Friday, June 29, 2012

Why Are Celebrity Perfumes Still Popular?

Back a while ago I really thought the trend for celebrity scents (i.e.scents coat-tailing on the success of a celebrity brand name to which they're designed as an accessory) was dying. Boy, was I wrong! There are more celebrity scents coming out each season and it stands to reason people must be actually buying all this stuff for the companies to keep churning out more and more. (The latest, Nicole, comes from Nicole Richie who credits her mother's layering of a hundred scented products as its inspiration, which is scary sounding enough). But WHY are they?

"Like their wearers, these fragrances are not sophisticated, nor are they complicated. In fact they are scented with the same formulae used in shampoos and deodorant body sprays, according to perfume evaluator Erica Moore of Michael Edwards Fragrances of the World. ''They're immensely popular and very successful,'' she says. ''They're affordable. They've brought fine fragrance to a market that is not sophisticated.'' Moore says young women find their fragrance style by experimenting with these types of perfumes. But they also want a bargain.

 ''Parallel market'' fragrances are flourishing, according to beauty market analyst Jo-Anne Mason. ''It's dumped stock and coming in really cheap,'' she says. ''It's a grey market. It is legal. They're buying it out of Dubai. It could have been sitting there in a hot, unairconditioned warehouse for a year. (Cosumers) don't know; they don't think about it - they just look at the price.''

 Quotes from a longer article on the Sydney Morning Herald

And on to YOU to discuss in the comments:
 Do you find that you had been attracted by these scents when you were younger and have moved on? Do you find that there are exceptions to every rule and you have found a celebrity scent to claim your own? Does associating a perfume composition which sounds intriguing with a celebrity name crush your hopes for interesting juice? Or not?

 Hearing you out in the comment section!


  1. Hannah17:03

    I was never attracted to celebrity scents when I was younger. I wore coty's vanilla musk and a bottle of Aspen cologne I filched from my father. Strangely enough, I actually have bought some celebrity scents now that I am older- Kate Walsh's Boyfriend, and With Love by Hillary Duff. I bought them because of the scent, though, and not the celebrity. I was surprised to like them because I don't get my hopes up for a celebrity perfume, as I think that the perfume receives the same plastic surgery perfection on the outside: the bottle is beautiful, the description of the scent is like something out of a fairytale, and the top notes are often scintillating, but, as is often the case with the celebrity themselves, there is no real depth to them.

    Another idea to ponder: can we consider the use of celebrities as "faces" for a design house and a perfume be considered a more adult "celebrity perfume"? I think I am more susceptible to that type of marketing because I can justify buying the scent by saying, "Well, it is Givenchy, so should be high quality", when in reality, I bought Very Irresistible because I am enamored with Liv Tyler and her ethereal beauty.

    Whew! I guess that ends my rambles. Thank you for always posting such thought provoking posts :)

  2. Hannah,

    interesting thoughts!! Glad the post prompted such a comment.
    I well understand being attracted by the actual scent of a celebrity fragrance; it happened to me with Lovely (SJP) and before that with Deneuve and Sophia (though those two don't really qualify because they come from a n older era when even celebrity scents were very carefully crafted).

    Celebrity faces for perfumes by designer houses (and cosmetics and jewelry houses too) ARE the alleged endorsement of someone who should theoretically know better and have access to the best, so....(the thinking goes something like that I suppose).

    Yet another idea to ponder: can we consider the use of perfumers who have become celebrities as "faces" for a niche house as an even more adult and rather snobbish "celebrity perfume"? I think we just might!! ;-)

  3. Lilli02:52

    I always go by scent, and thought in my teens, that my friends were funny buying all the celebrity perfumes. However, I did buy Miss Dior Cherie because I just love Natalie Portman, and the ad she did for it.

  4. MariaA08:39

    Well I was thinking about this and kept wondering what we mean nowadays with celebrity scents. Some years ago celebrity scents were Paloma Picaso's perfumes, Elizabeth Taylor's etc but they were a few and people didn't look at them with half eye. Now everyone has his/her perfume and that overdose I guess causes people to wonder how everyone is talented so much! I try and sniff celbrity scents as I don't want to dismiss something based on label (see also the Chandler Burr project) but the only celebrity scent I sniffed and bought was LAMB by Gwen Stefani. Although everyone said the worst about it on me it smells heavenly! Oh I also have he Niki de Saint Phalle perfume if you count that one to be celebrity.

  5. Anonymous10:59

    You could call the perfumes that were associated with movie stars a few generations ago "celebrity scents"! Who can think of Givenchy's L'Interdit without Audrey Hepburn popping into your mind, or Creed's Fleurissimo without Princess Grace's face coming into view?

    Being a snob (!) I felt guilty that they were the reasons I first tried those fragrances (and loved them), but I think that now I am prejudiced against contemporary celeb scents, not just because most of the names involved hardly have the charisma of the old-time greats, but also because the juice itself seems so inferior compared to that of long ago. But perhaps the majority of perfumes generally these days is not that good either?

    Having said that, I did quite enjoy SJP's Covet, which seemed different from most of the others on offer.


  6. Eva H.14:30

    I am careful when it comes to celebrity scents because most do smell the same (fruity floral) or just really cheap and plain yucky.
    Of course there are exceptions, I quite like SJP Lovely (but that IS a blatant copy of NR for her)or Beyonce Heat.
    I´d love to try Kate Walsh Boyfriend, I´ve heard good things about it.
    But I am not prejudiced enough to not try the ones that sound interesting, notes-wise... I am still hoping for a really great celebrity scent. :o)

  7. Lilli,

    yeah, but Natalie is just fronting Dior. It's not a "celebrity perfume" per se. You're still untouchable in the game of shaming people who buy celebrity perfumes.

