Monday, August 04, 2014

Celebrity Perfumes- Top Picks


Celebrity perfumes. Yes, seriously, and no- nothing to do with the 1987 ad for Dynasty perfumes (Carrington and Forever Krystle). Celebrity perfumes today are usually little more than slapping a famous name on a cheap formula out of a catalog, one that is supposed to appeal to a large chunk of said celeb's fan base. Since I assume that most readers of this blog are not likely to be One Direction or Justin Bieber fans, it's safe to say that we're not exactly the target consumer and the products were not designed to entice us. But here and there you can actually find a gem among them, and occasionally (fine: rarely) there's actually a celebrity who participates in the creative process and the results can be really really good.

I'm not claiming to be an expert on celebrity fragrances. I readily admit that I never sniffed more than one or two Paris Hilton perfumes, and I've never bothered with any of the masculines (Donald Trump, Jay Z, Sean John, Antonio Banderas). A couple of the one I'm listing here have been discontinued for a very long time. Still, they're worth seeking out and trying. One last thing: what I consider "celebrity perfume" is a fragrance that was deliberately created as part of a living celeb's personal brand. Thus, Tilda is in and Josephine Baker is out, and I'm not including perfumes that were fronted by a celebrity as a spokesperson (Revlon Scoundrel ads featured Joan Collins, Brad Pitt for Chanel No.5 or Charlize Theron for J'adore).

In no particular order:


  • Catherine Deneuve- Deneuve. This glorious green floral chypre was the result of a collaboration between Catherine Deneuve and Avon, an odd marriage that never succeeded commercially, to the utter heartbreak for those of us who love this mostly extinct style of perfumery.
  • Cher- Uninhibited. As expected, the perfume was larger than life in an attention grabbing bottle and an 80s feel. The sillage lasts to this day.
  • Etat Libre d'Orange and Tilda Swinton- Like This. Pumpkin and immortelle, sex appeal, and comfort. As good as Tilda herself.
  • Sarah Jessica Parker- Covet. This was a complete flop. The unique combination of green notes, chocolate, and lavender didn't seat well with the general public, and the utterly unisex with masculine leanings juice was a bad fit for the girly bottle.
  • Kate Walsh- Boyfriend. A fuzzy and cuddly skin and cashmere scent. It's officially discontinued now but incredibly easy to find online.
  • Jennifer Lopez- Miami Glow. Originally this was a limited edition summer flanker of the perennial J.Lo Glow. But the beachy coconut-vanilla-musk became a cult favorite and was brought back. It's a cheap thrill that's fun and easy to wear in the summer.
  • Hilary Duff- With Love. Speaking of cheap thrills, it's hard to remember that Hilary Duff was a mega celeb once. I don't know how well this spicy woody and rather gender-neutral did on the shelves, but nowadays you can find a bottle for under $20 (and sometimes under $10). Nevertheless, it's a gem.
  • CB I Hate Perfume & Alan Cumming- Second Cumming. Fire, scotch, leather, and probably some unmentionables. You shouldn't expect any less from Cumming and Brosius.
  • Elizabeth & James- Nirvana Black. The Olsen Twins released this creamy woody almost incensy little thing under one of their fashion labels. For those who remember the first Mary-Kate & Ashley perfumes on all their lollipop glory this couldn't be a bigger surprise.
  • Givenchy- L'Interdit. Hubert de Givenchy commissioned this soft floral perfume for his friend and muse Audrey Hepburn, making this literally a celebrity scent: a fragrance made for the actress according to her taste and wishes. Initially Hepburn forbade Givenchy  from releasing it commercially, but eventually  relented and even  agreed to appear in advertisements. 

What am I missing? Is there a Paris Hilton or a Snooki perfume I need to try?

22 comments:

  1. i have heard great things about the mary kate and ashley. i happen to like quite a few celeb perfumes, including taylor swift and katy perry. i might not like their music, but they sure smell good :)

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  2. I wanted so much to like the Hilary Duff thing, because spicy woody is right up my alley, but every single time I wore it I got a blinding headache.

    I'm surprised to hear that the Kate Walsh was discontinued. A professional nose was quoted in Allure as saying that if you tested it blind, you'd mistake it for a Tom Ford perfume, and I agree. As an aside, I could swear I saw the flanker (Billionaire Boyfriend) in my local Sephora the last time I was there. I think that's the one that should have been discontinued.

