Leave it to Lady Gaga to dedicate her debut perfume to fame, paint it black and spike it with the essence of the deadly plant belladonna. “Fame is an illusion; if you really want it, anyone can have it,” Lady Gaga explained to WWD, who published an insightful article today on the widely anticipated fragrance. Her scent Fame, due to hit shelves in late August, possesses sensual qualities meant to reflect the surreal world of illusion. Like all things Gaga-generated, it is vividly strange – and expected to do extremely well.
“It is the first-ever black eau de parfum and we use language like ‘black like the soul of fame but invisible once airborne,’ which makes the fragrance an allusion to the dark side of fame, the price of fame and the narcissism of fame,” Steve Mormoris, senior vice president of global marketing for Coty Beauty, tells WWD. He also noted that characterizing the essence of fame as black formed the “intellectual foundation” for the fragrance.
Though Fame is seemingly the first mass-market (but “not commercial”) fragrance to utilize black water technology, it’s a sci-fi concept that’s been explored before. Serge Lutens released the darkly romantic Sarrasins in 2007. In 2008, avant-garde British designers Boudicca released Wode, an experimental scent with a poisonous blue hue that explored similar “vanishing ink” properties. Given Gaga’s love for iconoclastic fashion and beauty, it wouldn’t be a stretch to imagine she was aware of Wode and its surrounding hype. In any case, this is one brave step for the world of celebrity-endorsed scents.
Also notable is Fame’s unorthodox combination of notes; it may not recreate the essence of “blood and semen,” as Gaga originally envisioned, but it’s still a bit scary in evoking the fatal belladonna plant. It contains dark, sensual and light accords; the dark mimics belladonna but contains incense, the sensual includes honey, saffron and apricot nectar hues, and the light is a heady mix of crushed tiger orchid and jasmine sambac. “There is a different volatility for different notes, and they’re of differing strengths. They work together harmoniously, but then they undergo metamorphosis on the skin, so you’re constantly surprised,” Mormoris explains. In other words, it is as unpredictable as fame’s trajectory.
Fame, which will be sold primarily in a dramatic dome-shaped bottle with claws (the Nick Knight-designed “Ultimate Masterpiece”) — and in ancillary eau de toilettes, roll-ons, soaps and lotions — is expected to be enormously successful, with the possibility of crushing Justin Bieber’s current grasp on the celebrity fragrance sector. According to WWD, industry sources estimate that the scent may reach global sales of $100 million in its first year, with at least 30 percent coming from U.S. sales. Gaga has reportedly also been guaranteed at least $15 million in royalties in a three- to five-year deal.
Expect a unique Fame ad campaign and video promo to hit media outlets next month. A New York launch for the fragrance is planned at the Guggenheim Museum during New York Fashion Week.