Thursday, October 25, 2007
Mariah Carey's New Perfume and Macy's Herald Square Appearance: Veni, Vedi, Vici
Nary the minimalist, Mariah Carey descended upon midtown Manhattan Tuesday in a cloud of perfume. She calls it 'M.'
Thousands watched inside Macy's at Herald Square, as Carey in a black minidress and sunglasses briskly walked down a purple carpet runway, waggled her fingers hello, and entered a VIP tent. Her new perfume, a flowery scent, is supposed to evoke gardenias, Moroccan incense, and burnt marshmallows. Inside, after a brief photo session, she sat on a white Louis IV-style chair to sign autographs.
Rosette LeMaire, 41, traveled from London on a two-day trip to see Mariah Carey. "She's a fighter!," she said. "She's a fighter! She falls down and she picks herself right up again." LeMaire, who works as a nurse, has been a Mariah Carey fan since 1985. Others stood in line to meet Mariah just for the ride.
Wendy Makepeace, a government official in Hertfordshire, England, likes the perfume. As for Carey, she said, “She’s okay.” Reflecting on Carey's public appearance, Makepeace said, "She wants to come live in the real world."
Most were large admirers of Mariah Carey.
“She's a hero," said Stephanie Smit, 28, of Springfield, New Jersey. Smit, a fan since Mariah’s self-titled debut album was released in 1990, has met Carey on several occasions, attended 12 Mariah Carey concerts, and plans on wearing the perfume. As a real estate agent, Smit often drives clients around while listening to Mariah Carey albums.
In the new ad for ‘M,’ the head of Mariah Carey cradled along a lake's surface below a tourmaline sunset is classic Mariah, known for her cascading high, and then highest notes. In the full-length version of the ad, Mariah’s curving, damp hair, in allusion to Rousseau's masterpiece The Sleeping Gypsy, also reveals her nude posterior. Vibe's online blog suggested the entire ad is photoshopped.
The perfume business, particularly celebrity perfumes, is booming. Perfume sales this year totaled $1.13 billion, up 18% this year. For Elizabeth Arden, the brand behind Carey’s ‘M,’ celebrity perfume accounts for 20% of all company sales. Celine Dion, Britney Spears, Shania Twain, Paris Hilton and others also have profited from the trend in celebrity-sponsored perfume.
On Tuesday, the rules for visiting Mariah were no photographs; she would not sign any outside photos other than the publicity photo of her perfume ad; she would not personalize publicity photos with, for example, a fan’s name.
For Holli Wimberly, 22, who came from Atlanta to see Carey, Carey is a lifelong role model. “I’m mixed,” she explains. Wimberly, grew up in Georgia with a mother who lived in a white section of Cobb County, and a father who lived in a black neighborhood in Decatur. Her best friend Cortney Athena, 23, beside her in line to see Mariah, is also mixed race. So growing up, for Wimberly, there was herself, her best friend Athena, and then, Mariah Carey.
“It’s not about the perfume,” said Wimberly. “It’s all about Mariah.”