FAME & THE CULTURE OF CELEBRITY FRAGRANCES

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I’m going to start this post by mentioning that I myself own a few celebrity fragrances. I have to admit that only one was purchased because of the actual aroma and not the name endorsing it. That fragrance was DVB by Victoria Beckham. There, now that’s been said I can continue… I own ‘L’ by Gwen Stefani and her first set of four Harajuku Lovers fragrances , although I have to admit I wouldn’t have purchased them if it wasn’t for the fact that I would buy anything with Gwen Stefani’s name on it. Plus, the bottles are quite possibly the cutest things you will ever set your eyes on (see above)… But that still doesn’t refrain from the fact that the actual scents of them are… well to quote Janice Ian from Mean Girls, I would describe myself as smelling like “a baby prostitute”, but that is just my nose, for you they may be delightful.
Harajuku cuteness aside, let’s just say I have not and will not, repurchase any of these perfumes. As I said before, I do own a few celebrity perfumes and only one was bought for the scent.

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The most recent fragrance I purchased was FAME by the one-and-only Lady Gaga. Now if you don’t know this already, I love Lady Gaga. Love love love. Love love. So naturally I was excited when it was announced over a year ago that she would be collaborating with fragrance giant COTY to produce a scent of her own. A lot of hype was built up around said fragrance, in part because the Lady herself stated that she wanted it to smell like blood and semen… I’ll let you make you’re own mind up about that. So after a long time of waiting in anticipation (any die-hard Little Monster will be well-accustomed to this), in which time the fragrance would be sent to manufacturers and repealed three times because Gaga wasn’t happy with it, it was release day for FAME. In true Lady Gaga style, this fragrance isn’t just your average DKNY-esque, blend into the background fragrance. First off, the actual fragrance is black. The liquid, according to the smart guys at ‘Haus Laboratories’ is: “First of its kind, this perfume is an innovation of fluid technology. It’s black like the soul of fame, but invisible once airborne.” Trust Lady Gaga to create a black fluid that turns clear. I’ll get into the smell of it in a moment… I want to talk about the bottle.

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Designed by Nick Knight, it looks like a grenade. It really does. Ironically enough, the actual glass bottle reminds me of an old Hollywood glam movie star. The cap however, is where the creative big-wigs come in. Personally it reminds me of one of those mechanical grabber-things inside those machines that you used to nag and nag your parents for at the fair. The cap is like a gold, more glamorous version of that. And I love it. For me, the best part of the fragrance is the bottle, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing because I really, really like the bottle.
Now for the actual scent. According to the Haus Laboratories it is: “Tears of Belladonna, crushed heart of Tiger Orchidea, with a black veil of incense, pulverised apricot and the combinative essences of saffron and honey drops.” Got that? Basically it’s a sweet smell with darker, spicier undertones. And that is exactly what it is. For me, after all the hype and the deliciously glam bottle, the scent is underwhelming, certainly doesn’t match the fierceness of the bottle, but it is still a nice, wearable fragrance.
As someone who is not a big perfume wearer, (mostly because I find it to be too expensive to keep up!) it struck me that I have fallen into the marketing trap of celebrity fragrances a few times over and it got me thinking about the origins of celebrity fragrances. Almost everybody in the transcendent world of “celebrity” has a fragrance or a whole line thereof. Ones that currently spring to mind are Britney Spears, JLO, Kylie Minogue, Justin Bieber, Katy Perry, BeyoncĂ© and Madonna. There are hundreds more of which I’m sure you are already aware which would mean I would be wasting my time listing them here. After a swift Google session, I was surprised to learn (It’s AMAZING what Google can teach you) that the first ever celebrity fragrance came from socialite Tabe Slioor in Finland in 1963. After that, Elizabeth Taylor released one in 1991 and the rest is history. Taylor’s one however apparently smells like “a stale old lady’s perfume” so I guess the trend for mediocre-smelling celebrity fragrances has been followed for some time…
As I said before, I am not a big perfume wearer. If I like a smell, I like it, if I don’t, I don’t. Simple. I personally don’t like all Chanel perfumes and love all of Roberto Cavalli’s. Don’t even get me started on Roberto Cavalli. I could drown in his ‘Serpentine’ fragrance and not mind because the scent is literally to die for.

So I’ve come to the conclusion that a scent is a scent, a bottle is a bottle and a name is a name. I don’t think there will be a time when all three factors will match up and become the most “perfect” celebrity fragrance. Having said that, I am so relieved (but also paradoxically disappointed) that Lady Gaga’s scent does not in fact smell of blood and semen.

Do you have any celebrity fragrances that you love/hate? Or any that you just bought for the name or the bottle?

WHAT PERSONAL STYLE MEANS TO ME.

