Charlie (fragrance)

Charlie (fragrance)

Charlie is a line of women's and men's fragrances produced by the American cosmetic and perfume house Revlon.


Original fragrance

Charlie, named after Charles Revson,[1] was released in 1973.[2] It was originally launched to compete with Estée, a fragrance released by Estée Lauder.[1] Ad campaigns for the scent featured models Shelley Hack, Charly Stember, and, notably, Naomi Sims, making Sims the first African American woman in history to be featured in a cosmetic company's advertising.[3] Television ads featured jingles sung by Bobby Short. Young, working women were set as the target audience, and the ads were said to represent the "new woman" of the era. [1] Hack and Stember wore pantsuits by Ralph Lauren and were the first women to wear pants in fragrance ads. The response proved to be profitable for Revlon, as Charlie became the world's top selling perfume within three years.[1] However, a later ad, showing a female model patting a male model on the backside, was controversial. While some praised the ad as being "playful" and representing "female self-sufficiency," others called it "sexist" and "in poor taste."[4] Subsequent advertising in later decades featured Lauren Hutton and Cindy Crawford, with jingles sung by Little Richard. Oprah Winfrey dedicated a segment of her talk show in 2007 to discuss the impact of Charlie advertising. She stated that the ads inspired her. She wanted to be "confident and fabulous" like the "Charlie girls."[5]

Fragrance composition

Charlie is classified as a floral-aldehyde fragrance. It is composed of citrus, bergamot, hyacinth, green leaf, tarragon, peach, and aldehyde top notes, cyclamen, carnation, orris root, lily of the valley, jasmine and rose middle notes, and sandalwood, musk, vanilla, oakmoss, and cedar base notes. [6]

Additional fragrances for women

Spin-off women's fragrances with the Charlie name included:[7][8]

  • Charlie Blue (1973)
  • Charlie Red (1993)
  • Charlie White (1994)
  • Charlie Gold (1995)
  • Charlie Express (1995)
  • Charlie Sunshine (1997)
  • Charlie White Musk (1997)
  • Charlie Silver (1998)
  • Charlie Crystal Chic (2008)
  • Charlie Pink Sparkle (2008)
  • Charlie Little Secrets (2008)
  • Charlie Secret (2009)
  • Charlie Real (2009)
  • Charlie Pink (2009)
  • Charlie Black (2009)
  • Charlie Passion (2009)

Some lines also included complementary bath and body products. Currently, Charlie Red is only in production in Australia and Italy. Charlie Blue, White, Gold, Silver, Secret, Real, Pink, Black, and Passion are only available in Italy and Charlie Crystal Chic, Pink Sparkle, and Little Secrets are only sold in South Africa.[7][9] Production of Charlie Red and Charlie White was discontinued in North America in 2011, leaving the original Charlie as the only fragrance still available in this market.

Additional fragrances for men

  • Charlie Men (1974) (no longer in production)



  • Groom, Nigel. The New Perfume Handbook. New York: Blackie Academic & Professional, 1997.
  • Sengupta, Subroto. Brand Positioning: Strategies for Competitive Advantage. New Delhi: McGraw-Hill, 2005.

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