The marketing team for Estée Lauder’s new Sensuous fragrance must be working overtime. First it landed the Gwyneth Paltrow, Elizabeth Hurley, Carolyn Murphy, and Hilary Rhoda to star in its campaign. Then it convinced Harper’s Bazaar to devote 40 editorial pages to the gals. And yesterday, the ladies took New York by storm, kicking off the day by ringing the opening bell on Wall Street (sans Gwyneth, who we’re guessing was off comforting Madonna over vegan Cinnabons somewhere). They ended the day with their only in-store appearance, at Bloomingdale’s in midtown where they officially launched the scent into the oversaturated fragrance market by signing newly purchased bottles.
Fans packed wall to wall lined up hours early to snag a glimpse of the fab four of fragrances. And when the women emerged, mayhem erupted. “It was a mob scene. I wanted to kill myself because they were so beautiful,” one shopper in line named Carol told us. “Gwyneth looked really beautiful. But Elizabeth looked magnificent.” Security allowed only the first 200 people in line to meet the women and get their light-pink bottles signed. According to the staff of spritzer girls, the first folks to line up were a mom and daughter from Britain who wanted to scoop up the fragrance now, since it’s exclusive to the U.S. for three months. They set up camp at 1 p.m. The four ladies didn’t arrive until 6:30 p.m.
And as for the scent itself? Shoppers offered mixed reviews: It’s not as overtly sexy as its name implies but has a delicate note of femininity. A shopper named Erica found it light yet sexy enough to remind her of Samantha from Sex and the City. “[It] doesn’t suffocate you — you don’t feel like your head is in the clouds,” she said. However, a shopper named Yolanda said it smelled more Charlotte-y, adding it’s exactly what she imagined Gwyneth smells like. “It’s very soft and delicate. And she doesn’t come off overly sexual, but there’s something very slight and ladylike about her, and in some ways very classy-sexy,” she said. Sounds like all that marketing mumbo jumbo is working. — Sharon Clott