One man said he couldn’t breathe just at the sight of her. Another dared her to kiss him. Yet another invited her to “do” lunch. (“I don’t ‘do’ lunch,” she replied.)
It was Cher, promoting her new perfume at Robinson’s Del Amo recently , but she could have been hawking bug spray. These men and women had gathered to see the actress, not to whiff her signature scent.
She did not disappoint; there was plenty to see.
Aided by skycraper-heeled velvet slippers, the entertainer’s legs looked even longer than they are. And clad in a see-through minidress by her longtime designer Bob Mackie, Cher bared much body and some soul to adoring fans. A strategically placed, apron-style swag of black velvet tied with a huge, bustle-like bow kept the outfit within the confines of decency at front and back--most of the time. Of course, designer Mackie couldn’t have foreseen that Cher would jump up and off the 30-inch-high stage at the store.
But after all, her spicy new fragrance is called Uninhibited.
When a female fan proclaimed Cher the best-dressed woman in the world, the actress announced she didn’t care how she dresses. “I’m not under the illusion that I’m a great dresser. I don’t believe we should dress to impress.” No one seemed to question her sincerity, despite the fact that Cher’s clothing always impresses.
“I don’t want to be a role model,” she told the crowd, urging them to express their own personalities. "(Life) is not a dress rehearsal. This is it,” she said.
In fact, she added, that’s why she didn’t name her perfume Cher.
“I wanted a fragrance that’s your perfume--something that’s you. I don’t want you to be a clone of me,” she said, her six-inch beaded earrings swaying as she strutted across the stage.
Cher explained that the $175-an-ounce fragrance is similar to a concoction she has blended herself for years. The dominant floral top note is lily, but later the scent emits a delicate blend of sandalwood and vanilla.
Bottled in smoky crystal, the stopper is moon shaped, studded with platinum and crowned with a frosted-crystal disk. The bottle’s cartouche design was inspired, she says, by a small marcasite sarcophagus she received as a gift. Even the silver cord on the neck of the bottle is embellished with dangling beads, reflecting the bold jewelry she wears.
“It’s a charismatic bottle, maybe nostalgic too. You know, the old days--when you really felt life was romantic,” Cher said.
As she told a reporter when her fragrance was released last month, “I don’t know that a perfume’s function is necessarily to drag you to the bedroom. But it’s the first step to have a man look at you and say: ‘You smell really good.’ ”
Cher doesn’t regard perfume as a luxury. “When I get up in the morning I spray it all over myself in a figure-eight design. Over the years everyone has always remarked how great I smell--even David Letterman,” she recalled. “That’s a great compliment.”
Although fans were invited to question the entertainer, most chose to pledge their devotion instead. Others heaped praise on the woman they had watched develop from Sonny Bono’s songstress-wife into the Academy Award-winning actress she is today.
Javier Ozuna, a Cher memorabilia collector from Glendale, dressed in Cher’s signature black-and-silver colors. “Even the perfume packaging reminds me of her--it’s beautiful. I bought the $30 bottle of cologne--I can’t afford the $300 perfume. Only her friends will buy that.”
Not so, says Lolita Regua, a nurse and perfume collector from Carson. She said she would add Uninhibited to her collection immediately after the personal appearance.
“I collect all the actresses’ (perfume). Cher’s is mild, but I don’t think it will last,” she concluded.
Carol Hayakawa, a real estate broker from Torrance, said the scent “doesn’t match the visual--it’s more subtle and subdued than her image.”
While on stage, the actress often alluded to her love for children. When a baby cried, she urged the mother to bring the infant forward so she could comfort him. And it was a little girl at the microphone, who didn’t know the star’s exact name, who drew the most poignant response from the 42-year-old actress.
“Hi, Sharon. I’m only 5 and I want to know what it’s like to be a big star,” said the child.
Cher responded: “It’s a lot like being 5. Some days it’s a lotta, lotta fun, and some days it’s horrible.”
With that, some waves and some blown kisses, Cher disappeared behind the curtain. And the cheering fans headed to the perfume counter.
Within 15 minutes of Cher’s appearance, one fragrance-counter salesperson reported selling 20 bottles of Uninhibited cologne and one perfume. Now those are loyal fans.