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by on July 13, 2012

Lady Gaga is no ordinary celebrity so it follows suit that her debut scent, “Lady Gaga Fame,” is no ordinary celebrity fragrance. Viewing it as part of her “artistic legacy,” the pop superstar was instrumental in the unique and groundbreaking perfume’s development.

Making Scents of Lady Gagas Fame

“Fame is an illusion — if you really want it, anyone can have it,” Gags explained in an email to WWD describing the main concept at the heart of “Fame,” the fragrance. The liquid of the perfume itself is dark but when sprayed becomes invisible, representing the duality of fame — simultaneously dark and light but ultimately ephemeral.

“It is the first-ever black eau de parfum,” Coty‘s senior vice president of global marketing Steve Mormoris told WWD, “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. The soul of fame being black was the intellectual foundation of the color of the fragrance.”

Creating the black liquid proved a “technical challenge,” while the juice carries an equally unconventional structure. Rather than having top, middle and bottom notes, “Fame”  has a “trampoline structure,” with notes rising at different and random rates; some when rubbed, some over time. Though it carries fruity and floral notes centered around the deadly plant belladonna, the scent is intended to smell differently on different people.

The bottle, designed by Gaga with Nick Knight of SHOWstudio fame, continues the singer’s fascination with eggs she first hatched on the 2011 Grammy red carpet. The “Ultimate Masterpiece” — Gaga’s “pure vision” for the fragrance — comes in a 100-mL egg bearing that lofty wording and will retail for $79. In an attempt to make her “Fame” accessible to everyone, there are also several sizes of the eau de parfum available, including a 50-mL for $55, a 30-mL for $42 and a rollerball for $19.

The Lady will also offer a $15 Black Soap in limited release in August and a 200-mL $25 black shower gel and a 200-mL $30 black body lotion available some time in November.

Whether “Lady Gaga Fame” will reach Bieberan levels of success is unknown, though industry experts estimate it could pull in $100 million in sales in its first year — and net Gaga at least $15 million over the next three to five years. That should be enough to cover the promotional costs surrounding “Fame,” such as the Steven Klein-shot ad campaign, breaking in magazines’ September issues, and a three-minute online film. Gaga will also host a party at the Guggenheim Museum on September 13 to launch the scent.

But when it comes to Gaga, it’s hard to put a price on anything. Unless you’re her accountant.

“Lady Gaga wanted an artistic fragrance,” gushed 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…It’s not of the moment and trying to shock you, but a very eternal, timeless classic fragrance message because Gaga saw this as part of her artistic legacy.” [WWD, sub req'd]

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Contributed by Lester Brathwaite

I was center square from 1969 to 1978, during which I perfected the art of the zing as well as a crippling cocaine addiction. Bea Arthur was responsible for both. @LesFabian lester dot brathwaite at gmail