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.
Fume Chat Episode 05 is here and it’s a good ‘un! In our latest episode Nick and I battle some of our favourite celebrity fragrances in a duel that travels from the sublime to the ridiculous and back again. Perfumer Pia Long joins the discussion as the guest judge and brings her very own celebuscent weapon of choice. So find your blonde ambition and get ready to hit me baby one more time, because we’re going on a lovely journey through the glowing world of celebrity fragrances.
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.
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.”