Personal style, style personal.
I am under the agreement with myself that style is a personal thing, a personal freedom that cannot be denied or scrutinised by someone else. One of my pet-hates (I have quite a few pet-hates which you’ll gather by the time you’ve read a few of my blog posts) is when you flick through one of those god-awful “celebrity trash mags” (which is also another pet-hate of mine) and they’ll no doubt be a page called “Who wore it better?” or along the same lines. Most of the time, they are comparing two people such as (for the purpose of the argument) Vanessa Hudgens and Kourtney Kardashian. Two attractive, young, slim, successful, rich, pampered and spoilt celebrities that have everything in the whole wide world at their fingertips, and now they are being subjected to somebody judging their outfit and comparing them to some other just as rich and beautiful celebrity. Not that I’m saying I feel sorry for them, because I don’t. I just feel slightly violated and judged when I come across pages like that or “Sack the Stylist” or “What Were You Thinking?!”. Why should anybody be judged by their outfit? Famous or not, I think everyone should have a right to dress exactly as they please without some bored nobody telling them they look hideous.

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So back to the point of personal style. For me, I would describe somebody with amazing style as someone who instigates trends rather than follows them. I personally think there is a craft to styling yourself. Anybody can look at the runway shows in September and predict what will be in the stores for Spring the following year. It is the people that start those trends, that are the true fashionistas. And by the trend instigators, I do not mean the Karl Lagerfeld’s and the Isabel Marant’s of the world. I mean the people, things, places that inspire them to create their coveted collections. Without the individuality of some unique and eccentric beings, we wouldn’t even have the clothes that we are currently wearing or being bought from places like Topshop and River Island.

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And don’t even get me started on Topshop and River Island. I despise them, and shops of the like. And that’s not to say I don’t go in them or buy their clothes, because I do. I just strongly believe they are the bane of the fashion world and an insult to those of the truly fashionable kind. I believe they are nothing more than a money-making scheme, selling clothes that aren’t particularly substantial enough to class as “fashion”, and it works! It certainly worked on me. Just because you buy your clothes from Topshop, doesn’t make you unique or different or even fashionable. It just makes you the same as everyone else. Think of the amount of people that have that top you bought from Topshop the other day. Or the dress. Or those shoes. What’s funny is one of the biggest fashion faux pas’ is being in the same room or something with somebody wearing the same thing as you, but if you buy your clothes from River Island, what do you expect?!

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I live in a place where individuality is not particularly expressed or even really encouraged. Because it’s such a small town, everybody seems to know someone who knows you and it can get extremely tedious and annoying. When I was 14, I came downstairs with red lipstick on and my grandad found this to be such a major thing. Red lipstick. So anyway, he went down to the pub and this was such a big deal that he told everybody there that I had red lipstick on. Now to me, this is no big deal whatsoever, just as mundane as someone wearing shoes, however this is also the pub that I work at. So I went to work on the next Friday and my second cousin who owns the pub came up to me and the first thing he said to be was “so I hear you were wearing red lipstick”, ERM, YEAH?! What’s your point?! They were acting as if I walked out of my house naked with a green afro. Not that there’s even anything wrong with that!!
Ever since I was little my parents used to take me to Camden Market (I say ‘used’ to, I still go, I just usually take myself). If you’ve never been to Camden, it’s a place where having eclectic style is the norm and most probably, blue jeans in Camden would be as hard to find as blue jeans in Lady Gaga’s wardrobe. So this place I used to LOVE to visit, just for all the different sights, different expressions of individuality and styles, and I still love to go there. For me, Camden Market is the epitome of personal style and I advise any budding (or established) fashion designer, stylist, makeup artist, photographer, journalist or whatever you do, to visit Camden just once. Because I guarantee if you go once, you’ll want to go again.

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So in reality, individuality is the way forward, not following trends or buying out Topshop. I think personal style is a personal journey, an evolution of you shown through your clothes. Like I said: personal style, style personal.

TRUTH OR DARE? FOOTWEAR BY MADONNA

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I suppose I could be slated for being a bit of a hypocrite, because this blog post is praising something which I am usually wholeheartedly against… Celebrity- endorsed fashion lines. Madonna and her creative director Arianne Philips have teamed up with the Aldo Group Inc to design a new range of shoes set to be launched for Fall 2012. Now, it usually makes my fashion brain ache when I hear that a celebrity has come out with some sort of line of clothing that they “designed”, and don’t get me wrong, I’m sure Madonna didn’t exactly sit down and sketch for hours on end. However, I do have a lot of respect for Madonna and typically jump to her defence at the drop of a hat.
Having recently teamed up with Dolce & Gabbana to launch her own range of sunglasses with them and launched her Material Girl Collection with her daughter Lourdes, it seems Madonna may have caught the design bug.
So back to the shoes themselves, with print adverts being due to be released next month with Madonna herself featuring in them, and plans for herself and her dancers to wear modified versions on her new World Tour, there is no doubt that these shoes will be promoted to within an inch of their lives.
With prices ranging from $89 to $349, they are, I would say, the perfect price range for somebody who is trying to prove herself as a legitimate designer and not just a cash cow. Well okay, maybe not. Anyway, there are apparently over 60 styles available in the range including flats, heels, booties and Madonna’s ever-present and trusty over-the-knee boots.
With all this excitement buzzing around the shoes and the perfume she’s also releasing with the name ‘Truth or Dare?’ I sure can’t wait to see the rest of the line!
As well as shoes, there are currently plans to launch a range of intimates later this year and legwear and accessories in 2013! All hail the queen!