    LOL! Just kidding.

    I know what you mean. :-)

  8. Maria,

    back then there were indeed fewer celebrity perfumes and the people fronting them used to be classier (Deneuve, Taylor, Pavarotti, Sophia Loren, Paloma Picasso, my gosh!)
    Love Niki de St.Phalle and her perfume! If sculptors are considered "celebrities", we're living in an alternative universe and please don't drag me back home to see Doukissa Nomikou and Tzoulia Alexandratou etc. ;-)

  9. Jillie,

    hmmm....interesting parable!
    I do think L'Interdit is associated with Hepburn, which is interesting in itself, but there are doubts as to whether any of the Creed claims hold any water. Many seem to consider them bogus (yes, even Kelly and Fleurissimo).

    Regardless of veracity (those are romantic stories, invested in the glamour and nostalgia of the past, hence they hold us entranced still) however the point is those were *classy *people employed back then. More than one can say about Paris Hilton or Kim Kardashian, who are obviously business-savvy, since they make the moves they make and make $$ from it, but not exactly class acts, are they?

    Which makes your hesitation totally valid in my eyes, at least (and I'm sure to the eyes of many). But your other point that there is less attention to the juice is perhaps the most telling of them all. There's an endless recycling of themes and notes, probably because they're going with what sold well the previous time and copying it clumsily on a tight budget. It's just ethically bad business posing as good business, but it must have gone down in the market as a successful endeavor economically if they keep making them.... :-(

    Covet WAS different. This is why it didn't make it as well as Lovely which -lovely as it is- is in fact a "copy" of something successful (they had the good taste to copy something nice in the first place).

    V. interesting comment, thank you!

  10. Eva,

    I think you nailed it: they're floating in a sea of sameness. That's the biggest flaw. And necessitating a low cost so as to get priced competitively, little goes into the actual formula or the brainstorming in the creative process.

    But of course there are surprises hiding which is always a great thing! I have heard great things of Boyfriend myself (but had no access to try it, being in Europe; doubt it will ever be available here).

  11. Mimi Gardenia06:21

    I am very cynical when it comes to celebrity perfumes. However, if it is a good perfume regardless.... and I love it, I will not hesitate to buy it. I can't think of one that I really love enough though- not even Truth or Dare by Madonna ....or Queen by Queen Latifah which is pretty good.

    Now, Denise Richards of marriage/divorce to bad boy Charlie Sheen fame is launching her own scent.
    It's just business to them - ,building their 'brand' , a cash cow and a way to keep their earnings up. Similar to a celebrity starting a line of handbags at HSN -the shopping network on TV.

  12. I don't understand why people have such a problem with celebrity perfumes. Each to their own!

  13. Mimi,

    wise thinking.
    It is extending the brand, as you say, it's something that can keep going even after they have stopped public appearances (think of Taylor's industry, though there's no comparison really.)

  14. Katrina,

    probably because in the majority of cases celebrity scents leave something to be desired in the actual fragrance department? I don't know, that's the collective experience for most people really into perfumes, not just buying for buying's sake.
    To wit, just take a careful browse on your own site: the highlight is the videos and the promos of the fragrances by the celebrities, not the actual smell!

  15. I admit to be being a snob AND being interested in Nicole's and Lady Goo Goo's scents. Nicole because I like her style and thought she might actually put some effort into her perfume, which the bottle also indicated. She does wear her own jewelry after all, which is more than most celebs. Ga's because the notes actually sounded interesting, the bottle is great and the black color unique. But some reviews are in for both and I have lost the modicum of curiosity that I had. Ga's is fruitcandy typical rather than dark and mysterious. And neither has longevity, which is the curse of the celebrity frag, if you like it to begin with. No, I haven't tried them and won't unless the tester is right in front of me and I have a non-scented body part to apply it too. I won't go hunting it down, like Coco Noir. No loss. I do still crave trying Faberge's Princess Grace de Monaco however!

  16. I tend to shy away from the celebrity scents due, to My thinking of their statues as a celebrity. It makes me think that they are cheating due to popularity. I do like good scents that don't smell cheap however though if I get word that the celebrity educates themselves about the perfume industry before they have a scent with their name on it I may reconsider.

  17. Kuan,

    I don't find a major discrepancy, this happens to many of us. ;-)
    Gaga's scent was so mainstream compared to her image that a disappointment was a natural outcome upon testing. :-(
    On the other hand, I haven't come across the PG Faberge which is an exciting reminder! Thanks!

  18. Y,

    that's as good a point as to make many perfume lovers reconsider the blanket term of "not wanting to try celeb scents". Some celebrities do/did care about perfume (SJP, L.Taylor etc.) and it shows. Some others see it as what it mostly is, brand extension.
    I wish more were invested in bringing out something that would actually do their brand some good and make fans consider something a little more unusual, more out of the ordinary.

  19. When I ventured into my perfume journey, I remember being very attracted to Christine Aguilera's Red Sin. I found it very charming and spicy. After testing tens of scents, I have completely gone off it. It now smells to me like a nice enough body lotion, or a fancy shampoo. And the spice... Let's just say I have discovered orientals, and now know what true spice is!
    However, nowadays I do love Hilary Duff With Love. When I first tested it I didn't even know who Hilary Duff is! But I still think it's very interesting as a scent and doesn't smell like everything else out there!

  20. George,

    very apt descriptions and observations! I agree that comparative testing accounts for very interesting results, highlighting some notes over others etc.
    Hilary Duff's is a woody fragrance which is highly unusual for a celeb scent. I had to admit that at the time I wasn't really sure why HD was such a known celebrity to have a scent out!

    Thanks for commenting and reading.


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