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This new fragrance campaign features some of the most inspiring women in entertainment

This new fragrance campaign features some of the most inspiring women in entertainment

Women power

Text: Renée Batchelor


Trust Calvin Klein to deliver a fragrance campaign with real power — featuring women from Eartha Kitt to Lupita Nyong'o

Growing up a child of the '90s, Calvin Klein fragrances have always held a certain cachet. From the sexy minimalism of the Obsession ads that featured Kate Moss and Mario Sorrenti, to the timeless elegance of the Eternity fragrances — these casual, powerful, and raw images were seared into our collective consciousness and defined the era. So we were chuffed (and not surprised) to see Calvin Klein's newest campaign for its scent Women. The fragrance is also the first ever created by Raf Simon, the chief creative office of Calvin Klein.

First up, the two women chosen for the new fragrance — Lupita Nyong'o and Saoirse Ronan — encapsulate the complexity, integrity and global citizenry of today's modern women to a T. Nyong'o is not just a global citizen (born in Mexico City, raised in Kenya and educated in the US) and an Oscar-winning actress, but is involved in philanthropic efforts including Mother Health International in Uganda and with WildAid, an anti-animal poaching organisation, in Kenya. Ronan meanwhile is an American-born Irish actress of astounding pedigree — she had three Academy Awards nominations before the age of 23 — but who is also involved with the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. Both women also possess a singular, almost calming, natural beauty that lends itself well to the elegant campaign.

In keeping with the idea of women inspiring other women, artist Anne Collier, who worked on the visual campaign with Lloyd & Co also invited Nyong'o and Ronan to identify iconic women that influenced them. Nyong'o chose singer, actress and comedian Eartha Kitt and actress Katharine Hepburn saying, "Eartha Kitt and Katharine Hepburn are examples of people who didn't accept the status quo; they made room for themselves. I am drawn to their integrity, and their ability to speak up and speak out for what they believe in, to change the course of history. I admire their fierce artistic points of view and that they did not betray themselves. I aspire to be similarly authentic and full of integrity." The women that Ronan chose were equally enigmatic and iconic, actress Sissy Spacek and singer Nina Simone. Says Ronan, "Sissy Spacek has this openness to her, this presence. She seems to have a willingness to try anything and go anywhere. She was free — and a pioneer. Nina Simone was able to shape the music industry and herself, make it into what she needed it to be. What it boils down to is — does somebody else’s work affect you? Does it strike a chord? Seeing people doing something that they’re passionate about is inspiring. It encourages you to do the same, to feel the same.” 

Calvin Klein Women fragrance

Not only is the campaign striking in its simplicity, a word has to be said about the beautiful flaçon for Women. Calvin Klein's CK One set the bar pretty high in the 1994 with the almost aggressively modern, grunge-infused screw top bottle, which looked almost like a cheap bottle of convenience store whisky bought on the fly. This devil-may-care attitude of the bottle connected with the disaffected youth at its target perfectly. This time round, the flaçon is reimagined as objet d'art. Created by Suzanne Dalton in collaboration with Collier, the bottle itself has soft, rounded edges and a familiar weightiness. It is juxtaposed with the cap that is graphic, oversized and disc-shaped featuring a photographic print of an eye by Collier. It's certainly something that is a spectacle in itself. The fragrance inside, created by perfumers Annick Menardo and Honorine Blanc, is a clever play on contrasts. Don't let the light pink juice fool you. This melds strength and fragility with three core ingredients: Orange flower petals, fresh eucalyptus acorns and cedarwood. Enhanced with secondary notes including Magnolia grandiflora, olibanum essential oil and jasmine absolute, the result is a seductive, woody floral that is an apt portrait of modern femininity.

From $93 to $165. Available from all leading department stores from 27 September

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