ARTS

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January 25, 2005

Curious about celebrity fragrances? They reek

Let's face it. Most celebrities stink—literally. Celebrity fragrance lines are giving longtime leaders such as Escada, Versace, and Lancôme a run for their money. Some celebs create their own lines, while others join the advertising campaigns of established designers. These Hollywood stars realize that they are name brands, and with the right marketing, they can be infinitely successful. Who wouldn't want to stick their name on a product and collect revenue for doing absolutely nothing?

Currently, Britney Spears, Paris Hilton, Beyoncé, Jessica Simpson, J. Lo, Celine Dion, and Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen are among the women who have ventured into the fragrance market. Additionally, Antonio Banderas, Donald Trump, and the cast of Orange County Choppers (a reality show on the Discovery Channel about a motorcycle shop) are taking a stab at success with their cologne lines. But why would we want to smell like our favorite celebs? Doesn't that seem a little stalker-like? Lucky for me, I had the opportunity to sample all of these predominantly sickening scents, thanks to Sephora and Marshall Field's.

As I made my way through the extremely bright and colorful fragrance counters, I began my sampling with Tommy Hilfiger's True Star, for which Beyoncé is the spokeswoman. It has a floral scent with "nuances of sweet pea, honeysuckle, and toasted wheat grains" (according to Tommy.com). I was quite impressed by the fresh smell, although when I went to spray a little on the complimentary scent card, I found myself covered from forehead to chin. So beware of the powerful spray (it could seriously suffocate you)!

Next, I ventured over to the display with J. Lo's fragrances—namely Glow, Still, and Miami Glow. Glow smelled like glue, Still"smelled like rotten Chinese food, and her newest, Miami Glow, was so overpoweringly coconut- and vanilla-scented that I was nauseous afterward. She must realize how horrendous her perfumes are, because she feels the need to add a cheap "bonus gift" with every purchase, consisting of either a heinous plastic ring or string bracelet (reeking of Taiwanese sweatshops). Not only are her fragrances way overpriced, but there's also a good possibility that you'll get a complimentary migraine.

After recovering from all of the J.Lo fragrances, I sampled Britney Spears' Curious. I have to point out that the bottle is very cute and old-fashioned, shaped like a blue diamond with a pump and tassel. The smell is "Louisiana magnolia, infused with vanilla-musk" (britneyspearsbeauty.com). This ended up being my favorite scent—although that's quite disturbing to me, considering the "musk" is made from deer genitals (yuck). Anyhow, I'd still say it was the best buy (at only $39.50!) for its appealing and light quality.

Jessica Simpson's edible fragrance lines, Taste and Dessert, did smell delicious, but they made my tongue go numb. I'm also not sure about the slogan: "Wear it, then share it." Sure, she has flavors like "chocolate coconut" and "fresh-baked vanilla," but I don't think I'd want to eat "a subtle bouquet of crisp green." The sales clerk mentioned that mainly 12- and 13-year-olds purchase the three types of Desserts—Dreamy, Creamy, and Juicy (okay, you can't tell me that doesn't sound overtly sexual, especially for a target audience of 12).

Rounding off the women's scents, Paris Hilton's Paris Hilton (isn't the name fitting?) has the scent of "frozen apple with mimosa blossom" (cnn.money.com). It did have a citrus aroma, but it smelled manly and was hard to get off my hands after much scrubbing. Celine Dion's Notes and Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen's One and Two were clean, soft, and refreshing at unbelievably affordable prices ($20 and $12.95, respectively).

As for the colognes, Antonio Banderas' Spirit and the fragrance from Orange County Choppers actually weren't that awful. I wasn't surprised that there was only one bottle left of Spirit. The scent was light and pleasing with a hint of lemon. I also couldn't believe how much I liked the subtle orange scent of the Orange County Choppers.

Donald Trump's cologne, on the other hand, was enough to make me gag. If success smells like he does (peppery, woodsy, and sweet all at the same time), I'm reconsidering my desire for success. His fragrance is even worse than his hair. So, guys, stick to Spirit and the Choppers fragrance unless you want women fleeing from you like you've got a flesh-eating disease.

Next time you're wandering through your local department store, take my advice and avoid the celebrity fragrance counters. Even though you may like their music or their acting, just remind yourself that there's a reason why creating fragrance lines isn't their first profession. Besides, how embarrassing would it be to say the new perfume or cologne you're wearing is from Britney, J. Lo, Paris, or, especially, "the Donald?"