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A year after launching her debut fragrance, Purr, Katy Perry is scratching back into the fragrance spotlight with her second scent, Meow.
This story first appeared in the November 4, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Perry was speaking to WWD in an exclusive interview from Newcastle, U.K., after performing the 116th show of her California Dreams tour. It’s been quite the year for Perry, who married Russell Brand last fall, released a platinum-selling second studio record, “Teenage Dreams” and had a leading role in the animated movie “The Smurfs” — not to mention launched her debut fragrance, Purr.
“We’ve been going since February, and it ends the day before Thanksgiving,” said Perry. “It’s been a long year, but it’s been very wonderful growing here. To have all the songs one after another all have their own successes while on tour has made the whole tour great too.” “Teenage Dream” debuted at number one in eight countries, and all five singles released so far (“California Gurls,” “Teenage Dream,” “Firework,” “E.T.,” and “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)”) have hit number one on the Billboard Pop Songs chart. “It’s been very fruitful, very fun and very exhausting. I think next year I’ll be taking a lot of time to smell the roses. I don’t feel as though I have a ticking time bomb of a career, where I have to do every single thing right now.”
Perry noted that she wanted her newest scent to play well at counter with her first one. “It’s a sister fragrance,” she said. “Purr to me was a little bit more floral, and Meow is a little bit more sweet. It was probably because of the California Dreams tour that it was more of the confectionary world, because everything I’ve seen for the last year has been like cotton-candy scented or huge peppermints or massive gummy bears.”
Meow, created with Givaudan, has top notes of tangerine, pear, gardenia and jasmine; a heart of honeysuckle, lily of the valley and orange blossom, and a drydown of vanilla, musk, amber and sandalwood. Eaux de parfum in two sizes — 1.7 oz. for $45 and 3.4 oz. for $65 — will be offered. Gigantic, Perry’s scent licensee, plans to weave in gifts-with-purchase at selected times of the year, with the first up being a locket with solid perfume inside for holiday.
Perry’s love of Depression-era milk glass inspired the scent’s bottle, which, like Purr, is shaped like a cat. This kitty is crafted of opaque pale-pink glass with jeweled eyes and metallic accents. “Vintage milk glass that you find at flea markets always looks so great with light hitting it,” she said.
Nordstrom was chosen as the exclusive launch partner due to Perry’s affinity for the retailer. “I chose Nordstrom because that’s where I liked to shop growing up in Santa Barbara,” she said. “We want to be classy.” The scent will be carried in the retailer’s 115 full-line stores, as well as on nordstrom.com, starting in mid-November. Cheri Botiz, national beauty and fragrance director for Nordstrom, noted that the retailer was anxious to stock Meow given a “great customer response” to Purr. “Everything about Meow embodies Katy’s fun, spirited energy,” she said. Nordstrom will begin a presale of the fragrance today.
While advertising for the first scent featured Perry in a latex catsuit, she said that this time she went with a product shot. “It’s really a stunning bottle and doesn’t need bells and whistles, or too much sparkle around it,” said Perry. “I’ll be doing some events around it — some pop-up things, probably in December. Those get pretty wild. I don’t get beat up like Justin Bieber, but I do get some screams.”
Would she like to do color or skin care? “It will take some time. I have associated myself with a few of those [brands] — the first-ever Shatter polish OPI put out was in my line [for them]. I’m still doing ProActiv. Even if they stopped paying me, I would still really need it. I’ve always said I’m a product whore, and every woman is looking for something that they can incorporate into their daily regimen. I remember in the past, say I was dating a boy and would go over to his house — the next day I’d have to go to work and I needed a shower but couldn’t do it there because I needed like 10 different products. So all you guys out there — that’s why we don’t shower at your house, even though you’re like, ‘I have soap!’”
As far as future endeavors go, Perry said she is looking to Gwen Stefani as a role model. “I think she’s such a great example of a woman who puts out quality products associated with her name,” said Perry. “That’s because she’s not shoving it down anyone’s throats. She has great taste, great timing and she’s got a cool style about her. I have seen a lot of the perfumes out there — some of my peers — and I’m like, ‘Did you really approve this?’ I guess I’m personally offended because maybe I do like that person’s music, but you’ve got to make quality decisions. You can’t just cash in all the time. I’ve always told anyone I’m working with that if I don’t like the product, I’m not going to show up.”
With the success of her “Smurfs” role, Perry is aiming to add more film projects — namely, a comedy. “I’ve always told the universe, if there’s a ‘Superbad 2,’ I want to be written into it. I love comedies, and I’m OK with self-deprecation. You know how women have a lot of personalities in them? I might have 10 to 15 different personalities or sides of me, and I get to play with those and really get into them. I’m better at laughing than at crying.”
She does plan to take some time off when her tour ends. “I typically don’t really live in the moment, I always live in the aftermath,” she said. “So I do a lot of reflecting. I think that next year will be about reflecting and breathing and living. Although I’m having a great time on tour — there’s a bit of monotony. I wake up, I work out, I eat, I get ready for the show, I do a vocal warm-up, I do the show, I go to bed. It’s a bit Groundhog’s Day. I’m going to take a little time to live, so that when I get ready to make that next record, I have something worth talking about. I think a little bit of travel will be in order — I really want to go to Egypt, because of my fascination with ancient aliens and all that craziness. I’d love to take a boat down the Nile and go into the pyramids, maybe crawl through the little spaces, climb one of them illegally — I’ll be in full Cleopatra mode when I’m there.”