What Fame smells like

Friday, 21 September 2012

What fame smells likeUnless you’ve been living under a rock, you’re well aware that Lady Gaga threw an epic end-of-Fashion-Week party at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City to introduce her new fragrance, Fame. But earlier in the day, I had the opportunity to sit down with the man behind the perfume, Coty’s Richard Herpin. Naturally, he found working with Gaga to be quite an experience.

‘It was a dream of a lifetime. She’s a chameleon. She’s never where you expect her to be,’ he says. ‘And being a perfumer is a little like being a psychologist. I had to understand her world.’

As you also might expect, Gaga was involved in ERRYTHANG: the bottle design, the colour of the juice (black, obvs), and particularly the fragrance notes. ‘Usually you have a pyramid: a top, middle, and heart or back note. But Fame has things happening all at the same time,’ he says.

In keeping with traditional perfumery, Herpin created three accords, but, this being Gaga, called them ‘doses’. First you have Dose 1: madness, which is the belladonna/saffron/incense business you smell on first spray. ‘Belladonna is a tiny, shiny fruit. You can eat the fruit, but the seeds are poisonous. And the saffron and incense create darkness.’ Then there’s Dose 2: pleasure, which is a combo of honey and apricot. ‘This is not the typical sweetness you see all the time. It’s a little bit like skin,’ he says. And bringing up the rear is Dose 3: glory, a creamy jasmine and orchid situation, which makes Fame especially feminine.

As for all those rumors about blood and semen notes, Herpin says they were never really on the table. ‘We have molecules that smell like those things, but it would have been disgusting.’ In particular, he said, the blood note smelled like raw steak. And this is random: One of the other notes she wanted was gummy worms. ‘Being French, I had to do my research about her American references,’ says Herpin. ‘I had to buy some gummy worms to figure out what they were. They smelled a bit like saffron and flowers to me.’ But in the end, what made him so happy with how the perfume turned out was that Gaga, exacting as she is, loved it. Like, a lot: ‘She asked for liters and liters of the fragrance, so that was a good sign. I knew I did my job,’ he says.

Written by Anne-Marie Guarnieri, this article originally appeared on Allure.

Written by

Megan Kakora has helped launch the websites of, and been the online editor for, some of South Africa’s biggest glossy magazines. She believes in less-is-more, except when it comes to her collection of nail polish colours.

Megan on Google+

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  1. Debbie

    Very sexy and sophisticated looking bottle

    5 years ago •

  1. Des

    I thought I saw a competition for Lady Gaga Fame on here. Who were the winners?

    5 years ago •

  1. Cass1231

    Very awesome bottle, and it smells very nice, dark with a touch of mystery…. :)

    5 years ago •

  1. mel

    interesting fragrance but to me I find it a bit too linear. its a pleasant perfume though…

    5 years ago •

  1. Gee Whiskers

    I have received a sample of this an it really is AMAZING! Not at all what I expected and actually am considering getting myself a bottle when it is released. Beautiful scent!

    5 years ago •

  1. ricebunny

    i find it is too fruity for my liking and it does not last long either

    5 years ago •

  1. Angelisha

    Bottle Looks Dark and mysterious … Wonder what it smells like?

    5 years ago •

  1. Angelisha

    Surely wanna go out and test this French smell…

    5 years ago •

  1. Firefly

    Can’t wait to try out my sample of Fame!!!

    5 years ago •

  1. wyona

    I am receiving a sample this week can’t wait to smell it will give you guys feedback i love Lady Gaga i just hope the perfume is great and not a let down.

    5 years ago •

  1. Lady-T

    Saw it @ Edgars, container is stunning!!! Didn’t get to test it, :( no tester.

    5 years ago •

  1. Tasha

    Interesting… I didn’t know all the story behind this perfumes. very interesting.

    5 years ago •

  1. Maddy

    I like the styling and the bottle itself more than the perfume. Its just a normal nice smelling perfume not something edgy or different as expected of Lady Gaga.

    5 years ago •

  1. Humphreys

    I’m not a fan of Lady Gaga and black perfume?

    5 years ago •

  1. Anita

    Cant wait to get my hands on a bottle

    5 years ago •

  1. DIVA

    Lady Gaga perfume, I need to small this one.

    5 years ago •

  1. Charles

    I’m wearing it today! Love it :)

    5 years ago •

  1. BeautyBloggess

    It just sounds so different. None of those combinations are what you’d usually find in a fragrance. Definitely interested in the overall experience.

    5 years ago •

  1. Rochelle Stewart

    Looking forward to smelling it!

    5 years ago •

  1. Cat

    I read somewhere that it was only being launched in SA 1 October but to my surprise I found it at Edgars yesterday and bought a bottle! Wow wow wow I must say I am so impressed, this is my new favourite perfume. The bottle is gorgeous and the smell that comes out even better, nice thing about it is that the smell lasts ALL day so no need to keep refreshing the smell during the day. LOVE it.

    5 years ago •

  1. Chicara

    It really has the coolest bottle. :)

    5 years ago •

  1. ricebunny

    have tried it but dont really like it

    5 years ago •

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