Calvin Klein and the Unisex Fragrance Boom

A common avenue of communication between the individual and society, fashion reflects standing, role and personality, while also expressing mood and opinion. Therefore, in the same way that designers in the 1990s began to create clothes for people who wanted to stand out from the crowd, it was inevitable that unisex fragrances would etch themselves into the consciousness of an ever-growing number of people.

Calvin Klein

Calvin Klein, a brand known for avoiding stereotypes and having no limits, also quickly jumped on the bandwagon. CK could easily be regarded as the queen of fragrances thanks to its large line of products, offering something for every personality and situation.

But how did CK become a genuine concept? Simple – through its empathy for the needs of fashion lovers and its ability to quickly respond to their demands. The brand soon went from reflecting trends to actually creating them. It seized an opportunity with the ascent of androgynous fashion, the shift in the gender roles at home and the opinion that fragrance should not be gender-defined. 

The truth is, no (chemical) formula exists to separate scents into masculine and feminine; in fact, the whole problem is more cultural and social than something biological. We have long been trained to think that sweet floral scents are solely the domain of women, while rugged, woody, leather notes are masculine. The popularity of CK fragrances lies in their ability to create scents in response to a range of personalities. Skin and body chemistry play the main role in the way a fragrance is presented, so one perfume does not smell the same on everyone. Working with this effect, CK has broadened its portfolio to ensure that everyone can find something to complement their personality.

Calvin Klein embodies freedom, modernity, clean lines, and a simple style. The same is true for their perfumes, which are iconic for both their unmistakable fragrance compositions and their perfect bottle design that radiates elegance, sophistication, and style.

The Birth of CK One

CK perfumes

Although CK One was not the first unisex scent on the market, it was THE fragrance that made perfume for both women and men a hot trend in the nineties. A symbol of youthfulness and open-mindedness, CK One’s uniqueness lies in its versatility and the variability of the fragrant essences. It opens fresh and citrusy, the heart features jasmine, iris, violet, and nutmeg, while the base has earthier notes of musk, cedar, moss, and amber. Sold in a simple, minimalist bottle, the perfume is neither overpowering nor too sweet and “effeminate”. The perfume can also be purchased with or without an atomizer.

CK Be and CK All

CK fragrances

After a two-year break, in 1996 Calvin Klein released CK Be, an oriental and woody unisex fragrance, as a harmonic counterpart to CK One. Featuring greater sensuality, it is excellent for all individuals and adventurers. The stylish black bottle contains notes of lavender, bergamot and mint with a heart of magnolia, peach and freesia. The base is composed of animal combinations of resin, cedar, musk, vanilla, sandalwood, and amber. CK Be is an unassuming caress for those around you, and is therefore ideal for the evening.

CK All was the third to be launched in early 2017. It is a juicier, bolder fragrance. After two decades, Calvin Klein has again treated us to a perfume with a fresh citrus opening, this time with a blend of bergamot. The head passes into a floral heart of freesia, rhubarb, and lily, followed by base notes of vetiver, musk, and amber. It has been deemed a pleasant fragrance with universal use. The CK trilogy is therefore captured by the compelling slogan: “Be One. Be All. Just Be.”

CK2 as the Generation Y Fragrance

CK fragrances

The new Generation Y, also called Millennials, has a fragrance created especially for them, CK2. Millennials launched a second wave of unisex trends extolled by celebrities such as Cara Delevingne, Zayn Malik and Gigi Hadid. Gender non-alignment is the rage today, and fashion seems to have abandoned all the rules. Nonconformity, originality, and freedom are the guiding principles of today’s generation, and Calvin Klein has again taken up the baton.

Introduced in 2016, CK2 celebrates the endless possibilities of the modern connection between two people and infinite points of view. It is an urban, woody, fresh scent combining contrasting freshness and sparkling accords in keeping with the rapid pace of the 21st century. The fragrance opens with citrus and green notes of wasabi, expands into rose and iris, and finishes with vetiver, incense, and sandalwood.

The bottle, a strong glass cylinder on a clear base, ensures the perfume’s visibility either reversed or in profile, making the packaging almost a minimalist toy open to a range of interpretation.