I don’t have explicit proof of the statement I am about to make. I believe most mass-market celebrity fragrances are bad because they aren’t made to be good. They’re made to cash in on the popularity of a celebrity. It is why celebuscents are such a wasteland. The celebrity can go promote it, but it doesn’t make it good. A piece of this desultory process is the perfumers they hire are given a bare bones budget to work with. Nobody involved really gives a damn about perfume just cashing checks. Pop star Rihanna was part of this meat grinder as she had her name on eleven perfumes between 2011-2018. They were examples of everything I just wrote. They’ve been consigned to the discount bins where they still just take up space. I have often wondered if the celebrity didn’t just license their name whether it would be different. In the case of Fenty I get a partial answer to that.
Fenty Beauty was founded at the end of 2017 by Rihanna. She had distinct ideas about making a cosmetics brand which catered to all skin tones. It has become an unqualified success since then. Rihanna has expanded the offerings in a deliberate expansion. Once she turned her eye towards fragrance I was wondering if she would do better now that she had some skin in the game.
To create Fenty she spent time in Grasse with perfumer Jacques Cavallier-Belletrud. She picked the perfumer. She collaborated on the final result. She put her own company’s money in. what would come of this?
The answer is a fuller style of perfume than I expected. Fenty Beauty appeals to the generation of perfume lovers who seem to prize lightness and transparency. Fenty is a full floral perfume that is neither light nor opaque. It doesn’t take any risks, but the quality of materials used make it a more interesting fragrance because of that.
The top fruity accord is a mostly blueberry accented beginning. There are some citruses in the background but this is mostly the berry. A Bulgarian rose rises to meet it with its spicy core and jammy floral nature. They form a pleasant fruity floral harmony. A sensual musk anchors the base accord given some incense and patchouli to add depth to the later stages.
Fenty has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.
Fenty is better than any fragrance with Rihanna’s name on it previously released. An increased creative direction and budget makes for a better fragrance. Fenty Beauty has been so successful by catering to underserved beauty customers I can hope that if there is a second Fenty perfume she might move in that direction. What this perfume shows is that when Rihanna is unleashed to make her own decisions they are mostly good ones.
Disclosure: This review is based on a sample provided by Fenty Beauty.