So apparently when Raf Simons took over at Calvin Klein, one of the first things he did was flick through the old campaign shots that Mario Sorrenti did for Obsession with this unknown young model, Kate Moss.
That’s totally what I would do.
“This one thing summed up Calvin Klein for us visually,” he says in a release (so it must be true). “It lived in our heads for so many years and became a touchstone of sensuality.”
You know what, I buy this. Seriously why wouldn’t you be digging up any collateral from your new brand’s heyday? We’ve all done it, flicked longingly through old photo albums, except now Facebook Memories hand them to us on a platter. And we’re not Kate Moss.
For that iconic campaign, Sorrenti (20) and Moss (18) were sent to the Virgin Islands for 10 days with a bag of clothes. No live stream, no stories, no make-up, certainly no filters other than a tan and good exposure. So it’s hardly a surprise that when a few outtakes were discovered, those stunningly beautiful pics (Moss took shots of Sorrenti too) have become the inspiration for Obsessed, a new fragrance that is not, I repeat not, a flanker of the original Obsession perfume, which was quite an intense spicy oriental.
Obsessed, instead, takes its inspiration from those can’t-tear-your-eyes-away images of Moss and their powerful nostalgia.
I know the 90’s are new again, and that this “discovery” is quite conveniently on-trend. But those images. Seriously. They are So. Damn. Gorgeous.
And so is the scent.
The brief then, was to recreate that memory of someone else on your skin. That remembered, carefree intimacy, long gone. To achieve it, perfumers Annick Menardo and Honorine Blanc jumped on that other 90’s trend, androgyny, and did it in the best way, creating tension, a familiarity yet otherness like knowing of another person’s body for the first time.
Playing on the classic Fougère structure that you probably recognize as a “guy smell”, Obsessed takes a risk and serves the acquired taste of turpenic Elemi in the opening, a sharp, fresh, pine-like resin, stimulating an intake of breathe, the shock of discovery, that jolt back in time.
Then it’s a classic, nostalgic heart of lavender, not old lady at all, but faintly familiar. It mingles with a savoury note of sage that softens the scent after that bracing opening. It’s not sweet or overly floral, it’s not masculine either, but manages to float somewhere in between.
In the base, a mélange of musks fuzzes out those heart notes as effectively as a movie fade out, but at the same time guarantees that last echoes of the fragrance cling to skin, clothes, sheets, just like a memory, lingering.
I love what Calvin Klein has done with this, and it’s going to be on high rotation this summer.