    While I'm thinking about this, why doesn't Martha Stewart have a perfume contract?

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  3. I have never bought a celebrity perfume, but the ones I’ve liked best are the Jennifer Lopez ones, especially Deseo and the Sean John Unforgivable for women was lovely too. I’ve heard people like the Rihanna perfumes too, but they are not for me. Too sweet and fruity. BTW I really love your blog x

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  4. I adore Deneauve and Uninhibited, wish I could find more bottles to stash away. I also loved Sarah J. Parker's Lovely, wore it frequently when it was first released - it actually garnered many complements.

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  5. The thought of sniffing a celeb perfume has never occurred to me. Not through any kind of snobbery; I have just never thought to do it. The Elizabeth and James sounds intriguing.

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  6. Queen Latifah's Queen is a sweet, boozy tangerine that manages to be interesting and not cloying.

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  7. Omar Sharif Pour Femme - a dark rose masterpiece. Deneuve is divine though, truly.

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  8. SJP Lovely is quite wearable, like a softer NR for her, and Fancy Nights by Jessica Simpson is like Coromandels slightly trashier sister :)
    No White Diamonds? :)
    -Lynley

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  9. I like Covet, I have a bottle somewhere. And I got Cher's Uninhibited on eBay - it's quite something, but very much of it's time.
    Recently I quite liked, of all things, Kim Kardashian's Pure Honey. Maybe it's the mandarin.... it's not subtle, but it's pretty.

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  10. I like Covet, too. It seems to me that it's the unconventional fragrance SJP originally pitched to Coty, as described in Chandler Burr's book... and I regret that it didn't do well, as it really is very original.

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    Replies
    1. I also liked Covet and have 2 bottles at home. I am really surprised it did not do well as it is a sweet, lovely, wearable fragrance.

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  11. I rather like Adam Levine For Her, or as I like to call it, Lady Levine. It's a cozy wood-saffron and a good winter scent. Only sniffed the masculine version once or twice, but it didn't seem bad either...AnnieA

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  12. Alain Delon's Lyra...

    Illdone

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  13. I actually like Covet by Sarah Jessica Parker. It is somewhat like Lovely but slightly sweeter. I am surprised it flopped. Don't laugh but I also liked Elizabeth Taylor's Passion however, it depends on who wears it. On some women it smells amazing and on others, putrid.

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  14. I actually really liked Beyoncé Heat. I don't know what it is...but reminds me of a steamy hot spa or something. Doesn't last very long on me though :(
    Other than the original JLo glow, which the hubs lovingly called "toilet water" her other fragrances are really nice! I was rather surprised

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  15. Only by Julio Iglesias (quite charming) and Spectacular by Joan Collins (a civet bomb). I've never tried any Gabriela Sabatini's but she was quite the queen of celebrity fragrances in her day.

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  16. You know what's sad? For half a heart-beat I got really excited that there was a Nirvana fragrance, until I realized we were talking about Mary-Kate and Ashley, not Kurt Cobain et al.

    I guess Aftelier Ancient Resins doesn't count? (Not part of Cohen's "brand" ... )

    I was told Dita's perfume is good, but my source was a civilian, so questionable ;)

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  17. Cher's Uninhibited is the worst scent on the planet-- bar none. I can still remember what it smells like even now, many years later. I don't know what that top note is , but whatever it is, it makes me what to hurl! P.S. I think the scent by Madonna smells like a lesser Fracas. Does anyone else agree?

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  18. Deneuve. I miss it.

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  19. Stephanie - for Princess Stephanie of Monaco. When I wore it, it was by Bourjois (basenotes now lists it as "by Stephanie of Monaco", so maybe you can pick it up on a trip to Monaco?) - one of the best, spiciest oriental fragrances ever, without being overly warm or cuddly (but then the Princess is hardly warm and cuddly herself). I miss it.

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  20. Just because I thought it was so odd, I'll mention Herb Alpert's "Listen." I got a mini in a random ebay lot, and it had a fruit note that was not bad, considering I don't like fruit perfume. I don't remember it otherwise, but I learned that Mr. Alpert was very serious about studying perfume composition, which I thought was endearing.
    Kathy

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