Friday, September 4, 2009

Benefit's scents evoke Mad Men and Desperate Housewives

Benefit Cosmetics, best known for its 1950s pin-up aesthetic and tongue-in-cheek taglines, takes inspiration from the city of Bath and Desperate Housewives for its new range of fragrances. The Crescent Row collection features three scents based on three characters with their own unique style and personality, not unlike the residents of Wisteria Lane. Since the San Francisco-based company launched the range in Paris last month all three scents have remained in Sephora’s top 10 list of best-selling fragrances.

The story goes that the daughter of one of Benefit’s founders (identical twins Jean and Jane Ford launched the brand in 1978) visited Royal Crescent in Bath and imagined the ladies residing behind the street’s brightly-coloured doors. As far as televisual references go, the marketing behind the range definitely has a Mad Men vibe to it – think pearls, chaise lounges and pink flamingos.

It’s the most imaginative packaging you’ll see on a fragrance counter this season, with each box opening like a doll’s house to reveal the character’s lounge room within. Each bottle is shaped like miniature cocktail shaker, undoubtedly a key item for a house-bound lady of leisure. The three scents cover all tastes, the lightest (Lee Lee) is fresh and citrusy with jasmine and lily; Sofia features oriental blossoms, mango and vanilla; and Gina – the resident seductress and bombshell – combines patchouli, wild raspberry and pink pepper.

The Crescent Row collection looks set to become Benefit’s signature fragrance range; sales reps will helpfully point out that all three scents can be layered without interfering with each other, so you can create your own unique scent (I’m guessing the rationale is, why flog one 30ml bottle for 29.50 when you can sell all three…).

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