I love Britney Spears. I have done since ‘…Baby One More Time’ hit the airwaves in 1998. That’s twenty years of being a Britney fan. I grew up with her music so it would be pretty TOXIC for me to turn on her now. I mean, I LOVE ROCK ‘N’ ROLL but Britney is my favourite, her music makes me STRONGER and whilst SOMETIMES there have been FREAKSHOW moments and things have often been a CIRCUS, I have always ensured that I WILL BE THERE for Britney. I support Ms. Spears because she will always GIMME MORE and I’m LUCKY to have someone who will provide me with the daily motivation I need to DO SOMETHIN’ – to tell me to WORK BITCH when I most need it. Basically, Britney, what Im trying to say is that I’M A SLAVE 4 U and you can have a PIECE OF ME whenever you damn well please.
OK. I’ll stop now. I promise.
Music career aside, Britney has had huge success with her perfume empire. Fantasy is one of the best selling celebrity fragrances on the market and has outlasted so many others from a whole host of her contemporaries. It’s also the best example of a fruity, cupcake floral there is and you can come at me if you think otherwise. This summer, Britney is treating us to a brand new fragrance – the provocative Prerogative, which takes its name from her hit single (a Bobby Brown cover) and Greatest Hits album. Prerogative is designed as a “break the rules” kind of a fragrance, created for all Britney fans, regardless of gender. It comes with the battle cry that we can all do whatever the hell we want. Well what I wanna do right now is review the heck out of this fragrance, and if Britney endorses that with this “do whatever you want” scent, I’m a do it.
So you may have guessed from my little Shawn Mendes Signature review a week or so ago that celebrity fragrances are having somewhat of a resurgence. I know, I know, you’re all groaning at the thought (I can hear your moans carried on the soft, despairing winds of the internet) but I promise you that this time, things are different. Our dear celebrities have realised that consumers will no longer be fooled and they, or their teams, need to put in a bit of effort to actually make fragrances that are interesting. Just look at SJP Stash for proof, and even Mr Mendes, who isn’t wildly original in his scented exploits, but at least made something rather wearable and lovely. Now it’s time for Katy Perry’s turn to up her scent game.
I like Katy Perry. She is fun. Her music feels quite self aware and its catchy hooks are hard not to love. But Katy Perry has come along way from the bubblegum pop of I Kissed a Girl and her latest album, Witness, is a more mature sound that cements Perry firmly in her ‘serious artist’ phase. Whilst I enjoy her music, Katy Perry’s fragrant offerings have been somewhat lacklustre for me, even though some have been packaged in cat-shaped bottles (I bloody love cats), but all of that is set to change because INDI, her latest, is a massive departure from Perry’s earlier offering. INDI is an “androgynous” fragrance that comes with the tagline “be different together”. It reportedly boasts 11 types of musk and takes inspiration from Tom Ford’s Black Orchid – intrigued yet?
Just when you thought celebrity fragrances were dead, one of the hottest stars in music drops a debut fragrance. OK, so celebrity fragrances were never dead and actually, they’re seeing a bit of a resurgence and this revival of the genre is very much in the spirit of ‘we take this very seriously now in order to atone for our past trashy transgressions, OK’. I’m talking about the likes of SJP’s Stash (which could be niche, let’s face it) and even Katy Perry’s Indi, which is not your typical celebuscent either. So instead of every quasi-reality star and their cat launching a scent, real celebrities are doing it and they’re doing it rather well, which brings me nicely on to the subject of Shawn Mendes Signature.
If you don’t know Shawn Mendes (where have you been?!) he is a Canadian singer-songwriter who found fame through the social media platform Vine. At the time of writing, Mr. Mendes is 19 years old, has two platinum albums under his belt, literally millions of record sales, and if the concert I attended as part of the launch is anything to go by, lots of screaming fans. He’s also really handsome and he makes me sick. I joke, I joke! He is actually very talented (did I mention handsome?) and whilst I may have not been entirely familiar with his music before the launch I am now, and you know what? I’m feeling the Mendes vibe.
