Friday, September 08, 2006

Calvin Klein Contradiction

This is my mod space flower scent! If I were aboard the USS Enterprise and had ordered a "feminine perfume", a slender metallic bottle of Contradiction would have been the first to materialize. No offense to Calvin Klein but I thought at first it might smell a bit too sporty and mainstream for me. It's actually a soothing, aromatic type of scent (even with the sporty element says the perfsnob in me). Oh, what the hey--Contradiction won a FIFI in 1998--it's a classic now as far as I'm concerned so I will declare it my holy grail and enjoy it this fall. I'm just in awe that this has been discontinued. I think it's a wonderful work of olfactive art and wish I had discovered it back in 1997 when it launched.

I found this description online and have a feeling it's from the original CK campaign although I could be wrong since I haven't been able to find the source:

"Description: Contradiction reflects the ever-changing traits of human nature and allows women to experience their multiple facets : sexy, free, exultant, and achieve success both in their careers and with their family.
The fragrance presents contrasting features. The flowers are traditional on one hand - rose, peony, jasmine, lily of the valley and modern on the other: eucalyptus, pepper flower, seringa and orchid. The warm, sensual hues clash with the clear, sparkly top note of sandal and tonka, blending together hot and cold in an oriental-style scent. FRAGRANCE NOTES - Rose, Peony, Jasmine, Lily of the Valley, Eucalyptus, Pear Blossom, Syringa, Orchid, Sandal, Tonka."

Wow--even the description sounds like it was made for me. Hot and cold? Yes!

Contradiction was created by Ann Gottlieb who also created CK Euphoria. I would describe Contradiction as soapy-sweet fresh floral oriental woody vanillic. I feel it's a perfume for floral lovers like myself, even though I think it's marketed as Oriental. It has some base-heavy and sweet anchoring notes to satiate my desire for a touch of Gourmand, but it's not as heavy as I thought it might be based on the note description. On application, Contradiction is rather sharp and clean-smelling, like a good shampoo, only more intriguing. It gets sweeter and fuller-bodied over time. It's best in parfum, btw; my mini parfum is better in quality from the juice to the packaging than my 10ml EDP spray which has a rubbery-plasticky scent reminiscent of Lancome Attraction, plus a dull grey plastic cap instead of brushed aluminum. Nevertheless, I think Contradiction is a very sexy scent and so I keep getting told! This is not for the traditional perfume lover because it's slick and high tech-smelling, except for its heart of traditional classic florals. I think they smell fresh against the non-traditional, bold, aromatic elements. The overall impression is that of one harmonious, unique scent, not of flowers per se.

It's strange to me but every now and then, I think it smells sophisticated like a Chypre, very much like the dazzling green openings of Deneuve, Ivoire or Y, only modernized and clean. Maybe I'm reacting to the lilies.

Contradiction reminds me of the following perfumes but it doesn't resemble them too much, either:

Chanel Allure (creamy rose-vanilla), Laura Biagiotti Laura (watery rose vanilla), Vivienne Westwood Boudoir (patchouli-rose-amber-vanilla), Giorgio Beverly Hills Red (aromatic woody chypre oriental powdery aldehydic), Van Cleef & Arpels Birmane (aromatic fruity musky ambery), Geir Ness Laila (musky watery white florals), Fresh Sugar Blossom (musky white florals and vanilla), Christian Dior Dune (abstract marine redolent of lily, peony, sandalwood and broom, very '90s) and Liz Claibourne Realities (original) (also '90s--"therapeutic" chamomile, peach and creamy woods with vanilla), and finally, maybe shades of a vintage Floral like Revlon Intimate: bright, cheerful and flowery sweet, not quiet and well-mannered but like a celebration, heady and sensual, like you've fallen madly in love! CK Contradiction is your head in the high heavens though your feet are still on the ground as you find your balance for inner peace.

(Images: The fabulous bottle by Fabien Baron--from, and the original ad ("She's always and never the same"), Images de Parfums)