Genderless Fragrance Has Finally Moved Out Of The Niche World
Elle India|October 2021
Genderless fragrance has finally moved out of the niche world and into the mainstream
Souzan Michael Galway

In 1994, Calvin Klein launched CK One, the first unisex fragrance to gain mainstream popularity in North America. You might remember the iconic ad campaign, starring a then 20-year-old Kate Moss in a delightfully chaotic teenage scene alongside a handful of half-dressed male and female models. The campaign’s slogan (“A new fragrance for a man or a woman”) reflected the scent itself: bright, uncomplicated, casual.

It became one of the defining scents of the ’90s. CK One was a fragrance for anyone and everyone, and it was everywhere. With such astounding commercial success, it would not have been unreasonable to believe that the blend, a perfect balance of traditionally masculine and feminine notes, was set to kick off a unisex-fragrance movement rather than become a bottled time capsule representing a specific moment in beauty history.

While mainstream unisex fragrance launches did not completely fizzle out post-CK One (there was 2005’s Gaultier 2 by Jean Paul Gaultier and Comme des Garçons’ 2010 release, Wonderwood, among others), fragrances continued to remain largely separated by gender. But 26 years after the launch of CK One, unisex designer fragrances are finally solidifying their place in the industry. “Younger generations don’t think of gender in such rigid ways,” says perfumer Alberto Morillas, the mastermind behind CK One (which he says “laid the foundation for a new type of fragrance expression that’s more relevant than ever”). “Today’s generation values purpose, authenticity, and inclusivity.”

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