Saturday, 27 October 2012

Lady Gaga Fame Eau de Parfum (review)


Lady Gaga Fame Eau de Parfum

If you have even the faintest interest in fragrances you've probably heard something about Lady Gaga's first perfume, Fame. Perhaps you read that it will contain blood and semen? Just a little, she assured us. The scent was also going to be made with her own D.N.A. so we can spritz a little piece of her onto our skin. It might even kill us because it contains an extract from poisonous deadly nightshade Belladonna! How exciting! Lady Gaga later went on to say that Fame would smell like an expensive hooker, which is obviously how everyone wants to smell...

It's all a load of rubbish.


Fame is little more than a moderately sweet floral like many other celebrity fragrances. It's made up of three accords – designed to develop at the same time, which is known as push-pull technology, instead of the more familiar hierarchy set-up – which are dark, sensual and light. The dark accord is inspired by Belladonna (i.e. not an actual extract), the sensual notes are honey, saffron and apricot nectar with the floral light accord made up of crushed Tiger Orchid, and a “black veil” of incense.

Some of you might be disappointed that you won't be able to spray yourself with semen or entice hot vampires with blood (hello, Alexander Skarsgård!), but others might be relieved. In all honesty, this isn't a bad fragrance; it's just not a great one. Fame has a bold but not overpowering range of notes which really do all seem to make themselves known at once. As it warms on the skin there is, perhaps, a hint of spice that doesn't make itself known straight away, but Coty – the manufacturers of this scent, not Haus Laboratories as the box suggests – say that it will develop differently on everybody. The honey and apricot nectar are the stand out notes for me, making this quite a bit sweeter than I was expecting, and the orchid note is present and correct adding a tiny bit of sophistication to the perfume.  It is not, however, a very pretty scent.

So, Fame isn't anywhere near as controversial or unusual as I, and many others, were expecting. However, other than the push-pull technology – which actually works pretty well – there's the black-to-clear formula. The transparent bottle shows Fame's 'Black Fluid' to be genuinely opaque. I sprayed it from a distance on a white muslin cloth and sure enough the black liquid turns clear as it flies through the air and left little trace on the fabric. [See Addendum]

A typically controversial display from Lady Gaga

The packaging is probably the most unique aspect of this perfume. The black fluid mentioned above looks unusual, but the alien-like gold claw that doubles as a lid really sets it off. The overall look is distinctive, surprisingly classy and rather fabulous. There are two small issues with the design, though. Firstly, the contrast between the black fluid and the gold claw will lose its distinctive edge when the bottle's over half empty. And secondly the claw lid is a pretty poor fit and feels cheap, having been manufactured out of lightweight plastic. There are quite obvious gaps between it and the bottle, too, which you can't see in any of the official advertisements where I suspect they've been airbrushed out. It's not a major issue, though, the finished look is still harmonious. Interestingly, there will be a special edition of Fame called Le Masterpiece, which will feature a solid metal cap. I'd imagine this will feel more like the premium product the original should; I'm not a fan of the cost-cutting here.

It's been a few hours since I sprayed this perfume on me and it's still present on my skin, so the lasting power is pretty good. That hint of spice I mentioned has faded and all I'm left with is the bland florals which make up the vast majority of the scent. It's a wearable, everyday kind of fragrance, with a warmth that makes it suitable for most occasions. Rest assured, if you wear this on a first date you won't scare off your potential beau by smelling like bodily fluids like Lady Gaga threatened, but they won't think you're innovative or unique, either. You can layer the scent with an egg-shaped soap, shower gel and body lotion. I've got the 50 ml size eau de parfum, but you can get a smaller more travel-friendly 10 ml rollerball, compact 30 ml and a larger 100 ml bottle, which is the best value for money.

It's always difficult to assess how natural a perfume or aftershave is because in the ingredients listings the term 'Parfum (Fragrance)' can disguise thousands of artificial ingredients, which the manufacturer doesn't have to declare because of concerns over copyright infringement. However, Fame contains more artificial colourants than any perfume I can think of, and for this reason it has been given the lowest possible score in the natural rating. Of course this won't matter to some of you, and bear in mind that even I decided to take the plunge with this fragrance, despite erring towards more natural products where possible, because I was so intrigued by it.

Fame is already a success for the singer, and for Coty Inc., who wisely steered clear of the controversial ingredients discussed in the early stages. Perhaps I am a little disappointed that Fame follows a well-trodden path in its make-up bearing in mind the all-out controversy its creator seeks, but in all honesty it is more saleable because of it. For all that talk of embracing the unusual, unusual doesn't sell in any great numbers, and Coty haven't planned on investing a rumoured $30m in promotion in the first year only to have Fame bought only by 'little monsters'. As large as Lady Gaga's fanbase is, Fame has to reach beyond them for Coty to recoup their massive investment, and I think this fragrance will do it.



Addendum...
I've noticed since writing this review that the black-colouring of the perfume is starting to make itself known.  It now sprays grey on my skin and can stain a white cloth.  I don't know what's caused it but please be aware!


YES!
NO!
Bottle looks great
Fragrance is not that unique
Very reasonably priced
Plastic lid feels cheap and fits poorly
Black fluid is genuinely innovative
Chock full of colourants
Wearable enough Black fluid starts staining with age


EFFICACY RATING
VALUE RATING
NATURAL RATING

Brand: Lady Gaga

Website: www.ladygaga.co.uk

Size: 30 ml
Price: £25.00 (£83.33/100 ml

Size: 50 ml
Price: £32.00 (£64.00/100 ml)

Size: 100 ml
Price: £55.00 (£55.00/100 ml

Manufactured: Spain

Ingredients: Alcohol Denat., Parfum (Fragrance), Aqua (Water), Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Benzyl Benzoate, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Dipropylene Glycol, Benzyl Salicylate, Benzophenone-3, Ethylhexyl Salicylate, Limonene, Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane, Hydroxycitronellal, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone, Hydroxyisohexyl 3-Cyclohexene Carboxaldehyde, Citronellol, Geraniol, Linalool, Acrylates/Octylacrylamide Copolymer, Coumarin, BHT, Hydrolyzed Jojoba Esters, Citral, Rubus Fructicosus (Blackberry) Juice, D&C Green No.6 (Cl 61565), FD&C Yellow (Cl 19140), D&C Violet No.2 (Cl 60725), D&C Red No.17 (Cl 26100)


Alternative: Mariah Carey Forever Eau de Parfum

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