Tag Archives: celebrity perfumes

Five Decades of #Scent Memories: National Fragrance Day 2017

quote

Dear reader, I am now in my fifth decade and due to toast the start of my sixth in 2020 when I turn 50.

To me, scent is like a Tardis. It takes you back in time so fast that you can be stepping out the Tardis door into 1976 after one whiff of Panache.  More instantly evocative than a photograph or a song,  a fragrance can whisk you back to the scent of the primary school teacher whose name you forget, but whose perfume you can recall as if a switch has been flicked in your head.

Please join me on my mini odyssey through the smell of the 70s, 80s, 90s, Noughties and Twenteens and do share your #scentmemories below.

The Smell of the 1970s.

1970s

I was born in 1970. The first ten years of my life can be summed up, at least in the olfactory sense, as a combination of cigarette smoke (not mine), the smell of a roast cooking, mud, ferns, bluebells, Woogiraffedleigh Green Apple Shampoo, Avon Pretty Peach and Avon Occur, in a giraffe shaped bottle, no less. Quite how giraffes and perfume go together, I never thought to question, but he literally had some brass neck.

My teachers wore Cacharel Anais Anais, which hasn’t changed to this day, as long as you sidestep the “Delice” version. I can’t remember what scent my mother wore, but she always smelled nice.  My grandmother wore Coty L’Aimant, which I didn’t recognise then, but which moves me to gusty sighs of melancholy  now she isn’t here.

BeFunky Collage70s home

The Smell of the 1980s.

Formative years mean a thirst to both stand out and blend in at the same time. I was groping for an identity and slowly moving into and out of adolescence. It was 1981 before I gradually weaned myself off

sindyplaying with Sindy dolls. I can still vividly recall the smell of the vinyl heads and strange nylon hair, inevitably knotted to all hell within a week of ownership.

My first ever scent that I paid for myself was a splash bottle of Bluebell perfume from Boots No 7. Long since discontinued, I have sought that bluebell scent ever since.  My mother bought me a bottle of Jontue from a trip she went on, and one Christmas I had a bottle of Cachet.  I wore this A LOT.  I also remember Avon Eau Givreé: a beautiful green hesperide that has long since been discontinued.

My teens saw me receive my first ever bottle of proper fragrance from my father for my 18th birthday. It was Estee Lauder Beautiful and I still love it now. 1988 saw me leave home at go to Exeter Uni, where the most memorable scents were Marlboro cigarettes, red wine and lashings of Cacharel LouLou.

1980s collage

Meanwhile, over in Denver Colorado, Alexis Carrington was cracking the whip.  Excess, big shoulder pads, big hair and big smells were all the rage.  On the High Street, there was the unmistakable cloud of Giorgio Beverly Hills and a miasma of Dior Poison mingled with Body Shop White Musk and Dewberry. The Nightclubs smelled of Calvin Klein Obsession, and my one little egg shaped bottle took me into the 1990s.

The Smell of the 1990s

The caring, sharing Nineties sobered everyone up and made us wear ozonic scents in an urge to cleanse ourselves of the Eighties excesses. All my friends smelled of Issey Miyake L’Eau D’Issey, which is no bad thing. I had discovered Chanel Cristalle, also a light scent that was the opposite side of the spectrum to Poison, Obsession and Giorgio. The 1990s saw me graduate and move to London, which smelled very different to Devon.  London air is thicker, dirtier and there were more cigarettes smoked and more traffic fumes, but reader, to me it was the smell of freedom and wonder and possibility.

collage 1990s

1992 saw the launch of the iconic Thierry Mugler Angel. I remember smelling it for the first time in Harrods Perfume Hall and thinking “but why would I want to smell like chocolate?” I appreciate it now of course, for the multi-faceted classic it is, but back then it was revolutionary among the ozonic and airy fairy Nineties scents. Meanwhile, in 1997, Gucci launched the now much-mourned Gucci Envy.  So good was this floral green scent with a vein of metal running through it, that I dumped Cristalle and remained almost exclusive to Gucci Envy until it was cruelly taken from us in 2007.

The Smell of The Noughties

The Noughties saw a revolution in celebrity fragrance.  Elizabeth Taylor had been churning them out since 1991, but they were largely seen as fan fodder until 2002 when Jennifer Lopez launched the brilliant Glow. It was a clean, white fragrance that pleased the crowds and began a snowball of celebrity fragrances taking off.  Britney Spears got in on it, as did many of her contemporaries and soon the perfumeries were chock full of celeb scents. Sarah Jessica Parker brought new possibilities with SJP Lovely and some of the snobbery dissipated when we realised that celebrity stuff can be pretty darn good. (I’m still a celeb scent geek)

noughties collage

The noughties also mark the only two years of my adult life where I have been without any fragrance and that’s because I had my sons during that decade.  Their first scent memory is of my skin.  No deodorant, no perfume, just me.  It wasn’t easy getting those babies, but it was worth it.

