The rise of the celebrity fragrance
The rise of television, cinema and recorded music in the 20th century inadvertently gave birth to an unforeseen but incredibly powerful entity. The ‘celebrity’. The public’s obsession with celebrities was initially born out of their love for these new mediums, but their on-screen admiration was soon to turn off-screen as newspapers, magazines and television saw the selling power of these modern gods.
It wasn’t long before businesses realised the commercial potential of this new phenomenon, and soon stars were everywhere advertising cars, soft drinks and of course lending their names to their very own fragrance.
Over the last ten years licensed celebrity fragrances have exploded, with every A,B,C and Z lister vying for a place on your bedroom cabinet. Even the most obscure celeb’s can have legions of potential buyers thanks to the impact of tabloid papers and more recently social media. So let’s take a look at some of the stars who have helped to mould the industry and also check out some celebrity fragrances which might just baffle you by their very existence.
Audrey Hepburn: Back in the 1950’s Audrey Hepburn was the ultimate style icon for women everywhere, combining dazzling beauty with a magnetic persona and charming personality. Her appeal was so broad that Givenchy designed a perfume especially for her, and in turn gave the public the chance to smell like their icon. This was an early attempt at cashing in a celebrity's status.
Elizabeth Taylor: The real explosion in the world of celebrity fragrance came with the release of White Diamonds by Elizabeth Taylor. Taylor had been one of the biggest stars in Hollywood during the 1950’s and 60’s, but it was her fragrance which was to become her greatest financial success. White Diamonds struck a chord with women who had grown up watching Taylor onscreen, and since its creation White Diamonds has gone on to earn over 1 billion dollars in sales.
Britney Spears: After the 2000’s the celebrity fragrance market exploded, beginning with Britney Spears and JLo who turned their fragrance lines into multi-million dollar empires. Both stars now earn a significant proportion of their income from their fragrance lines. Another celebrity who has managed to have longevity in the fickle fragrance market is Paris Hilton, who in the early 2000’s became the poster girl for a new type of celebrity. A celebrity who is famous for being famous.
Of course if you walked up to your favourite celeb’s scent, took a whiff and were repulsed then no amount of endorsement is going to convince you otherwise. But would you have smelled it in the first place?
Now let's take a look at some of the strangest celebrity fragrances ever produced....
I don't know about you but I just don't see the words fragrance and Bruce Willis in the same sentence. Unless you have a thing for the smell of sweaty vest and machine-gun fire. Yippie ki-yay!
Quite why a multi-millionaire mogul like Donald Trump needs his own fragrance is a mystery. But easy money is easy money.
Last but not least is Alan Cumming who released his own line of fragrance and body products as a kind of joke with a friend. This shakespearean actor is surely the most unusual celeb to ever grace a fragrance. To spray or not to spray, that is the question...