By DELLA DE LAFUENTE
Candles increasingly have their own star power, reflecting the special glow of famous names.
In recent years, celebrities such as actress Jane Seymour, Sir Elton John and Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, have entered the home fragrance game. They've joined a number of high-end designers who market their own lines of products for the home, including such affordable offerings as scented candles, diffusers, room fresheners and even good old-fashioned potpourri.
Seymour's home collection, featuring scented candles, diffusers and other products, launched earlier this year at retail stores including the Great Indoors and Amazon.com.
Other celebrities have paired up with Harry Slatkin, the leading figure in the home-fragrance industry who oversees product development of the home collections at Limited Brands Inc.'s Bath & Body Works, White Barn and Henri Bendel.
Slatkin has created home-fragrance collections inspired by high-profile stars including John and Ferguson, who lend their names to charitable causes they support. Among other notable names he's partnered with are the late CZ Guest, her daughter Cornelia Guest and designer Oscar de la Renta.
And de la Renta's not the only top design name to get into the home fragrance act.
Marc Jacobs has a home fragrance spray, Jonathan Adler peddles candles, and Lladro, best known for porcelain figurines, offers $225 perfume diffusers.
For Seymour, Emmy-winning actor and a contestant on the fall installment of ABC's "Dancing with the Stars," home fragrance is not just a star turn.
"When I design things, I don't just design things I like, I design for who I think the customer is," said Seymour.
Her seven-fragrance candle line is "off-white so it will go anywhere, it's smoke-free, soy-based and burns more than 60 hours," Seymour said. Her scented candles include a votive and a candle with porcelain lid. Fragrance combinations include vanilla cocoa, ruby red currant and prairie rose.
Slatkin is flattered by requests to partner with celebrities, but he's choosy about the projects he takes on.
"I don't do it for the product. I do it for what it's going to support," he said. "It has to be for the person's charity, because that's the power of their celebrity."
This fall, Slatkin is unveiling the Elton John Estate home-fragrance collection, inspired by the gardens on John's country estate in England — a mixture of crushed fig leaves, apricots, white nectarines and cassis, fused with musk, orchids and roses.
"Elton is involved in the creation of every one of these products," Slatkin said. "The product has to be true to the person. If Elton is not going to use them in his home, then I won't do it."
It's the second home-fragrance collection for John and Slatkin, and a portion of the multi-million dollars in sales at Bath & Body Works that both collections are expected to generate will be used to benefit the Elton John AIDS Foundation.
For Ferguson, Slatkin created five tea-inspired fragrance blends: bergamot (Royal-ty); rose ginger (Hones-ty); white tea ginger (Loyal-ty); green tea and mint leaves (Tranquili-ty); and mandarin green tea (Digni-ty). Part of the proceeds will be used to benefit the Sarah Ferguson Foundation, a nonprofit that helps forgotten children worldwide.
He is currently developing a cookie-scented candle and plug-in oil diffuser for children in Ferguson's name, based on an old family cookie recipe.
On the Net:
Elton John AIDS Foundation: www.ejaf.org
Sarah Ferguson Foundation: www.sarahfergusonfoundation.org
Jane Seymour Home: www.janeseymourhome.com
Celebrities add star power to candles
By DELLA DE LAFUENTE