Well, if last week was an unofficial ‘collections’ week, this week is most definitely ‘celebuscent’ week. So far we’ve gagged for Gaga and been perfumed by Pharrell, and now it’s time for another star to treat us to their fragrant wares. This time it’s Barbadian songstress and provocateur, Rihanna. Now, Ri-Ri is no stranger to the world of celebrity fragrance and has, at this present moment in time, a grand total of 6 fragrances under her belt. She has clearly been very busy.
I’ll be honest and say that, whilst I’m quite familiar with Rihanna’s musical outings, I’m less au fait with her olfactory output. That said, I have heard a lot of good things about Rogue, her feminine fragrance launch from 2013 and seeing as our girl Ri has just launched the masculine counterpart to Rogue, aptly entitled Rogue Man, I thought it would be a good opportunity to give both fragrances a test drive.
Rogue was developed by perfumer Marypierre Julien (Rihanna Rebelle) and is described as being a “flirtatious and sensual oriental”. Rogue Man was penned by perfumer Frank Voekl (Le Labo Ylang 49, Marc Jacobs Daisy Dream and Oscar de la Renta Esprit d’Oscar) and reportedly “intoxicates men with a choreographed clash of fragrance notes that are both masculine and ultra-sexy”. So how do these two rebellious perfumes fair as celebuscents? Well, let’s put them to the test!
“Fragrance is paint for the nose. People who make fragrances, the air is their canvas.”
– Pharrell Williams
Is there any one person on the planet bigger than Pharrell Williams right now? I think not. He’s either produced, sang or guested on some of the biggest songs of the last few years, not to mention the fact that he’s a fashion icon with a penchant for Vivienne Westwood Buffalo hats from the ’80s and socks with no shoes. In short, Pharrell is a bit of a dude and it was only a matter of time before he branched out from music and fashion, into the world of fragrance.
Thankfully for us (us being the perfume lovers of the world), Pharrell has teamed up with the fragrance arm of unconventional fashion house Comme des Garçons to create his very first perfume. Comme des Garçons are well known for high quality fragrances that approach the art of olfaction with a distinct, and unique viewpoint, celebrating woods, incense and spices in a varied series of artistic olfactory entries. So, it would be correct to say that Mr. Williams made a sensible choice and is in very safe hands.
Pharrell’s debut fragrance is named G I R L, after his 2014 album of the same name, from which it also takes inspiration. G I R L was created by perfumers Antoine Lie (Etat Libre d’Orange’s Sécrétions Magnifiques, Rossy de Palmaand Tom of Finland) and Christian Astugeville, and is described as being “a woody scent of high quality and complex construction”. Much like Lady Gaga’s Eau de Gaga, which I reviewed earlier this week, G I R L is a most atypical celebrity fragrance that tries to defy the clichéd conventions of a tired and overexposed genre.
If there is any pop icon that has suffered badly from over exposure, it’s Lady Gaga. Bursting onto the scene, in a haze of wild couture, progressive synths and disco sticks, she has quickly gone from the wild child hailed as the new Madonna, to a spectacular fall from pop grace (let’s not talk about ARTPOP…) straight into the arms of a lacklustre jazz album. Now, I’m positive that Gaga will get back on her feet soon enough, after all she is a talented songwriter, singer and musician, not to mention a pop visionary that pushes the boundaries and champions the underdog. I have every faith in her continued success, she just needs to take some time out and reevaluate.
Anyway, on to perfume. As you will be aware, Lady Gaga released her first perfume, Fame in 2012. The fragrance launched with about as much fanfare as the singer’s career did, if not more, and it sold like hot cakes, despite the fact that, in my humble opinion it was all style over substance. A visual masterpiece but an olfactory dud, to say the least. This autumn, Gaga has launched her second fragrance, Eau de Gaga and it would be safe to say that the entire mood of the scent, and its launch has shifted somewhat. Gone are the lavish launch parties and ridiculously over the top tv campaigns, and in with a more paired back approach to vision and smell.
