Paris Hilton has spawned the most imposter fragrances of any celebrity. But Britney Spears comes a close second. Festival, a 2010 knock off of Britney’s 2009 Elizabeth Arden scent Circus Fantasy is one of my favorites.
Today we celebrate the reigning Queen of Celebrity Fragrance, Elizabeth Taylor, on the occasion of her 79th birthday by making Violet Eyes our Scent of the Week. Released by Elizabeth Arden in May 2011, the perfume was inspired by Taylor’s iconic violet eyes. It’s tag line is “It begins with a look.” The bottle is a frosted mauve glass version of Taylor’s iconic Whit Diamonds, the #1 bestselling celebrity fragrance.
Top Note: Lush White Peach bursts onto the scene, causes a stir and leaves you wanting more.
Mid Notes: Jasmine Flower and Purple Rose
Dry Down: Violet Peony, Cedar Wood and Warm Amber.
A 1.7 oz fl. bottle is priced at $52
In Tayor’s own words, “ It was a great joy to create Violet Eyes with a bouquet of fragrance notes that I adore, carefully fine-tuning every aspect of it. Everything, down to the last detail, comes from my heart and my soul. I send this fragrance into the world with love…”
We send our love out to Liz, who is currently in the hospital. Get well soon!
Anne Hathaway and James Franco have careers that are oddly similar. They both had their breakthrough roles on short-lived TV series in the 1999-2000 season (Get Real and Freaks and Geeks, respectively). Both established their box office appeal in family-friendly fare (The Princess Diaries and Spiderman, respectively). Both earned Oscar nomination for performances in small indie films (Rachel Getting Marries and 127 Hours, respectively). And both are co-hosting the Oscars this year.
Another similarity: both became scent spokesmodels in 2008.
Anne Hathaway became the spokesmodel for Lancome’s Magnifique.
And James Franco became the face of Gucci by Gucci Pour Homme.
Last year, Franco also became the spokesmodel for Gucci’s followup flanker Gucci by Gucci Sport Pour Homme.
It was just announced today that Alyssa Milano is expecting her first child. That’s a good enough reason to make her our first “Scent Spokesperson of the Week.”
In 1999 Milano became the face of Candie’s new fragrances for men & women. She appeared in a commercial and two different ads — all pretty racy for the time and the target audience. The “Anywhere You Dare” campaign was rejected by such stations as WB and FOX as well as magazines including magazines Seventeen and Teen People. Their loss.
In 1983 at age 10, she landed her breakthrough role on the new sitcom “Who’s the Boss?” (1984) as Tony Danza’s saccharine sweet daughter, “Samantha Micelli”. In the 80’she also had a best-selling exercise video called Teen Steam and she released five albums that each sold over one million copies in Japan. In 1997 she joined the cast of Melrose Place for 2 seasons before leaving to star in the TV series Charmed, which ran for 8 seasons.
In the 1980’s they were called “imposters.” In the 90’s they became “impressions.” In reality, they are simply “fakes.” I like to call fake celebrity imposters “impersonators.”
One of my all time favorites is Scalewing, an impression of Mariah Carey‘s debut fragrance M. If you know Mariah, you know that she loves butterflies. Butterflies belong to the order Lepidoptera which means “scale-wing” in Latin. Hence the name of the imposter fragrance. My favorite part of this imposter is its blatant rip off of the background imagery (along with the M bottle) on the sleeve as well as using the actual butterfly on the box. Of course, the bottles are extremely similar as well.
Compare and contrast for yourself:
Best known for her role as Dr. Addison Montgomery on the ABC dramas Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice, Kate Walsh debuted her first fragrance Boyfriend on HSN in November 2011. It sold out in a matter of days (except for a rollerball and a perfume compact version).
The good news is that Boyfriend is now in stock and available in a variety of sizes and versions at Sephora stores and online.