The Smell of the Twenteens

Now things really start to spice up. I started my blog on January 2nd 2013. It was a combination of an urge to write and a channel for my reawakened perfume passion. This was brought about by a lean period, during which Chanel was very much out of reach.  As a result, I developed a bit of a cheap and cheerful habit as my receipts from allbeauty.com will attest.  From that, and the three huge boxes of samples that dear Lisa Jones let me borrow, the floodgates opened.

twenteens

The biggest scent launch of the Twenteens has to be the seminal Lancome La Vie est Belle. The fruity floral explosion of the early ‘teens segued into a river of caramel and praline   Hot on its heels was YSL Black Opium , which dismayed many Opium fans, but brought a  cohort of new fans to the brand.

In recent  times, I’ve been coming across the semi-ubiquitous jasmine sambac note that  seems to be so popular right now.  You can find it in  Paco Rabanne Olympea,  Givenchy Dahlia Divin and Versace Eros. The big launch of 2017 is Mon Guerlain, and whilst it’s not my cup of tea, I do harbour hopes that it will  lead us into a big lavender  trend.

As we point in the direction of 2020, I’m looking forward to the alleged forthcoming trends of milk notes, peony and a renaissance of my favourite genre: green notes.

Interestingly, celebrity fragrance sales are on the wane, but guess what’s on the up?  Niche perfume.  Which is very good news indeedy.

4160samples

How about you?

What scents bring back instant memories for you?  It doesn’t matter how random or everyday they are, I always love to hear from you.

Follow

Top Ten Best Celebrity Fragrances

rihanna3

Celebrity perfumes are ubiquitous and since they take up such a large part of the fragrance market, it would be foolish to discount them. Some press reports state that sales are on the wane (although JLo’s total sales are estimated at over 2billion), so maybe the love affair has peaked. However, for perfume opportunists like me, this usually means a drop in prices.

Many celebrity scents I have tried are sadly the candy floss/vanilla/cupcake type and many are difficult to distinguish from one another. However, celebrity fragrances are usually very reasonably priced so if you can find a good one and you don’t care what it says on the bottle ( I don’t) then there are decent scents out there to suit every pocket. Discernment is advised, however.

I have picked my ten best celebrity scents for you. Do let me know which you like best. I always love to hear from you.

I last wrote about Celebrity Scents in 2013 and some of my favourites from three years ago are still my favourites now, but I reckon it’s worth an update. Fame is a fickle mistress.

lovely

Sarah Jessica Parker Lovely

This remains my favourite celebrity scent. Sarah Jessica Parker was involved at every stage. This was no mere sniff’n’sign off. You can read about the development of Lovely Liquid Satin in Chandler Burr’s excellent book The Perfect Scent. Lovely is widely available and very reasonably priced. I loved it so much I have a permanent 100ml bottle on my dressing table. If you like Narciso Rodriguez For Her you will probably like this too. You can buy Lovely from allbeauty.com, Boots and The Fragrance Shop.

www.styleite.com

Rhianna Rogue

I saw this in my local Lloyds Pharmacy and it was just 9.99. I sprayed generously only to find that it smells very similar to Serge Lutens Daim Blond. Who knew? You can read my review here. You can by Rogue from FragranceDirect.

www.fruugo.co.uk

Jessica Simpson Fancy Nights

With a Vegas style bottle in green and gold, this was first brought to my attention by the wonderful Australian Perfume Junkies– one of my favourite blogs. With patchouli and papyrus, it somehow ends up smelling almost identical to Prada Amber EDP. I bought mine from allbeauty.com and had change from eight quid. My review is here. 

jlopez_deseo-perfume

Jennifer Lopez Deseo

The blurb for this is that JLo was inspired by a walk through her Floridian garden at night. It has mimosa, jasmine, yuzu, bamboo and a mossy/patchouli base. It’s a light, white floral with beautiful lasting power.  My review is here. I have just treated myself to another bottle from allbeauty.com for 8.99. Gorgeous bottle too!

intimately-beckham-men

Intimately Beckham

With a name that unfortunately makes it sound like a hygiene product, this is a lovely light daytime floral that is very reasonably priced. You can read my review here. Intimately Beckham is widely available. You can buy it from The Fragrance Shop and FragranceDirect.

madonna-by-mert-alas-marcus-piggott-for-truth-or-dare-fragrance-2012-02

Madonna Truth or Dare

Madonna entered the celebrity fragrance with fashionable tardiness, but as usual, her entrance was worth waiting for.  Truth or Dare is a beautiful tuberose reminiscent of Fracas, but without quite the same depth. It’s an absolute bargain so get it while you can. My review is here. You can buy it from allbeauty.com for a mere £7.45.

