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Little Monster will be well-accustomed to this), in which time the fragrance would be sent to manufacturers and repealed three times because Gaga wasn’t happy with it, it was release day for FAME.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?

PHOTOGRAPHY PHILOSOPHY – NICK KNIGHT’S PLASTIC CUP.

Okay, so this feature I’ve named “Photography Philosophy” was supposed to be a feature that I would post every Friday. However I was extremely busy yesterday and didn’t get round to posting. Just as well really as the decision for which photograph to post proved a difficult one. For me personally, photography is a key part (if not THE most important aspect) of the fashion industry. Without famed photographers such as Nick Knight (Which I will later talk about) Patrick Demarchelier, Mario Testino and Annie Leibovitz, we would see fashion in the same way as we do today.
Although my interest in photography lies mainly in the area of fashion, the photo I will “philosophically” analyse is one of Nick Knight’s phenominally minimalistic frames which he took for the Natural History Museum in London, 1993. The photo in question is simply of a plastic cup, which for many is simply “just a plastic cup”. But from a photography/philosophical perspective, the object in question is more than just a white, sort-of-cylindrical object which enables us to (cheaply, I might add) drink out of. It is a symbol.
For me personally, the cup personifies us as a greedy-western-world-humanity that takes the simple things in life for granted. It signifies the way in which we brush off the more meaningful aspects of people and materialistic objects. A plastic cup is something that we all recognise as a cheap, easily-disposable, doesn’t-matter-if-it-breaks object that can be replaced with a “drop of a hat”, “click of the fingers” etc etc. However, the lonesome cup represents the fact that we are ironically alone in our materialistic ways. You may think that I’m just going on about “just a plastic cup”, but in all honesty, think about all the disposable things we have in our everyday lives, all the things that can be replaced. If you took all of those things out of your home, room, wherever they may be kept, what would you have left? I’m not just talking about shoes and handbags. I’m talking about cars, houses, photographs. We take such things for granted. If we’d never had plastic cups in the first place, there would be something else in its place that would be just as disposable.
Sadly, we live in a disposable world. This we cannot deny. Taking things for granted has become a habit. Something that we are not conscious of, but everyone does, whether we feel guilty or not after we realise the fact is down to personal conscience.
Am I saying that everyone should get rid of everything they own and live a life in poverty? No. Am I saying that I don’t take anything for granted? No. Am I saying that we should live our lives happier, thinking about how lucky we are? Yes.

Some people say that fashion is a frivolous topic. It’s not frivolous, it’s fabulous.