Boyfriend capitalizes on the current fashion trend of “boyfriend” apparel: men’s jeans, shirts or jackets that look like they were borrowed and effortlessly thrown on. Withe her debut fragrance, Walsh wanted to capture the scent of a guy on a girl: a man’s cologne mixed with perfume, the smell that lingers after he’s gone.
In a interesting bit of celebrity symbiosis, actor Ryan McPartlin who plays Devon “Captain Awesome” Woodcomb on NBC’s Chuck plays Walsh’s boyfriend in a great series of promo video on Walsh’s perfume web site: www.YourBoyfriend.com. A screen cap of Partlin in the hysterically funny vid called “Boredroom” is below (though I don’t think it is his voice in other clips).
Notes: Dark Plum, Myrrh, Night Blooming Jasmine, Benzoin Tears, Skin Musk, Golden Amber, Vanilla Woods.
Price: $35 for .5 oz. eau de parfum at Sephora or HSN, where it is back in stock.
It is only appropriate that the inaugural FAME STINKS “Scent of the Week” is Lillian Russell, since it is arguably the first major celebrity fragrance. (Kate Claxton, from the Woodworth Company in 1874 seems to be the first. I will post that after doing a bit more research.)
Released in 1894 by Richard Hudnut, the perfume shown above was the namesake of Lillian Russell (Dec. 4, 1861 – June 6, 1922). Born as Helen Louise Leonard in Iowa, she was raised in Chicago. At 18 she moved to New York City and found success in vaudeville and later in the operettas of Gilbert & Sullivan. For many years, Russell was the foremost singer of operettas in America. In fact, when Alexander Graham Bell introduced long distance telephone service on May 8, 1890, Russell’s voice was the first carried over the line.
A year later, in 1895, Seely Manufacturing Company also released a Lillian Russell perfume. Bottle and 1895 ad pictured above.
Mysteries: Lightner Perfumes also supposedly released a Lillian Russell fragrance in 1910. Other sources cite Russell as launching her own perfume in 1985 as well. I will assume that the picture below, which I found at Worth Point from an eBay sale several years ago, is a different version of the Hudnut bottle…
Yet another version of the Hudnut bottle is below, courtesy of the Craig & Helen Farnsworth Collection. (Many thanks to the Farnsworth’s and to Cleopatra’s Boudoir for their invaluable assistance to me in this process. There is so little information out there — and often conflicting info — about early fragrances that every little bit helps.)
If you have any additional information or corrections, I would love to hear from you.
Here is a photo of Lillian Russell.
Reality TV star Khloe Kardashian and her baller husband Lamar Odom have launched their unisex fragrance, Unbreakable, at Perfumania. It was supposed to be in stores on February 12, but none of the stores in NYC had it that day — clerks at several stores didnt even know about it at all. On February 17, Khloe posted on her Facebook page that it was completely sold out. Regardless, you can order it now at www.kardashianfragrance.com. Perfumania clerks say that it will be on store shelves in early March.
Notes are: Italian bergamot, sparkling clementine, Asian saffron, green apple, African geranium, sheer jasmine, lily of the valley, juicy red fruits, texas cedarwood, tonka bean, vanilla bean and dark chocolate. It retails for $45 for 3.4 fl.oz.
Here is the first print ad:
And this is the commercial:
Fame Stinks is devoted to all aspects of celebrity and pop culture fragrances — news, history, marketing, sales, advertising, and much more.
In addition to actors and musicians, I also consider authors, athletes, and television personalities to be celebrities. Scents named after television shows, movies, books and plays are also included. I do not include designers or animated characters among these — there are just too many in both of those categories.
Included are celebrities that develop their own scents as well as famous faces hired as spokesmodels for fragrances. Often this line is intentionally blurry.
Anything scent-oriented is fair game: perfume, cologne, aftershave, scented candles, deodorant, body spray, air freshener, diffusers, etc.
If you have news about a new celebrity fragrance or you unearth some forgotten fragrance from days gone by I would love to hear from you. You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.