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Dupes, I Did It Again

Gisele Bundchen Dolce & Gabbana Fragrance
The dupe phenomenon has evidenced a fascinating trend emerging in the beauty industry—it’s a dynamic in which perfumes at both the highest end of the market and the lowest are simultaneously booming. Photo: Evan Agostini/Getty Images
Rachel Strugatz
April 3, 2024

I’m fascinated by dupe culture, which has been growing like a vampire squid across the face of the beauty industry for the past couple years. In recent history, it was merely the blockbuster names, like Valentino or Viktor&Rolf, that were used as inspiration by mall chains. Now, watered-down versions of even the most popular niche scents abound, and the most recent additions come from Bath & Body Works. Last week, the retailer launched an Everyday Luxuries Collection of 10 “fine fragrance” mists—a.k.a. $19 dupes of scents like Parfums de Marly’s Delina, Maison Margiela’s Replica Sailing Day, Le Labo’s Santal 33, and Glossier You.

I went down a rabbit hole of dupes, thanks to a TikTok video from fragrance influencer Zach Tobar that broke down each new Bath & Body Works mist and the original perfume it’s likely inspired by. (By Tuesday, the video had more than 7 million views.) Tobar, a 28-year-old executive assistant in Chicago, is literally an expert on the subject. The most sought-after aspiration scent, he told me, was Maison Francis Kurkdjian’s Baccarat Rouge 540, a potent eau de parfum that’s floral, woody, and amber-ish at the same time. It’s not for me personally, but this pricey pandemic hit (a 2.4 oz container costs $325 and the sparkling body oil is $215) has impressively maintained its internet virality nearly four years later. Tobar told me that Bath & Body Works’ In the Stars scent was a decent dupe: “It’s like 80-ish percent.” The New Rouge from Target’s Fine’ry line was “pretty good,” he continued, and people “swear by” Zara’s Red Temptation.