Are You Obsessed With Calvin Klein’s ‘Obsessed’?

Calvin Klein’s OBSESSED is about how memory, the sensual and the visual intertwine today

At the heart of OBSESSED is the memory of a past love, triggered by the scent of another on the skin. Here, the genders are subverted and layered, with the traditional scents of the masculine Fougère —particularly White Lavender—harnessed for the women’s fragrance, while the men’s scent is in thrall to a dark Vanilla. These elements are combined with materials more typically associated with each gender; Musks add a sensuous warmth to the women’s fragrance while Amber and Woods strengthen the sense of masculinity in the men’s. It is this tension, a compulsive push and pulls that makes the wearer return to the fragrances time and again.

A combination of olfactory memory and modern desirability brings the past seductively into the present.


An Oriental Aromatic Green

Top: Sacred Citrus Neroli Essence Elemi

Heart: Violet Leaf White Lavender Purple Sage

Base: Dry Musk Helvetolide Ambrette Muscenone

A masculine Fougère structure is contrasted with feminine warmth; the fragrance is formed around a base of White Lavender, while creamy Musks envelope and sensually soften.

The tension of the aromatic top notes with the smooth creaminess of the bac further explores the tension between the masculine and the feminine.

Perfumers: Annick Menardo and Master Perfumer Honorine Blanc


An Oriental Woody Amber

Top: Oro Blanco, Grapefruit, Sichuan, Pepper Black, Cardamom

Heart: Cedar Leaves, Labdanum, Firnat, Blonde Leather

Base: Dry Patchouli, Cœur, Black Vanilla, Infusion, Ambrox Super

A compelling heart of Black Vanilla is sophisticatedly structured with dark, dimensional woods, providing the tension between a feminine melodiousness and masculine strength.

Ambrox elegantly cuts through all, lending a sleek and contemporaneous edge.

Perfumers: Ilias Ermenidis and Christophe Raynaud


Parallel to the olfactory story of OBSESSED, runs a visual one…

In 1993, OBSESSION truly attained its iconic status when KATE MOSS became the fragrance’s face. She was 18 years old when her then boyfriend, MARIO SORRENTI, aged 20, shot her for the campaign.

As the legendary campaign approaches its 25th anniversary, OBSESSED utilises never before seen imagery from that time and personal biography to further explore and evoke the idea of memory, past love and present iconography.

Transforming some of the additional and unseen prints—there are more than 250 in total— into still life compositions, Mario Sorrenti himself revisits his own history. Further to these iconic arrangements are the never before seen films and diary entries made by the photographer. It is here that Sorrenti provides the voice-over with his personal recollections of that time for the moving imagery.

Utilising additional layers of depth, warmth, intimacy and reverie, the OBSESSED campaign further unfurls the true love story behind a photographic and fragrance milestone. In its limpid, black and white simplicity, its equation and evocation of scent with memory at once reflects the past and the present.


Stripping away all extraneous elements,

the OBSESSED bottles are almost a memory in themselves.

Partly a palimpsest of the OBSESSION perfume bottles—here made rounder, fuller and entirely translucent—the concentration is on the evocation of memory through the scent itself.

While not quite a blank sheet, the bottles do herald a clear, understated and contemporary departure. At the same time, this vision is not one devoid of a certain curvilinear sensuality.

While nodding to the OBSESSION fragrance, formulated under CALVIN KLEIN himself and launched in 1985, OBSESSED is the first fragrance to appear at the house under the direction of RAF SIMONS. The bottles and packaging both reflect Simons desire to get back to the sensual heart of CALVIN KLEIN, to the bare essentials of the house and its iconic fragrances, while at the same time heralding a fresh beginning.

There is a notion of going back to go forwards in the bottles, packaging, scents and advertising of OBSESSED. A celebration of CALVIN KLEIN past, present and future.

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