PARIS — Does fame always smell sweet?

It’s a question up for debate as fragrance marketers rush to sign on celebrities.

Advertising and branding experts allow that famous faces offer a fast track to prestige, buzz and notoriety. Still, they warn, such benefits must be measured against the potential risk of brand confusion or, even worse, the damage a fall from grace can bring.

To be sure, there has been a tidal wave of celebrity-scent tie-ups. “We are ravenous in our appetite for news about celebrities and what they’re wearing now,” said Rita Clifton, chairman of London-based Interbrand Corp. “Beauty is no different; to a very great degree, it’s exaggerated.”

Since last fall, a number of famous faces have joined the fragrance fray. Several are working to develop their own scents, including Sean “P. Diddy” Combs, who is working to develop a line with the Estée Lauder Cos.; Britney Spears, who will launch Curious Britney Spears — her first fragrance under her Elizabeth Arden deal — next month, and Paris Hilton, she of many types of reality TV, who signed a deal with Parlux this spring to develop her own beauty products. Beyoncé Knowles, who is the face of Tommy Hilfiger Toiletries’ new scent, True Star, is also said to have had creative input into the fragrance’s creation.

These celebrity noses join Elizabeth Taylor, whose fragrances with Elizabeth Arden remain bestsellers after more than a decade on counter, and Jennifer Lopez, whose Glow by JLo and Still Jennifer Lopez scents from Lancaster have racked up hundreds of millions of dollars since their launches.

Other stars have recently signed deals to front fragrances, such as Scarlett Johansson’s February agreement to represent Calvin Klein’s Eternity Moment and Ashley Judd’s deal to front American Beauty, the new BeautyBank/Kohl’s brand. The second of the Kohl’s brands, Flirt, will be headlined by a different star each season. First up: songstress Michelle Branch. The prestige world’s galaxy of Hollywood stars also currently includes Liv Tyler, the face of Givenchy’s Very Irresistible Givenchy and Givenchy’s new makeup line, and Catherine Zeta-Jones, the face of Elizabeth Arden’s eponymous products. Not to be left out, pop stars-turned-perfumers Celine Dion and Jessica Simpson have done scents. Even French nightclub impresario Cathy Guetta recently joined the fragrance race.

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