Every fall the magazines deluge you with 80,000 new perfumes.
Fall perfume launches play a huge part in keeping the beauty industry and the magazine industry alive (those big ads with the fragrance strips pay your favorite beauty editors' salaries, you know), so they're important. But I know, I know, it can get overwhelming. That's why I've picked five -- just five! -- perfumes to look out for this fall. Yes, there are more that are fantastic, and maybe I'll write about those later (do you want me to? Let me know). But, for now, my top five picks for fall 2010.
Avon + Fergie Outspoken
Can I be honest here? I never thought I'd ever truly aspire to smell ... Fergalicious. I have nothing against Fergie or anything -- or, OK, you know what? I do! "Big Girls Don't Cry" has been MURDERING MY SOUL with it's torturous mewling from the sound systems of every CVS, nail salon and OB-GYN waiting room I've been stuck in for like two years. So, being mature like that, I was going to vindictively ignore Fergie's new scent on principle when I was reviewing perfume launches for this post. But then I read the notes: frozen blackberry, black leather and vetiver? HOT. And then I found out that it was developed by Laurent Le Guernec, this big-deal Parisian perfumer who probably cost Avon a zillion dollars and who is the genius nose behind amazing fragrances like Michael Kors Michael for Women, Marc Jacobs Splash Rain and almost a dozen of my beloved Bond No. 9 scents. That, not the probably-quite-limited creative contributions of Fergie, makes this new perfume a serious contender. (Update: I smelled it in the publicist's office. I was right. It's excellent. And only $28!)Bliss Eau de Toilette
Ummm, if there was ever an occasion to use OMFG in lieu of a more "literary" word, this would be it, because OMFG, you guys, I've only been waiting for this fragrance since THE DAY I WAS BORN. Let me explain the concept: It's a Bliss spa in a bottle, and that means it's heaven. I've been fortunate enough to visit Bliss spas in New York several times over the course of my career as a beauty editor, and even getting bikini waxes there is literally bliss. Like, you're on a table having your -- forgive me -- pubic hairs ripped out, but the atmosphere of the spa, no matter the location (all are painted with fluffy clouds -- again, heavenly) is so lovely that you don't even care. And of course, all Bliss products smell amazing. (I'm religiously, ridiculously devoted to the to-die-for Vanilla Bergamot lotion
and body scrub
.) This mood-boosting, dewy-greens-and-citrus blend has cucumber (so spa!), violet, bergamot (hooray -- Bliss does the best bergamot!), ylang ylang, and lily, and I want it so badly that I could scream. Which isn't very serene and spa-esque, but whatever -- such is the lust that all things Blissworld
inspires in me. Run, do not walk, to try this perfume.
Sex Pistols Eau de Parfum
OK, I totally get why you're apprehensive about this one. There is a whole list of reasons to be concerned, right? Number one on that list: Who wants to smell like the Sex Pistols? I mean, Johnny Rotten
? Gotcha. But this doesn't smell punk rock at all, or even cheap and fake punk rock, like something sold at Hot Topic. (In fact, it's sold at chi-chi Bergdorf Goodman's, so there.) That's because Mr. Rotten and Co. sold their name to the painfully chic French perfume house Etat Libre d'Orange
(whom I will worship always because they are behind the amazingly funniest-named perfume of all time: Putain des Palaces
, which in the queen's English means HOTEL SLUT). Like most unisex fragrances created with men who wear kilts and eyeliner in mind (ahem, Marc Jacobs Splashes), the Sex Pistols scent -- which features notes of lemon, pepper, leather and patchouli -- leans most decidedly to the feminine side. Feel free to wear it comfortably and feel very, very pretty -- and also know that you're wearing the chicest fragrance in the room. Because, sorry, sometimes it is
a contest! And you do win with this one. I promise it's the coolest. Collector's item. For real.
Gwen Stefani Harajuku Lovers Wicked Style
I was a beauty editor at Lucky when the first Harajuku Lovers perfumes came into the office, and before I even smelled them I knew just from the insanely cute packaging that they were going to be massively successful. (It helps that all of Gwen Stefani's scents are made by Coty
, the biggest and, in some ways, most prestigious fragrance house in the world. They also make scents for Calvin Klein, Balenciaga, Kate Moss, Chloé, Marc Jacobs, Vera Wang and like 90 other big-deal brands.) Remember them? The little dolls -- Love, Angel, Music, Baby -- each smelled incredible. Not particularly sophisticated, but beautifully light, clean and sweet, like shampoo with notes of sunscreen and way-subtle hints of baby powder. I loved how they smelled on my skin, and I hoarded all four scents obsessively. I was right: The Harajuku Lovers scents were colossal sellers, all four of them, and now there's a new collection, which I want very, very badly. It's called Wicked Style, and there are five perfumes, in BOBBLEHEAD DOLL bottles, with endearingly fuzzy-to-the-touch felt heads: Lil' Angel, a floral with plum, blooming lotus and satin wood; G, a fruity blend, with watermelon, apple and raspberry; Love, a vanilla floral; and Music, a woody floral with notes of juicy apple, jasmine and cedar wood. I'm sort of confused about whether all of them are new or not, but whatever. I still want everything. The collection doesn't hit stores until November, so obviously, I'm dying.
Naughty Alice by Vivienne Westwood
Oooh. I try not to be too suckered by marketing and packaging, but ooh. Naughty Alice! Like Alice in Wonderland, but sexy and wicked! Omigosh. By Vivienne Westwood! Oooh. Serendipitous fact: Not only was Vivienne Westwood a fashion muse to Gwen Stefani, she was the designer of the first Sex Pistols T-shirts and clothes, and married to the founder of the Sex Pistols, Malcolm McClaren. Clearly, punk is in this season, and I am aaaaall about it. It's not out in the United States until October, and I'm already imagining the adorable bottle (oh -- and that little blue heart and gold chain is a detachable charm bracelet; sigh) on my perfume shelf. (Yes, I have an entire perfume shelf.) It's being called a floriental, which is an admittedly mildly offensive beauty industry buzzword for a spicy, floral-spiked fragrance. This one has intriguing-sounding black rose, carnal violet and ylang-ylang, and while I don't know exactly what that's gonna smell like, I bet it's awesome and sexxxy. I can't wait. I love this one already. I love perfume, I love fall, hooray!
OK, so I left out like a million. Calvin Klein Beauty, Beyoncé HEAT, Britney Spears Radiance, Kate Spade twirl, Gucci Guilty, a rumored debut scent from Zac Posen, etc. But this was my top five list. Have you tried or are you dying to try these or any other new fragrances, and if so, what did you think?
Cat Marnell was a magazine beauty editor before becoming a beauty blogger. She collects perfume like Hollywood celebutantes collect little dogs and corny, useless boyfriends.