Worldwide sales of the top ten celebrity scent lines totaled $353.6 million last year, reports Forbes. Heading the pack as top-seller was Sean John Unforgivable, the signature scent of Sean "Diddy" Combs — with a $74.9 million in sales. Celebs, writes Lauren Sherman, team up with cosmetics companies who produce the fragrance and then "slap the star's name on the bottle." But Diddy was personally involved with his deal with Estée Lauder, stresses Diana Espino, general manager of Sean John Fragrances. He came up with a concept, tested different scents and eventually began starring in print and online ads. The deals pay off: Celebrities give the scents attention, and stars get a cut of the sales, between 5% and 10%. Jennifer Lopez's last CD and last few movies were flops, but sales of her different fragrances totaled $77 million in 2006. (She has a fifth scent set for release in February.) And even though Britney's personal life is a mess, her perfumes, Curious and Fantasy, made $84 million last year.
What's up with that? Sociologist Henrik Vejlaard says, "It takes a lot of money to make a designer perfume well-known these days. Perfumers benefit financially from names that are very famous already." Yeah, and now we have Gwen Stefani's L.A.M.B., Mariah Carey's M, Sarah Jessica Parker's Covet, Britney's Believe, Usher's Usher and Kate Moss' Kate Moss (coming to the US in 2008) to look forward to.
Although some of us totally do not get the celeb-fragrance thing (not even Liz Taylor's White Diamonds, which had $60 million in sales last year), senior beauty analyst Karen Grant says that a scent must have "winning juice" — in other words, it's gotta smell good. But seriously, what is it about celebs that moves perfume? Do people really think that the stars, aside from Paris Hilton, wear their own stuff? Does it strike you as odd that people will buy something because Diddy likes the way it smells? Does anyone else remember, that in the days of Destiny's Child, Beyoncé said she was allergic to perfume? That didn't stop her from releasing her Tommy Hilfiger-licensed scent, True Star! And with so many celebs launching their aromas on the world, what's next? Are we going to live in a world that has Eau De Hills? Eau de Heidi Montag? Please, please say it ain't so.