Don't call it a comeback: Fresh on the heels of the launch of Britney Spears' Believe fragrance comes word of yet another—Hidden Fantasy, which will be in stores in January. According to the perfumer, Rodrigo Flores-Roux, “The original inspiration for this fragrance comes from Britney’s love for white florals, vanilla, and luscious desserts. Drawing from a cherished memory of my own, I built this fragrance with a heart of sensual jasmine and sweet Napolitano cake.”
Indeed, Hidden Fantasy ($55 for 3.3 oz) is a very saccharine scent, with discernible notes of Mexican vanilla bean, orange and clove. If you like the singer's other fragrances, you'll probably appreciate that it smells a little more grown-up than her previous scents. Which is not to say it's sophisticated by any means, but a true Britney fan will not be disappointed.
Although Britney Spears may not be making the best choices in her personal life, she sure hasn't skipped a beat when it comes to her fragrances. It seems like just yesterday that believe launched, and now we are already seeing something new from her. However, let's be clear about one thing. This "new" scent, Curious Heart ($49.50), isn't really new — it's a limited-edition version of her older juice Curious, with a tattoo-inspired bottle and a modified name.
Here's the gimmick: When you purchase a bottle, you receive a membership card which directs you to the website. There, you enter a password to become eligible to win various prizes each month. I'd say that's some pretty clever marketing from Britney's people — especially throwing the word "heart" in the title right before Valentine's Day. But with her personal life in disarray, I keep wondering whether this is enough to pique shoppers' curiosity.
- There's big bucks in this business. Euromonitor International, a Chicago-based market research firm, reports that worldwide sales of the top seven celebrity scent lines—just the top seven!—totaled $353.6 million last year.
- Diddy's sitting pretty. A lot of you find his Unforgivable ads cheesy, but the scent is doing just fine. Last year, it did $74.9 million in sales.
- Inside the contract: Fragrance companies such as Coty and Elizabeth Arden produce and develop the fragrance, then the star's name goes on the bottle. Contract details are kept private, but the industry standard is to give the celeb 5–10% of sales, with a possible signing bonus.
- Jennifer Lopez has made many cents out of scents. Forbes writes: "In 2006, Lopez's net worth was about $110 million, according to Forbes' list of the 20 richest women in entertainment—but her last CD was a flop, as were her last several movies. Sales of her fragrances, including Glow and Live Luxe, totaled $77 million in 2006."
What I'd really like to know—and what the story doesn't reveal, unfortunately—is the extent to which celebrities are involved in creating their scents. I've heard that Hilary Duff had a lot of input and feedback on hers, and I can see Gwen Stefani knowing what she wanted for L. Somehow, though, I'm not convinced that Britney Spears was actively involved in making Believe—at least, not with all of her personal drama this year.
Most of you said you're tired of celebrity fragrances, and, well, I'm feeling overwhelmed by them, too. While some, like Covet by Sarah Jessica Parker, are created with a lot of input from the star in question, others seem to be patched together with little or no input. I could be way off-base here, but I have a feeling Britney's new fragrance, Believe, falls into the latter category. Considering her odd behavior this year, I find it hard to, er, believe, that she's had the time to be deeply involved in Believe's development.
Still, the scent is expected to do at least $10 million in US sales during its first year, and WWD reports on its fragrant notes:
The scent, by International Flavors and Fragrances, has top notes of guava pulp and golden tangerine; a heart of honeysuckle and linden blossom, and a drydown of patchouli aura, sensual amber and pink pralines.
WWD says that Believe is "arguably the most sophisticated" of Britney's fragrances, but those notes sound pretty sugary and young to me. And the packaging, while more grown-up than the looks of Curious and Fantasy, is still more girly than womanly. Believe ($38–$58) launches in October, but if you pre-order online, yours will ship earlier.
I can barely keep up with all the celebrity fragrances this fall: There's Sarah Jessica Parker Covet, M by Mariah Carey, Britney Spears Believe, Christina Aguilera, Intimately Beckham and Paris Hilton Can Can—to name just a few. Soon, we'll also have new scents from Daisy Fuentes, Kylie Minogue, Naomi Campbell, Celine Dion, Kate Moss, Carmen Electra, Jessica Simpson and Paula Abdul. (And let's not forget Antonio Banderas for the guys!)
Some commenters have said they're sick of celebrity scents, but someone's buying them. Are you excited about these fragrances, or are you over it?