Fragrance: Sweet success

Los Angeles Times Fashion Critic

In 1954, when Marilyn Monroe was asked what she wore in bed, she famously replied, “Why, Chanel No. 5, of course.” And sales of the perfume skyrocketed.

That was a free endorsement, back when there was such a thing. Hollywood and the fragrance industry have been intertwined ever since, with celebrities competing for high-profile endorsement deals, or creating and marketing their own scents, and luxury brands hiring big-name directors and ratcheting up the production values of their advertising campaigns to rival big box office releases.

This fall brings a new array of perfumes starring famous faces in print and film campaigns, most notably Gucci Premiere, which debuts with a short film starring Blake Lively, directed by Nicolas Winding Refn (“Drive”) and premiering at the Venice Film Festival.


Here is a rundown of the season’s brightest new releases.

Gucci Premiere

Starring: Blake Lively

The story line: Celebrating the star in every woman.

The juice: Wood, musk, bergamot and orange blossom.

Balenciaga Florabotanica


Kristen Stewart

The story line: A fractured fairy tale of mesmerizing flowers.

The juice: A hybrid rose with a resonance of wood and moss.


La Vie Est Belle

Starring: Julia Roberts

The story line: A triumph of the independent spirit.

The juice: Iris, patchouli and praline — “an oriental fragrance with a twist of gourmand.”

Vera Wang Lovestruck

Floral Rush

Starring: Leighton Meester

The story line: Love at first sight.

The juice: A floral bouquet with notes of champagne and apricot blossom.


for Men by Calvin Klein

Starring: Alexander Skarsgard and Lara Stone

The story line: A film noir with unresolved tension and desire.

The juice: Crisp spice, warm cognac and sensual woods.

Lady Gaga Fame

Starring: Lady Gaga

The story line: A cautionary tale. “Fame is a beautiful prospect with a dark heart,” Gaga says.

The juice: Floral and fruity, with notes of dripping honey, saffron and apricot nectar.