Eau de Gaga is billed as a unisex fragrance that has been created for “the adventurous woman and the man who loves her”, and that’s it, there appears to be absolutely no gimmicks associated with the scent – no special black liquid that sprays clear, no alleged semen note, nothing. So Eau de Gaga is just a unisex fragrance from a fresh-faced Lady Gaga who appears to be comfortable in her own skin, despite the failures or successes of her current standing as pop’s new darling.
Lady Gaga has released a teaser image shot by fashion photographer, Steven Klein for her new fragrance ‘Eau de Gaga‘. Few details have been released at present, but Gaga has stated on Twitter that the fragrance will be unisex, saying that Eau de Gaga is “inspired by the adventurous woman and the man who loves her”. Gaga further revealed that the base will contain notes of “sparkling water, lime and leather”, three ingredients that she claims to use on a daily basis.
Despite the fact that her most recent endeavours have suffered due to over-exposure, Lady Gaga is still an innovative and dynamic artist who likes to push the boundaries of pop music. Unfortunately, her debut perfume, ‘Fame‘, wasn’t anywhere near as avant-garde as Gaga would liked to have thought and in reality was nothing short of a disappointment. Let’s hope that Eau de Gaga delivers, although I cannot say that I hold out much hope…
Below the jump is an image of the rumoured bottle for Eau de Gaga.
This August, multi-platinum rap starlet and pop princess, Nicki Minaj is set to release her third pillar fragrance ‘ONIKA Nicki Minaj’. Taking its moniker from Minaj’s real name (Onika Tanya Maraj), ONIKA Nicki Minaj is a fruity floral billed as the “most seductive fragrance yet to join her [Minaj’s] striking portfolio” and is described as being “sexy and fearless [and] infused with Minaj’s personal touch”. As Minaj, herself puts it:
“ONIKA is my birth name; I want to share this personal side with my fans, empowering them to wear the fragrance and flaunt their own uniqueness. Sexiness is powerful – it is all about feeling confident, knowing who you are and loving it.”
Due to being in the throws of the worst man flu since records began (OK, this may possibly be a slight exaggeration) I am bringing this week’s perfume pic to you a day late – apologies. Despite my serious ailment, yesterday Nigel and I made a worthy attempt at finding our wedding suits for the 985th time (again, a slight exaggeration) and in our frustration, and by ‘our’ I of course mean ‘my’, we ended up perusing the fragrance hall in Debenhams.
Of course there wasn’t much of note to sniff amongst the crowded shelves but one thing that did stand out as noteworthy was the new perfume by ‘Superbass’ diva and rapper Nicki Minaj. The perfume is called ‘Minajesty’ and when I say that it is worth seeking out I do so with the disclaimer that I am solely referring to the perfume’s crazy flacon and not the fragrance itself, which is, as one would expect, your generic fruity syrup/celebrity fragrance dreck.
Celebrity fragrances (or ‘celebuscents’ as I like to call them) are so often the scorn of the perfume industry. Mainly because most are simply extra vehicles for our dear ‘celebrities’, a term which must be used loosely for a lot of the stars releasing perfumes these days, to make extra cash. After all, what’s easier than putting your name on a bottle of something you’ve had little involvement in creating?
But not all celebrities are in it for a quick buck and over the years we’ve seen a number of good celebuscents join the foray. Etat Libre d’Orange’s collaborations with the weird and wonderful Tilda Swinton and Rossy de Palma are notable examples, Madonna’s Truth or Dare was nicely done and even Britney Spears’ Fantasy has a degree of merit to it (I dare you to disagree that it is the perfect fruity floral cupcake scent). And then of course there is Dita Von Teese – the antidote to the world of naff celebrity scents and Dr. C. Perfume Boy is prescribing two big doses today.
Dita came to the rescue with her first perfume ‘Dita Von Teese‘ (sometimes referred to as ‘Femme Totale’) in 2012, a perfectly decent floral-patchouli affair that puts most of its contemporaries to shame. We shouldn’t be surprised though, as Dita is known for exuding glamour and style, and her perfumes certainly follow suit. This year sees the launch of Dita’s third and fourth perfumes – FleurTeese and Erotique, both of which show the Queen of Burlesque’s passion for fragrance