The wild world of celebrity scents

Last updated 13:52 23/05/2012
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Would you wear a celebrity scent?

Yes, I already do!

Maybe, if I liked the smell.

No, I think they're tacky.

I don't wear perfume.

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It's not enough to watch their films and listen to their music; now we want to smell like them too - or at least what we think they smell like.

The celebrity perfume industry is a seriously lucrative enterprise, with more celeb perfumes on the counter now than ever.

Some critics describe them as "perfume junk food", but you can't deny their success.

Britney Spears has made 10 scents since 2004, Beyonce has six, and in 1991 Elizabeth Taylor launched the most popular of all, White Diamonds. According to Euromoniter, it made US$54 million (NZ$71 million) in 2010 alone.

But is it the smell or the celebrity that sells the product? Turns out it's both.

Virginia Lee, senior research analyst at Euromoniter, told Forbes magazine that while Taylor's scent appeals to baby boomers who associate Taylor with the glamour of her youth, the perfume also has an appealing smell.

Mark Prusher, merchandise manager of Farmers stores, agrees that it's not only the fans who buy the product.

"Perfumes that combine a strong celebrity face with a strong scent do well," he says. "[Britney Spears'] Curious wasn't just defined to the target market of Britney fans. Women in their 40s and 50s were buying it because the scent was so great." 

But people also buy celebrity perfumes without even smelling them because of the face on the product.

"Celebrity fragrances continue to increase in popularity because they allow fans to connect with celebrities on a personal level," explains Lisa Westbury, Fragrance Brand Manager for Elizabeth Arden.

"Many fans admire celebrities and jump at the chance to own something which reflects their taste and personality."  

Justin Bieber's Someday perfume recently won Celebrity Perfume of the Year at the Fifi Awards, considered the Oscars of the perfume world. Bieber's scent broke records when it made US$3 million (NZ$3.9 million) in its first three weeks at Macy's. While the sickly sweet scent is marketed towards Bieber fans, you don't have to love the celebrity in order to enjoy the perfume.

The latest celebrity perfume release on the market is the much-awaited scent by Madonna. Truth or Dare's raunchy commercial has drawn gasps of disapproval from critics for its S&M style bondage scenes. This isn't the first time a celebrity perfume has been deemed too steamy - Beyonce's ad for Heat was too sexy for daytime TV in the UK, and could only be screened at night.

Despite the raunchy ad campaign, Madonna's perfume bottle is crisp and minimalist in design and the perfume has been described as classic and elegant. The white floral fragrance features Gardenia, honeysuckle and jasmine, with hints of vanilla. Madonna's Truth or Dare is available exclusively from Farmers stores from Monday May 28.


Katy Perry's Meow: This is the second fragrance by Katy Perry, inspired by Perry's love for felines. The scent features tangerine, pear, jasmine, gardenia, lily of the valley, orange blossom, amber, sandalwood and musk.

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Rihanna's Reb'l Fleur: Defiantly sexy is the way Rihanna describes her first perfume. The Barbadian singer's scent features red berries, peach, plum, coconut water, hibiscus, tuberose, violet, patchouli, amber, musk and vanilla.

Dita Von Teese: Seriously sexy and full of mystique is what we all expect from burlesque star Dita Von Teese. The sultry scent features bulgarian rose, peony, spicy bourbon pepper and smoky wood, all packaged up in a seductive bottle with a classic black tassle. 

Justin Bieber's Someday: This best-selling perfume features mandarin, pear, berries and creamy florals in a vanilla and musk base.


Mickey Rourke: We just can't get those sweaty scenes from The Wrestler out of our heads.

Snooki: We imagine the Jersey Shore star's taste isn't our cup of tea... oh wait, she already has a perfume out.

Robert Pattinson: It's a well known fact that this is one stinky celebrity. We won't be wearing any of R Patz's personal scent, thanks.

Björk: The Icelandic singer is known for her rather outlandish taste. If she were to do a perfume, we know it would definitely be strange.

Ke$ha. We hope that the ratty singer, a fan of the post-apocalyptic hussy look, doesn't try her hand at the perfume trade any time soon. Judging by her music videos we imagine it would smell like sweaty dance clubs, engine oil, stale beer and burnt rubber.  


To celebrate the release of Madonna's new fragrance we have a Truth or Dare prize pack worth more than $200 to give away.

The pack includes the brand new Truth or Dare 50ml Eau de Parfum, Madonna's 2012 CD MDNA, her greatest hits album and a concert tour DVD. To enter email Life & Style with your name, postal address and daytime phone number.

This competition is now closed.

- Stuff


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How much makeup do you wear?

Just the basics: moisturiser, mascara, lippy.

The works: foundation, concealer, highlighter, bronzer - there's no room to list it all.

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