Justin Bieber is a young and very pretty singer, songwriter, and actor who has had a double platinum album, three singles in the Billboard Hot 100, and who has gotten involved in the fragrance industry. Taylor Swift is a young and very pretty singer, songwriter, and actor who has won a Grammy for Country Album of the Year, for Best Country Song, and for Best Country Solo Performance. Ms. Swift has also gotten involved in the fragrance industry.
What is striking about their fragrances, Justin Bieber Someday and Taylor Swift Wonderstruck, is the similarity of the ad copy and the resemblance to Britney Spears Fantasy, a fruity, frothy thing that, as much as it might seem impossible, broke ground in this category.
Sephora gushes over Someday: “…more than just a perfume: it’s a fragrance full of the energy, passion, and confidence that pushes him (Bieber) to the top of the charts.” If only this were true. I’d buy it by the boatload and hope it would launch me on a similarly successful international career.
Then: “…a scent that drives him wild.” He is all of 18, a pretty man-child with luxurious lashes and full lips. You see him as a cardboard cutout, almost life-sized, hawking his perfumes. How wild does he really get driven by mandarin, juicy pear, wild berry, jasmine,’creamy florals,’ and vanilla musk, the given notes of his perfume? He claims to approve the smell of Someday and this I find believable. I do not expect him to sign his name to Robert Piguet Bandit, Bill Blass Nuda, or anything with an animalic note. The jasmine in Someday is, therefore, as white and as airbrushed as his own skin, with nary a mark upon it.
As I pick up the bottle in one of those Sephora-in-Penney’s (regular Sephora does not have this scent, at least in my mid-Florida mall), a teenage girl wriggles her nose dismissively. “Justin Bieber’s perfume smells like candy,” she says to her friend, and they play with other scents instead while I spray on Someday and hope no one thinks I am a cougar type attracted to the young, pretty singer, songwriter, and actor.
Someday is terribly sweet on top, just like Fantasy and after that, Circus Fantasy. They all do the same thing to fruit; that is, they cook it into a synthetic abstract mash from which there is hardly any separation of the fruit notes. Pear is what I smell primarily, high-voltage, banana-like pear, with lightly oily berry note. It reminds me so much of the Britney scents that I am surprised when it has a tentatively enjoyable mid-section before descending into a laundry-type white musk and soft vanilla drydown. The more I have it on, the more tenacious and coarse this musk becomes as the wear roughens it around the edges.
I cannot wash or swim it off.
Taylor Swift’s Wonderstruck is marginally more sophisticated, but only in that it contains a green tea note. A green tea note is not in and of itself groundbreaking; we are years past that novelty. But to sink it into the middle of a synthetic fruity/floral makes it smell, however minutely, promising, and to keep it around through the drydown is really very clever indeed. It is the green tea that enlivens Wonderstruck and that makes me believe I could wear it for a day and that people might compliment me on it, juicy fruity fragrances being popular in the South.
The notes that orbit around the green tea are almost interchangeable with Bieber’s: freesia (instead of jasmine), apple blossom, raspberry, dewberry, and more white musk and vanilla. Sephora’s ad copy for Wonderstruck seems equally in awe of the fragrance’s alleged creator: “Just like her approach to songwriting, every element is authentic, embracing what is special about Taylor.” I was confused about “authentic” and want to switch it to “synthetic,” but what is not true about the fragrance is certainly more than true about the lovely Ms. Swift.
I also cannot wash or swim this one off, either.
Each bottle neck is hung with a charm, and the bottle design for the Bieber steals Marc Jacob Lola’s plastic-fantastic flower cap and sticks it on Someday’s neck. It makes me worry that the plastic flowers are a new trend, too. They’re harmless, but I wish bottle designs were not as derivative as perfumes. Innovation is not a strong suit in this category.