An Ode to Jessica Simpson's Now-Defunct Dessert Beauty
Hands up if you remember Jessica Simpson's Dessert Beauty. The star's now-infamous ads for the edible makeup and bodycare range will forever live on in my memory—probably because I had the one featuring the cupcake (above) taped to my vanity mirror for a period of time.
The year was 2004, and I was 16 years old. My bedroom looked like a tornado hit a DeLiA*s warehouse, and I was toeing the line between my pop punk phase, and wanting to embrace my inner Britney. My cousin Jason bought me a bottle of the Deliciously Kissable Hair and Body Fragrance (infused with mad shimmer, naturally) for my birthday, and my collection of Dessert products steadily started growing from there. The range, which included the aforementioned body mist, lipglosses, body shimmer, bubble bath, and whipped body cream, was carried at Sephora, so I knew it was legit, and apparently, the Taste Juicy scent from the collection was created by Simpson herself.
Dessert Beauty ruined me, and by that I mean, I have gone through the rest of my life trying to find similar products that lived up to Simpson's scent palette. I became obsessed and the catalog insanely-sweet fragrances that followed in the line's wake served as proof. I'd slather the whipped body cream on just about every day—though, I had to pass on the sprinkles included with the product. What were those even for, anyway? I'll never know. A saccahrine cloud that combined the vanilla-rich aroma of the body cream with YSL's Baby Doll fragrance (another of my signatures) constantly followed me like I was Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh, and likely, a few mosquitoes as well.
Simpson's Dessert Treats line, which was targeting a younger audience and lined drugstore shelves rolled out shortly after, and following the launch of the Dessert Treats Hula Girl scent, the brand sort of just disappeared. I stopped seeing the ads, bottles of Kissable Body Mist failed to return to Sephora shelves, and I had to replace the hole Dessert's edible body shimmer left in my heart with a comparable option Urban Decay had out at the time. What the hell happened?
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According to People, a stiff legal battle, is what. After Dessert launched, but before the advent of Dessert Treats in 2005, a company called Cosmojet filed papers claiming that Simpson owed them $200,000 from the Dessert products sold. Cosmojet was the company that manufactured each of the products, and although $1 million in profits had been made at that point, Cosmojet alleged that Dessert had only paid $800,000. Dessert claimed that Simpson had no involvement in this, and had no role in the accounting aspects. She was a spokesperson, they stated, and wasn't involved in the day-to-day billing matters, though she did plan to dispute the claims. Around the same time, Mara Fox, guitarist and creator of a fragrance line called "Love Potion" started in 1995, filed a lawsuit for the brand's use of the term "Love Potion," but ultimately lost.
It was also a pretty hectic time for Simpson, personally—rumors of trouble between her and then-husband Nick Lachey were circulating, and despite that the two claimed their bond was unbreakable, we all kind of know what happened in the end. Jessica and Nick split up, and although she went ahead with the Dessert Treats launch, the line ultimately stopped production in 2006.
As Rose said at the very end of Titanic, the line exists now only in my memory—and I guess on eBay if you're willing to take that risk. These days, my fragrance tastes tip more toward Byredo's La Tulipe and Annick Goutal's Petite Cherie, but I'll always reserve a special place in my heart for anything vanilla-scented. If it tastes like cake, even better. Glossier's Birthday Balm Dotcom has already won me over, and I've only had it since Friday. Clearly, I'll never let go.
And Jessica? She's doing just fine, and I'm glad to hear it. I've always appreciated how candid she has been, and still consider her reality show one of the greatest things to happen to television. She's happily married to Eric Johnson, and they have two beautiful kids. Her clothing and accessories range is doing well—I have a pair of her nude heels under my desk as I type this. She has since launched her own range of fragrances, none of which are edible, and word on the street is that the star is working on an album that will likely be out later this year.