Celebrity perfumes: Do you buy by association?

Celebrity perfumes: Do you buy by association?

Do you want to smell like your favourite star?

We live in a world where a celebrity endorsement can propel a brand to super-stardom: We are preoccupied with what Taylor Swift is wearing, what face cream Cate Blanchett uses and what it-bag swings on the arms of today’s A-list starlet.

But when it comes to scent, what makes us think we will enjoy the same spritz as Angelina Jolie who reportedly wears Bvlgari Black or Emma Stone who has claimed her affection for Chanel Gardenia? That’s the trouble with a celebrity perfume endorsement, it begs the question—do we actually enjoy the scent, or is this obsession by association?

Full disclosure: We do find ourselves wanting items that we probably wouldn’t have looked twice at before we saw them worn by our favourite stars. Yes, we admit it. We’re not happy about it, but we admit it.

When celebrities share their beauty secrets, we shop

The impact is even more profound when no money changes hands. Into The Gloss, for example, gets cozy with various celebrities, getting them to reveal their beauty secrets on its regular The Top Shelf feature. The stars go through their daily beauty routines, sharing products and dishing real brand names. Instead of shilling a product, this is a far more authentic endorsement. These insider beauty tell-alls get us every time.

And then along came Guerlain Mitsouko

Even if you think you are above the celebrity advertising machine (like I did), somewhere you’ll read that Anais Nin wore Guerlain Mitsouko and you’ll obsess about getting your hands on a bottle of it. At least that’s what happened to me.


I had read descriptions of Mitsouko, and even been in Guerlain shops without feeling the urge to experience it. It wasn’t until I learned that Anais Nin, Charlie Chaplin and Ingrid Bergman counted the eau among their favourites that I wanted to seek it out. And it wasn’t necessarily because I was a superfan of any of these individuals. I’ve enjoyed their work, sure, but I thought they were an intriguing mix of fragrance devotees so my curiosity was piqued. For me, the perfume seemed to come to life when associated with these stars. Mysterious, classic, enigmatic—if this was the elixir of stardom past, I wanted in.

Star power vs perfume power

When it comes to perfume, sometimes it does only take a spritz. I’m happy to report that in this case, the influence of celebrity served me well. Having got my hands on a bottle of Mitsouko, I can say it stands up to the hype both real and imagined on my part.

The perfume has notes of peach, cinnamon, jasmine, bergamot, vetiver, oakmoss and wood. It is hard to pin down—a chypre one minute, gourmand the next, and green sometimes too. At least to my nose.

I wear it at night, as a finishing touch before heading out. It is subtly sexy, but also a little strange—not everyone will appreciate the fleshy quality of this from-another-era spritz. But I like strange. Strange and mysterious, strange and voluptuous, strange and pretty wonderful.

If Mitsouko entered by consciousness when I discovered who wore it, it truly came to life when I started wearing it.

That is the power of perfume. The cream that Cate Blanchett uses is unlikely to give you the star’s luminous skin, and no miniskirt on the planet will transform your gams to those of Taylor Swift’s, but perfume is a different thing. Its power comes from within. When it resonates with your heart and soul, it is transformative. It does have the power to make you feel sexy, sultry, fun, bright and happy. Even if you’ll never be Ingrid Bergman.

Guerlain Mitsouko, $80 (50 ml), www.guerlain.com www.bloomingdales.com

Let us know, if you’ve bought or sought out a beauty product simply because you knew a certain celebrity liked it? Tweet us and tell us all about it. We love perfume stories.

PHOTO: www.morestarsthanintheheavens.com
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Alexandra Donaldson is the editorial assistant at The Whale & The Rose and a freelance writer and content creator. Although she recently took up yoga in an effort to be a healthy adult, she still binge-watches cartoons on a regular basis and dreams of running away to a cottage in the woods. She has yet to nail down her favourite perfume, but knows that it smells green, earthy and maybe a little bit spicy, but definitely not sweet.