Famous People Love to Sell Their Smells

Illustration for article titled Famous People Love to Sell Their Smells
Image: Ian Gavan (Getty Images)

Of all the various pots famous people have their fingers in, perhaps the most beguiling is celebrity fragrance—an area of business that most celebrities have no real reason to be involved in, yet do so repeatedly, all the time. The best part about these business endeavors is not the product itself—though Sarah Jessica Parker’s Lovely is the exception—but the launch parties, which bring together a truly random assortment of famous people and famous hangers-on to pose gamely in front of giant perfume bottles.

Senior Writer, Jezebel

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Olfactory shoulder pads

Olfactory shoulder pads

Illustration for article titled Famous People Love to Sell Their Smells
Image: Getty (Getty Images)

First up, the queen and the legend Joan Collins, promoting Scoundrel, a perfume that is exactly how Alexis Carrington smells. Per Fragrantica, this scent is probably a bit sneezy, but hey, so was Alexis Carrington.

Exaggeratedly glamorous celebrity perfumes were in fact a hallmark of the fragrance industry in the 1980s. The New York Times explained that it was a competitive market and companies were trying to stand out however they could, lured by the prospect of their very own White Diamonds:

Since Unilever introduced Passion with Elizabeth Taylor in 1987, every other major manufacturer has signed up at least one star spokesperson. After all, Passion was among the top five perfumes in 1987, selling $35 million in its first four months. As is typical with these arrangements, Ms. Taylor gets both a licensing fee for the use of her name and a percentage of sales.

Obviously, fragrance makers hope that celebrities’ fans will become loyal fragrance customers. Having a star identity also makes perfumes easier to market. Their marketing campaigns simply revolve around the star’s personality.

Alexis Carrington’s nemesis even got her own scent in 1984: Forever Krystle, by Revlon.

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“Body” “Fragrance”

“Body” “Fragrance”

Illustration for article titled Famous People Love to Sell Their Smells
Image: Evan Agostini (Getty Images)

Let’s jump ahead a few decades and delve into the heady times of the early 2000s, when Jessica Simpson was still married to Nick Lachey and legions of young women wanted to smell like cotton candy but if it were also citrus. Here the couple is looking as happy as they can at the launch of one of her 22 perfumes. Technically, this launch is not for a perfume, but for a “body fragrance”, which I think is perfume industry lingo for “Bath and Bodyworks-adjacent spray meant for teens.” If you look closely you’ll see it’s just labeled “dessert” and features a sprinkle-covered cupcake, which tracks.

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Smells like 2003

Smells like 2003

Illustration for article titled Famous People Love to Sell Their Smells
Image: Alexander Klein (Getty Images)

Paris Hilton remains relevant to a select group of dedicated fans that live for her DJ sets and also, maybe, for one of the many perfumes she’s released since she rose to dubious prominence. However, I have to appreciate the strength of this mid-2000s aesthetic, which is so strong that I can practically smell the room. I have NO idea what this dress is, but I’m sure Gigi Hadid will make her post-baby debut in something similar.

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Scratch and barf

Scratch and barf

Illustration for article titled Famous People Love to Sell Their Smells
Image: Scott Harrison (Getty Images)

I’m sorry to have to do this, but I would be remiss not to include this photo from 2004. “We are confident that men of all ages want to experience some part of Mr. Trump’s passion and taste for luxury,” said Aramis president Fabrice Weber said in a press release from the time. “People want to know him on every level.” Unfortunately, the last 15 years have done absolutely nothing to disprove that assumption.

What does Donald Trump smell like? My best guess is an unholy combination of BO, talcum powder, unwashed hair, and the sickly sweet scent of decay.

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Teenage Dreams

Teenage Dreams

Illustration for article titled Famous People Love to Sell Their Smells
Image: Graham Denholm (Getty Images)

Let’s close this out with the queen of doing too much that is never quite enough, Katy Perry, hawking... something. A scent. Her scent. These unitard catsuits? Sure!

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Senior Writer, Jezebel

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