Who here wears Donald Trump the Fragrance? Or Sexy Thoughts by Paula Abdul? Or Julio Iglesias’s Only Crazy?
Well, someone does, for this stuff is shifting units. Perhaps not in the league of JLo’s (radioactive) Glow, and certainly not on the scale of Britney’s (cupcake nemesis) Fantasy, but right now, somebody, somewhere in this universe, is dabbing a dot of Danielle by Danielle Steele in the crook of her elbows.
Celebrity endorsements are nothing new in the world of fragrance, nor is the phenomenon of celebrity as scent muse. Givenchy created L’Interdit, we know, for Audrey Hepburn, while Creed created Fleurissimo for bride-to-be Grace Kelly.
Even in the Eighties, stars were readily putting their names to scents, to wit, Joan Collins’s Spectacular (she was also the muse for Revlon’s Scoundrel), and Catherine Deneuve’s coolly elegant chypre, Deneuve. For The Scentimentalist, affection for the so-called celebuscents of this decade must be reserved for pop starlet Debbie Gibson’s Electric Youth, the pink prototype for all successive teenybopper fragrances, in a bottle hosting an electric (okay, make that plastic) ‘coil’. Punk rock!
As to the wearers of celebuscents, it is known that the 16-to-28 demographic predominates, hence the preponderance of generic fruity florals in this category, or scents that are ‘inoffensive’, ‘broad in appeal’ and, in short, safe. No matter how ‘avant-garde’ (Gwen Stefani?) or edgy (Kate Moss?) the star, no celebrity’s scented creation would ever dare to be truly audacious. Why?
It wouldn’t sell.
The result is an alarming homogeneity amongst such fragrances: who can really discern one cherry-jam Katie Price juice from the next, or one Paris Hilton candyfloss confection from another?
For the more mature (though not always more discerning) celebrity lover, Liz Taylor’s spangly fragrance flotilla supplies an array of less-really-is-more olfactory ‘jewels’. Her White Diamonds, launched in 1991, remains one of the best-selling celebrity scents to date.
In Britain – and possibly even beyond – there is a cluster of fragrant fogies wishing to smell of the latest Cliff Richard (choose from Miss You Nights, Devil Woman and Summer Holiday!), while Celine Dion, global empress of the power ballad, has an extraordinary twelve fragrant offerings to her name.
On a slightly less stellar note, one can only speculate as to the intended demographic for Svetlana’s Breath, a malodorous-sounding elixir that was named for the daughter of Stalin. (Should any reader have first-hand experience of this scent, The Scentimentalist would love to hear from you!)
But what of the ineffably awful or unutterably uncool celebrity scent, the sort that winds up, unloved and abandoned, collecting dust in your local pound store? The sort of lazily executed, tawdrily packaged bilge that never quite made it to the lucrative ranks of the ‘prestige market’?
Two examples that spring to The Scentimentalist’s mind are Kerry Katona’s Outrageous! and Chanelle Hayes’s Mwah!, the former being the ‘creation’ of a one-time girl-band member with four children and a drug habit, and the latter being that of a Big Brother contestant-cum-Posh Spice impersonator. Oh, and she glamour models.
Certainly, hubris and sheer, unadulterated greed have served to lead to the oversaturation of celebuscents, a process hastened by Z-list wannabes jumping gaily on the Britney Spears bandwagon. For, as sales figures clearly indicate, the celebuscent’s star is now well on the wane, and even Kylie and JLo’s bottoms appear to have dropped out of this market.
For more mercilessly mockery of celebuscent nonsense, click here.