liz t

Elizabeth Taylor White Diamonds

There are mixed reviews on this, but as a fan of white flowers, aldehydes and powdery oak mossy finishes, this was a hit with me. If you like the sound of it, you can buy it from ( believe it or not) Sports Direct for only £9.00 or from Fragrance Direct.

incredible taylor

Taylor Swift Incredible Things

I reviewed this recently (see link) and I was impressed.  It’s still a bit of a sweetie, but the addition of a noticeable suede note gives it a slightly different direction and I found it very long lasting too.  You can get a sample from the Perfume Society Scent With Love Discovery Box, or  a full bottle from Superdrug, or AmazonUK to name but  a few.

queenlatifah

Queen by Queen Latifah

Opening with bright citrus, and ending up as a boozy vanilla, this is  a great fragrance. Some vanilla based scent can be very cake-batter, but this is rich and boozy liqueur- and no wonder- there’s cognac notes in it! . I liked it and you can read my review here. It reminded me of Christmas. You can buy it from allbeauty.com.

dawn

Sarah Jessica Parker The Lovely Collection Dawn

Dawn is part of The Lovely Collection, made up of three scents: Dawn, Endless and Twilight. My favourite is Endless, although it’s very hard to get now. Dawn is still widely available and is beautifully light and airy. You can read my review here. With light touches of violet and herby Angelica, rounded off by a white musk finish, this is a beautiful daytime scent that represents very good value. You can buy it from allbeauty.com or AmazonUK.  It would make an ideal starter perfume for a young teen.

Follow

David and Victoria Beckham Intimately Beckham: Daywear Done Well

intimatelyb

 

I stumbled across Intimately Beckham in my local chemist today- it was on special offer and there was a tester at the till.  Otherwise I probably wouldn’t have sought this out. I had a few squirts on skin, and one on the coat sleeve for good measure (my coat sleeves always smell great even if I say so myself).

A little while later I found myself sniffing my wrist admiringly and thinking “Hmm. £9.99 eh?  Not bad at all” And it really is rather good.  Intimately Beckham is a light, pretty and feminine floral fragrance that manages to dodge several clichés.

glitters20.com
glitters20.com

It opens with refreshing bergamot and white flowers and beds down into freesia and roses.  The white flowers (including tuberose) are present but not in the foreground, making this a lightweight in a good way.  In fact I would say the emphasis is on the rose.  The base note holds its own and for a scent in this price range I was relieved to find that the finish doesn’t all cheap on me, and most refreshingly of all- no vanilla overkill.

Now vanilla in small soupcons ain’t half bad, especially in Orientals, but in my opinion, many modern launches have been bludgeoned to bits by a sledgehammer of synthetic vanilla and this has brought me to the brink of dislike.  I am therefore delighted to find no vanilla overkill and no candyfloss or cupcakes or red fruit  in Intimately Beckham For Her.

As a light, everyday floral that passes the commuter test and the office test, I recommend Intimately Beckham wholeheartedly for the bargain price of 9.95 on allbeauty.com or even more cheaply on Amazon  UK.  In the USA and Canada you can get this on Amazon.com.

Footnote

PS Just one more thing, as Colombo would say.  The use of the word Intimately should not be used in fragrance as it smacks of euphemistic feminine hygiene products. Apart from that, it’s all good. As you were.  Don’t mind me.

 

Katy Perry Killer Queen

killr queen

 

 

I’m a big fan of Katy Perry.  I love her songs, her voice and she always comes across as likeable in interviews.  She chose the name Killer Queen for her company and for this perfume after the eponymous Queen Song.  With such brilliant lyrics as “Perfume came Naturally from Paris/For cars she couldn’t care less/Fastidious and Precise” I would have put the Killer Queen in my imagination in Chanel No 19 or something haughty by Parfums Caron.

However, chacun à son gout and Ms Perry imagines this Queen in a very different way from me. Created by Laurent Le Guernec who also made the stunningly lovely Lovely by Sarah Jessica Parker, it’s hard to believe these two were made by the same nose. But I guess the lady wants what the lady wants.

Chock full of red berries and chocolate, and a flower that looks like red velvet (Celosia), Katy Perry has gone for more of a Choc’n’baroque feel. Sadly I feel that such a sweet and sticky concoction is as unwelcome on a hot day as a bowl of jam roly poly and custard, when what you really want is an icy gin and tonic.

The sweetness and sickly fruitiness begins from the first spray and the frangipani, usually welcomed by me, is like a marzipanny mess surrounded by praline, forest fruits and plums.  The Bergamot could have been good but sits out the dance looking lost. It ends in a plasticky whiff of candy that smells like my hands after peeling off one of my children’s stickier sweets.

But hey, I’m just one voice, and this stuff is very popular: I see it everywhere and it’s reasonably priced too at under 20GBP for a big bottle.

When it comes to choosing a perfume to put her name to, Katy Perry is a terrific singer.

PS I LOVE the bottle.

photo by Huffington Post
photo by Huffington Post