audience.

    I would be happy to see their dust... :-)

  6. N,

    perhaps we might hold our breath a little while longer for that kind of advertising! (I'm with you, but...) I think this is not going to change too soon. :-(
    But at least not so much vulgarity and crass in assigning projects and flaunting the C-listers is a good sign.
    It's true that Insolence was marketed towards the Baby Phat audience when in fact it's a quite proper Guerlain with a modern (raspberry) touch. I just wish they hadn't opted for that course of marketing but can't blame the juice for that! (Do try it, especially in EDP)

  7. Perfume aaa,

    we couldn't agree more.

  8. K,

    Lovely is well lovely (I like it a lot), yet interestingly it's nothing like SJP envisioned "her" perfume to be like if you read Burr's book, but it's clear that she participated into the development and she is a true enthusiast ~which is so endearing!

    I think most celebrities get approached with the idea (in fact have been for ages, not just now), the difference is whether they actually ask a couple of questions on the project details in what has to do with the actual product or only sign for how many appearences they will make fronting it. :/

  9. No I know and I would love to try the fragrance she mixed for herself with Avignon and the bonne belle musk etc. I've sort of tried to mix Avignon with some musk scents and it's nice but Avignon still totally dominates. There's no way a perfume company would ever have let her do what she wanted- and that Twilight scent that she said was like what she wanted smells nothing like I imagined and isn't very good. I love Lovely but all the subsequent scents- not so much.


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