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Celebrity Scents

Everyone from A-listers to reality-TV stars wants to sell branded perfume

THE FASHION WORLD universally agreed that celebrity-endorsed fragrances would be a passing fad when they first became a thing in the early 2000s.

How long would people really want to smell like Paris Hilton or Britney Spears, established perfume houses asked? Was J-Lo, I mean (ahem) Jennifer Lopez’s perfume sense really to be trusted over Chanel, Guerlain or Hermès? Did men really think that some of David Beckham's animal magnetism would rub off on them if they wore his cologne?

Well, practically a decade later not only have star-hocked perfumes hung around, they’ve blown up into their own industry. Today, name a reality TV star, A-through-C-list celebrity, sports icon or fashion model, and one can pretty much guarantee they’ve slapped their name on a bottle of something they think smells good and sent it to market. Even Jersey Shore’s favorite guido, Mike ‘The Situation,’ has landed his own cologne deal.

As such, this summer sees the release of a number of new star scents. While some of these fame-mongering olfactory offerings have been predictably terrible (the always-ready-to-cash-in Kiss’ “Kiss Her, Kiss Him,” for example), some celebrity perfumes not only transcend their kitsch factor, they are downright good.

Take Paris Hilton’s recent 10th release, “Tease.” Say what you will about the socialite’s Valtrex-popping, St. Tropez yacht-hopping ways, but the girl (or her marketing team, at least) knows exactly what twentysomething women want to smell like.

Back in 2004, I distinctly remember hating myself for actually loving her debut release, “Paris Hilton,” when it first hit the Macy’s fragrance counter. How could the blonde embodiment of anti-feminism be a fan of the same sandalwood, ylang-ylang, frozen apple and wet ozone notes that I was? How could this entitled, famous-for-nothing sex-tape celeb create a sheer mixed floral that was light and girly but with just enough ozonic notes to make it fresh and interesting and distinctly wearable?

While Hilton’s expectedly cheesily named follow-ups (“Fairy Dust,” “Can Can,” “Siren,” etc.) have been mostly hit or miss, Tease is hands down the best offering since “Paris Hilton.”

With notes of white peach, bergamot, night blooming jasmine and Fuji apple mixing with the essence of warm sand and blond woods, “Tease” is actually a solid, modern, summery fruit floral. Despite my moral conflictions, it’s also turned into one of my favorite perfumes for summer 2010. Just don’t tell anybody.

One of the most surprising recent additions in the celeb-fragrance market is “Kim Kardashian” by Kim Kardashian. While I’d rather dive head first into a wood chipper than sit through Keeping Up With the Kardashians, it was pleasantly surprising to see a celeb go for a big, balls-to-the-wall white floral right out of the gate, as apposed to releasing another red berry–dominated fruity-floral onto the market.

No cupcakes or peachy spices here, “Kim Kardashian” delivers tons of rich, creamy gardenia, vanilla orchid, musk and tuberose. It’s pretty original for a celeb-perfume, but it’s also a hard-core, extremely heavy scent, so buyers should make sure they want to smell like a gardenia bush for the next three hours before they spritz.

Even Bruce Willis has jumped on the cologne bandwagon this summer with, you guessed it, “Bruce Willis.” This hilariously tritely bottled concoction (the container features rivets and a nameplate, how very John McClane of him) of spicy pepper, orange and geranium leaves has an ad campaign that promises “Smart guys live forever. Just like Bruce Willis.” Right.

Other celebrity fragrances that are due to hit stores this summer include “Chic” by Celine Dion, “Lollipop Bling” by Mariah Carey, “Instinct Ice” by David Beckham, “Fancy Nights” by Jessica Simpson, “Adora” by Kat Von D, “Radiance” by Britney Spears, and for the mature ladies out there, “Violet Eyes” by Elizabeth Taylor.

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