Jessica Simpson's debut fragrance, Fancy Jessica Simpson, is due to launch officially later this month. If you read here regularly, you already know that I'm pathetically out of it when it comes to pop culture — I don't read People, I don't listen to the radio, and I don't watch much "live" TV — and so Jessica Simpson is as mysterious to me as the rest of them. I don't know a darned thing about her personally, although I take it from prior comments here that she sings. But I do know one thing about her that is arguably more germane to this discussion anyway, and that is that she used to have a line of scented body products under the name Dessert Beauty.
The Dessert Beauty line, a collaboration between Simpson and Clean's Randi Shinder, featured products like "Belly Button Love Potion Double Dip Fragrance" (in scents called "Juicy" and "Creamy") and "Deliciously Kissable Hot Body Topping" (in "Maraschino Cherry" or "Caramel"). If those sound appealing to you, Fancy might be right up your alley. It starts out fruity and strong, and sweet enough to rot the enamel right off your teeth (the notes: pear, apricot nectar, red fruits, gardenia, jasmine, toasted almonds, caramel, sandalwood, vanilla crème and amber crystals). The dry down is calmer, and while it stays sweet, it reaches reasonable (to me, anyway) levels within about 15 or 20 minutes. It is vanillic and dessert-like, and it does have burnt sugar elements, but it's neither creamy nor cake-y; it's probably closer to hard candy or taffy than crème brûlée. The heart features a blast of the same indistinct pink floral blend that characterizes most celebrity fragrance releases — I wouldn't get too worried about whether or not you like jasmine or gardenia.
While the lasting power is pretty good, most of the fruity floral stuff is gone within an hour. What's left is mostly a woody musk laced with caramel and lingering hints of that burnt sugar; happily, it never reaches the "blow-torch blackened cotton candy" stage that I am unable to appreciate in Aquolina Pink Sugar. I preferred the far dry down of Fancy to the earlier stages, but if that's not what you were after, you might want to give it a good test on skin before you buy.
I considered testing Fancy next to a whole slew of celebrity fragrances, but reason (and fear that my family would evict me from the house) prevailed and I limited myself to two recent additions to the genre: Sarah Jessica Parker's Covet Pure Bloom and Mariah Carey's Luscious Pink. I surprised myself by liking Fancy the best of the three. Covet Pure Bloom is arguably more sophisticated (not hard to accomplish: despite Jessica Simpson's optimistic "To me, Fancy is just that, fancy", Fancy strikes me as anything but), but gosh Covet Pure Bloom is loud and pink, and gosh it sure stays that way an awfully long time. I'll take a little warm caramel taffy over loud and pink any day. As for the Mariah Carey, more about that tomorrow.
Fancy Jessica Simpson was developed by perfumer Alexis Dadier. It's available in 50 ($49) and 100 ml ($59) Eau de Parfum and in matching body lotion (177 ml; $30). The official launch date is August 15, but you can find it on counter now at Macy's.