Being a worldwide celebrity has both dark and light aspects to it — and with her new scent, Lady Gaga Fame, one of the world’s most famous entertainers is exploring both.
“Fame is an illusion — if you really want it, anyone can have it,” Gaga told WWD via e-mail of the concept for the fragrance.
And heaven forbid that the scent be ordinary in the least. Lady Gaga Fame, which will be released globally in late August by the artist’s Haus Laboratories and fragrance licensee Coty, is black in the bottle, but the liquid sprays clear and is invisible upon becoming airborne.
“Lady Gaga joins a legendary cast of talent for whom Coty has created scents,” said Bernd Beetz, chief executive officer of Coty Inc. “Gaga’s launch represents my personal credo brought to life....Innovate or die! Absolutely everything about this launch is innovative, from the bottle, to the juice, to the lady herself....She’s zeitgeist in a bottle.”
“She is an artist that is never satisfied with the status quo — she always has this way of challenging everybody and trying to do something more, something different,” said Renato Semerari, president of Coty Beauty. “She has her own ideas and very often they’re very interesting and challenging...really, she’s not the one who says, ‘It’s OK, let’s move on and turn the page.’ She’s always thinking, ‘Can we do more?’ This is a very stimulating partnership; and she’s pushed us with her ideas, we’ve come with our own ideas — and the combination of the two is very valuable.”
“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,” said Steve Mormoris, senior vice president of global marketing for Coty Beauty. “The soul of fame being black was the intellectual foundation of the color of the fragrance.”
Not to mention a difficult task to execute. “It was a technical challenge for our labs, but we worked with the fragrance suppliers and we ended up creating very proprietary new technology,” said Mormoris, declining to go too far into the scientific explanation.
The juice’s structure is also unusual, Mormoris said. “It’s unique because it’s not pyramidal with a top, middle and bottom note,” he said. “It has a trampoline structure — notes are rising at different rates that are quite random. Some accords will come out if you rub it, other accords will come out later. It has random propulsion and doesn’t have a classic linear drydown. We call it push-pull, and it will smell different on different people. 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.”
Lady Gaga’s requests for unconventional scents “showed me how intellectually curious she was and that she had no boundaries,” said Mormoris. “She was challenging us and herself to see what she can do that’s unique.”
Perfumers Richard Herpin, Honorine Blanc and Nathalie Lorson of Firmenich worked with Gaga to create the juice, which has three main accords: dark, sensual and light. The dark accord was inspired by belladonna, the deadly plant, and has incense; the sensual accord includes honey, saffron and apricot nectar. The light accord features crushed tiger orchid and jasmine sambac. Together, the notes read as a fruity floral focused around belladonna, said Mormoris. (Welcome news to her fans — when she announced the deal, Gaga had visions of blood and semen notes.)
“Lady Gaga talks about how her music has a sweet center and a dark shell and a lot of her music has refrains that have a rough passage that go toward a sweet-spot melody in the middle,” said Mormoris. “She referenced that a lot and we tried to capture this type of duality in the fragrance, with the incense and something sweet like apricot.
“Lady Gaga wanted an artistic fragrance,” continued Mormoris. “She’s quite poetic, she references modern art a lot and of course music, and she has a very distinct aesthetic sense, so she’s really looking for a high-quality crafted product that expresses who she is as an artist. There’s nothing commercial about it except it’s intending to be commercial, which is harder to do — but in the end, the rewards are greater.”