A lot of press releases cross our desks. We get weird makeup samples (leopard-print eye shadow stencils), countless skin creams with inflated promises to be “Botox in a bottle,” odd-smelling bath salts. Among these offerings are the perennial favorite: the perfumes. Very recently, a colleague strode into my office bearing Beyoncé’s new scent, Pulse. She presented it to me with a flourish. I rolled my eyes. Another freaking celebrity perfume.
I get it. Celebs are engaged in a constant rat race to be, and stay, relevant. I understand the pull of making a few extra (million) dollars. Why, though, do they feel the need to barrage us with scents? It seems that every celebrity, whether they rank on A or D lists, have put out a “signature perfume.” And I’ve sniffed nearly all of them, from the classics (Elizabeth Taylor’s White Diamonds, introduced way back in 1991), to the headache-inducing (Celine Dion Sensational), to the downright confusing (The Simpsons unisex fragrance?). What I have to say to the celebs who insist on putting them out: Please. Stop.
Before I waged judgment on this latest stop on the Smell Like A Celebrity ride, I decided to give B. a shot. Her songs are catchy, I think I’d like to be friends with her, maybe go yachting with her and Jay-Z sometime. I smelled it and instantly felt a headache coming on. Why did she pick this stuff, these clashing notes of pear blossom and something called Blue Curacao Accord? And then I read a bit further down the press release. She didn’t pick this stuff. In fact, she had absolutely nothing to do with the perfume, save for maybe a few tester sniffs here and there. I can imagine her approving the scent with a distracted wave of her bejeweled hand, perched on a white yacht, of course: “Yes, yes, that smells like power and seduction and money. Proceed!” So what did she have to do with it?
The packaging. Ah, so we’re now buying prettily colored cardboard from them?
What surprised me the most is that the press people didn’t seem to think twice about divulging Beyonce’s seemingly complete lack of involvement in the process, boasting that it was created by Bruno Jovanovic and Loc Dong of IFF. In fact, B.’s packaging was heralded as nothing short of creative genius:
“Resembling a luminous crystal, the tactile bottle seems otherworldly, as if encasing an as-yet-discovered, carefully guarded energy source of precious reserves. The Beyoncé Pulse holographic carton shimmers and shines in shades of blue and silver, radiating light and power, as if bursting from the edge of the universe.”
Seriously? Is this what it’s come to? At this rate, Kim Kardashian will be selling us toilet paper and claiming to have worked really hard at designing the inner cardboard tube.
So, a plea: Stop buying stupid celebrity perfumes and maybe they will go away. I have heard that some are decent (SJP’s Lovely has gotten good reviews among Philly Mag’s scent snobs), but if it’s between Jean Naté and Beyonce’s Pulse, well, you know what to choose. You may not feel like you are “impossible to ignore, combining sensuality and strength into one unique package” (as people who wear Pulse apparently are), but you’ll smell a hell of a lot better.