Calvin Klein Obsession for Women launched in 1985 when I was 14 years old. I remember how profoundly the Calvin Klein brand permeated 80’s culture. I remember the scandalous Brooke Shield’s jean commercials followed by the oddly androgynous and creepy child-porn Obsession perfume commercials. I never wore Obsession when I was a teenager. I was fixated on florals and florientals. It probably wasn’t until I dove headfirst into my perfume habit in the very late 1990s (around 1999 I’d guess) when I first purchased and wore Obsession.
Lately I’ve been obsessed with Obsession (so sorry, I had to!). I’ve worn it a total of maybe 10 times since 1999 but all of a sudden over the past month I’ve worn if for days on end and I’m so impressed with it. It’s possible this new-found love for Obsession has something to do with the lack of good mainstream releases. When I compare Obsession with most celebrity scents and the latest stuff from CK, Gucci, Dior, Givenchy…well…pretty much EVERYTHING at Sephora (and almost everything which is a current bestseller) I come away thinking that Obsession is pretty fucking amazing. Obsession is a classic oriental. Truly classic. It’s also sublimely dry and unisex. It’s really a shame that Obsession is considered by many to be a “big over-the-top 80’s powerhouse” because I find it to be quite understated when not over-applied. Obsession isn’t anywhere near as sweet or powerful as most current bestsellers at Sephora such as Flowerbomb, Prada, Pink Sugar, Juicy Couture, Lolita Lempicka, Ralph Lauren Romance, Dior Miss Dior Cherie and so on. Maybe I’m just getting old and cranky (entirely possible!) but to disregard Obsession as dated or “too potent” seems short-sighted and inaccurate (or is the reformulated Obsession I now have drastically lighter?).
Recently I realized I can’t wear Shalimar but that doesn’t mean I don’t still love the idea of it. Orientals are one of my most favorite fragrance types and I especially like dry, spicy, ambery-incense type Orientals. Obsession is all this and more. It begins with the Shalimar-type citrus burst, which might be off-putting to those who don’t admire this sort of oriental. The vanilla and amber in Obsession are very close to the manner in which these notes are presented in Shalimar. This is not foodie vanilla. Obsession isn’t too-sweet and doesn’t have those jarringly synthetic musks like virtually everything launched since the early 2000s. This is a warm, spicy, ambery oriental that melds with your own personal chemistry especially in the dry down.
Vastly underrated, truly unisex, Obsession blooms then mellows into a spicy Oriental which is classic but still effortless. Obsession becomes me as opposed to the fragrance “wearing me.”
For those around my age or older, here’s a fun blast from the past (Ahh, the smell of it!)
Pretty creepy, no?!
Here's a newer commercial, I think this dates from 2001, Benicio del Toro and Heather Graham look so young!
I wonder when perfumes stop being considered "dated" and instead become enduring classics? Do you think Obsession is or will ever become a classic (be honest, I have thick skin)? Is Obsession already a classic? Do you think Coco by Chanel has made it into classic territory or is considered by most to be dated or in the dreaded "old lady" category? I'm just curious...