By  on July 22, 2010

“I am a product whore,” Katy Perry said with a laugh. “I am a consumer of a multitude of beauty products and I’m always looking for the next great thing that will make me into the young Elizabeth Taylor I would love to be. I must have about 100 products on my counter right now.”

And she can soon add another one: her first fragrance. The 25-year-old Santa Barbara, Calif., native will launch Purr by Katy Perry in November at Nordstrom and Inspired by Perry’s Catwoman stage costume, Purr will be unveiled to long-lead beauty editors this evening. It’s a little project she squeezed in between doing a new album and preparing for her upcoming nuptials to actor-comedian Russell Brand — about which Perry was decidedly mum.

But she was more than happy to talk beauty. “I have about 50 fragrances and I’m intrigued by the mystique scent has,” Perry said in an exclusive interview with WWD on Wednesday. “I saw a lot of my peers getting into this world, and, as with my music, I thought I could bring my touch to the category and make it competitive.”

Certainly, Perry has never had any qualms about standing out and that holds true for her fragrance.

The cat-shaped bottle has jeweled eyes, metallic accents and opulent lavender shading. Of the name, Perry noted, “I’m a very lyrical-based person, and the whole ‘purr’ thing kept coming back — [the sound is in] perfume, perfect, even Perry if you say it a certain way. It just seemed logical. The hardest part was keeping it under wraps for a year [during the development process]. I kept wanting to tell someone!

“There are amazing fragrances backed by other celebrities, but what I’m bringing is not like any other,” she continued. “It wasn’t just like, ‘I love gardenias.’ That would have been the easy route. I really wanted to develop a scent that was completely unlike anything I’d smelled before and not one that smelled like a knockoff of another scent. I’d never want to do anything ‘just because.’”

That’s not to say she’s not fond of other efforts: “I’m not embarrassed to say that I went out and bought [Beyoncé Knowles’ first scent] Heat and Kim Kardashian’s scent earlier this year. I’ve worn Clinique Happy, Ralph Lauren’s Romance and Chanel’s Coco Mademoiselle. My sense of smell is so important to me. A guy can walk into an elevator wearing Acqua di Gio, and I’m immediately like ‘You’re my first boyfriend.’ I want my fragrance to have that effect on people.”

In fact, it is fellow singer Gwen Stefani who is serving as Perry’s role model. “She is my example of how I want to do things, especially the way she did it with Harajuku Lovers [the fragrance collection Stefani does with Coty Prestige],” said Perry, who, like Stefani, is an aficionado of Japanese anime and culture. “She is so detail-oriented and so in touch with that which is hip and cool. I hope I can grab some of her baton — she’s been my example of how I’d like to do things in fashion and beauty.”

As for doing her own fashion line, she noted, “I would like to do it, but I don’t have time to do it just yet,” she said. “You can’t do everything — if you try, something suffers. Whatever I decide to do, I have to be 100 percent there; my fingerprints will be all over it. Right now, my focus is on music and beauty, because everything is happening so fast right now.”

Developed with Firmenich, Purr has top notes of peach nectar, forbidden apple and green bamboo; a heart of jasmine blossom, pink freesia and Bulgarian rose, and a drydown of vanilla orchid, white amber, creamy sandalwood and musk. Eaux de parfum in three sizes will be sold: 1 oz. for $36, 1.7 oz. for $45 and 3.4 oz. for $65. Ancillaries, including body lotion and bubble bath, are set for a holiday launch. Future launches could include Perry’s favorite fruit motifs.

“I’m very inspired by the Japanese world and all things completely cute,” she said. “All things edible for me are also intriguing. So if there are little dancing strawberries, I will be happy. Peppermint is cute; cotton candy is adorable. We like to keep it cute and classy.”


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