An Ode to the Lasting Legacy of Victoria's Secret Love Spell

After twenty years, how it’s remained so popular.

Victoria's Secret - Love Spell Perfume Bottle
Photo: Courtesy, Getty

It's not often that beauty products from our childhood survive as we grow older. Even more surprising when it continues to be a big seller over twenty years later. One such product is Victoria Secret's Love Spell, which continues to be one of those fragrances you recognize immediately. For many, it can be counted as one of the first "big girl" perfumes we picked up after retiring the bottles of Juice Bar and Body Fantasies for good. You know it, you loved it, and you probably have a half-used bottle stashed away somewhere in your apartment.

"We created the fragrance back in 1999, and when we were developing it, a lot of the scents out there were overtly fruity in a singular, condensed way — like a sole apple, a pear, or peach — so we wanted to do something that wasn't as one-dimensional," says Mark Knitowski, Victoria's Secret SVP of Product Innovations. "We certainly thought there was something special about it, but we couldn't have predicted how big it would become, or the cult following that came with it."

According to Knitowski, the lively mix of grapefruit, peach, and cherry blossom is one that stays light and fresh on the skin, and is the olfactive equivalent of a sparkling, carbonated beverage on your tongue. "It almost tingles on your nose in a similar way to opening a soda and getting that carbonation," he explains. "The crisp, fresh breath practically puts a smile on your face." The cherry blossom note in particular was unique to the category, and in the years that followed the launch of Love Spell, a few other brands began creating scents around the element. Imitation, as they say, is the best form of flattery.

Since 2001, Love Spell has been a top-seller in the VS Bodycare category. In fact, one bottle sells every four seconds around the world, and if you lined up each flacon end-to-end, the lineup would span the circumference of the globe. Among people who came of age in the late '90s and early aughts, it's easy to understand why. The aroma of the fruity-floral mix is synonymous with high school dances, our first kiss, butterfly clips, dousing ourselves with a bottle after gym class, and nights spent at your best friend's house lamenting the departure of Ginger Spice. Even so, Love Spell continues to attract new customers, surprising us in the best way every time we catch a passing whiff, and reminding us exactly what we were doing the first time we sprayed on the stuff.

What's in the lasting appeal? Knitowski believes the fresh balance of the grapefruit against sweeter peach, jasmine, and cherry blossom notes has something to do with it. "It's easy to wear, it has a ton of signature, and you don't get tired of it," he tells us. "The fruity elements veer more toward the fresh end of the spectrum, so it smells good, but is never too strong. Each of the notes creates an overarching balance over all of the olfactive categories."

The scent has also lived up to its given name. Knitowski recounts the many consumers who told him that they met their significant other or now-fiancée wearing it, and at a particular focus group, one of the participants claimed that the fragrance helped her feel more like herself after having her second child.

Though the Love Spell lineup has been expanded, rest assured that your favorite scent since middle school won't be going anywhere. Pick up a bottle right now at ($20) and at your closest Victoria's Secret location.

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