Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Scents and Nonsense

First and foremost, I’d like to identify myself as a perfume enthusiast and avid collector ---and by no means an expert when it comes to fragrances. I will also admit to having an elitist attitude where celebrity juice is concerned. However, these perfumes are not excluded from my fragrance library, due to my love of collecting decanters, regardless of the perfume they hold.  As for having a signature fragrance --- I don’t. My perfume wardrobe consists of a few vintage, classic, niche, and naturals. I select aromas that seduce my olfactory senses, and don’t go to war with my body chemistry.

My personal collection
During my fragrant explorations, I happened upon a perfume article that captured my attention. The topic being, the hundreds of perfumes that are launched yearly.  My enthusiasm quickly waned, when I realized there was no mention of niche or natural perfumes.  Even with the current surge of interest in these genres of perfumery. The article’s emphasis was strictly about commercial perfumes, with the focal point being celebrity fragrances. With all the chatter about celebrity scents, and the realization that if I blink twice, there’s another launching of someone’s “signature scent”. Well, I allowed my curiosity to get the better of me and continued on with the article. Yes, I surrendered; I waved my scented hankie and trudged on through the plume of celebrity stench --- peculiar mixtures of exotic fruits, flowers, bubble gum, and cotton candy.
" It's really hot. I mixed all these scents together, it smells so good." - Paris Hilton

The piece was filled with interesting tidbits about the millions of dollars spent on advertising campaigns, promotional strategies, and the occasional shrewd television commercial. Lastly, the exorbitant fees paid to celebrities to “create” and endorse products.  I could be mistaken, but I get the impression that there is little, if any participation in the creation of their signature scent --- but I will concede to hearing much inaccurate talk about The Notes, from celebutaunts during their promotional appearances.  Maybe a crash course in perfumery for dummies should be considered before starting their promotional tours.

Although the article was enlightening, it left me with numerous questions about the current celebrity scent sensation, and the shift from celebrity endorsements to celebrity creations. The most significant question being, why celebrities perceive themselves as magnificent human beings, deserving to be immortalized with a perfume? What is the appeal, why are these perfumes being purchased without a single whiff?  I realize there is this enormous fan base. but is that justification for such impulse buying? Why are star- struck consumers having to don the celebrity brands? Are these individuals under the impression that they will undergo some sort of celebrity transformation?  Are they really aspiring to be one of the irrelevant but idolized? For example, Kim, Snooki, and Paris. Undignified, and simpleminded, lacking poise and polish --- busy stroking their immature egos and using their “fame” to hawk mediocre perfumes. Their claim to fame ---- sex tapes, drugs, alcohol, and arrests. Oh, I forgot to mention, Oscar winning performances on reality shows.
Snooki's dressing table????
Celebrity endorsements are not new phenomena. Decades ago, Hollywood’s elite endorsed perfumes that they adored and actually used.  For those of us who remember Joan Crawford, she actually spritzed her body with Estee Lauder’s Youth Dew. What a concept!  Gloria Swanson enshrined Narcisse Noir in the film Sunset Boulevard. Talk about a free endorsement for the perfume house of Caron --- and from a genuine leading lady.

The classic film,  The Women
The grand dames of Hollywood were breathtakingly beautiful, oozing with sophistication and elegance, each having a unique style. Not absent of scandal, but noteworthy in their fields.  I doubt the world will be privy to drug and alcohol fueled sex reels from the starlets of yesteryear.  These glamorous women ---singers, dancers, and actresses were muses for some of the great perfume creators. Audrey Hepburn, Princess Grace, and Isadora Duncan are celebrities who were paid this immense compliment and deservingly so. With that, I pay homage to the muses of bygone times.

Audrey Hepburn