Lady Gaga Fame
Blood and semen: That's what Lady Gaga said she wanted her first fragrance to conjure when word spread in January that she would be starting a perfume company, Haus Laboratories, in collaboration with beauty behemoth Coty, which has also played olfactory godfather to the likes of Sarah Jessica Parker, Halle Berry and Jennifer Lopez. Could the agent provocateur of pop transition smoothly into scent?
WHAT IT SMELLS LIKE
Not bodily fluids – that much is clear. Sometime during development, belladonna – also known as the deadly nightshade plant – became the new inspiration. But nightshade isn't known for its odour. As a consequence, the fragrance, according to the press release, defies a conventional pyramid structure (top, middle and base notes) by employing "push-pull technology" so that essences of honey, saffron and apricot nectar mingle sans hierarchy. Sure, whatever. To my nose, Fame is a sweet and fruity concoction (I detected fizzy grapefruit and strawberries) with a deliciously trashy undertone.
Make that three: Richard Herpin, Honorine Blanc and Nathalie Lorson. Herpin can swing from hoi polloi fragrances (Celine Dion's Spring in Paris) to high-end ones (Tom Ford's Oud Wood). Blanc, meanwhile, masterminded Justin Bieber's Someday and Beyoncé's Heat Rush. Lorson, finally, has worked with several luxury brands (Bulgari, Lalique, Chopard) plus niche label Le Labo. Together, they're a hit machine.
Fame is touted as the first black eau de parfum that sprays clear. Technically, it's deep purple, but the clear claim seems true. The bottle design, conceived by Gaga and Nick Knight, looks like an alien's flask: A goldplated cap extends downward in three decoesque talons, gripping the egg-shaped flacon.
Madonna. Kidding! In the print campaign, shot by Steven Klein, miniature men in bondage garb are climbing all over Gaga's naked body. For the launch party held last month at the Guggenheim Museum in New York, she appeared inside a gargantuan bottle, apparently sleeping, while guests could reach inside and touch her hand.
WHO IT'S FOR
Her little monsters, of course. But equally for hauswives who know every word to Alejandro .
Put the fragrance in an unmarked tester bottle and no one would be batting a bejewelled eyelash. But like Stefani Germanotta herself, the scent puts on a stellar act – and it's going to make gaga-zillions.
WHERE TO BUY IT
Sephora, Shoppers Drug Mart, Pharmaprix, The Bay, Sears.
$89 for 100 ml; $59 for 50 ml; $39 for 30 ml.