Women have push-up bras and now men have push-out pants. In September 2009’s Details, I was amused to read: “What gets between you and your Calvins this fall? Extra Calvin. Calvin Klein introduces Jeans Body, a new line of denim designed to enhance your silhouette. Special features include an inverted rear seam to frame your waist and butt as well as an extra layer of fabric on the fly to, um, fill out your package.” 1 It’ll certainly take a man with real balls to walk up to the cash register with these jeans in hand. Wearing Jeans Body jeans implies: “I need some help with my arse and my, um, package.” Calvin Klein, as a company, puzzles me.
Calvin Klein ck free was created by two perfumers and I won’t mention their names because Calvin Klein/Coty hiring noses to create ck free is like me hiring professional baker Elizabeth Falkner — then handing her a box of Duncan Hines cake mix as she walks into my kitchen to cook. ck free is so basic and formulaic no talent was needed to create it — it’s perfume-by-numbers.
ck free (supposedly) contains notes of star anise, jackfruit, juniper berry, absinthe, tobacco, suede, coffee, buchu, oakwood, patchouli, cedarwood and ironwood. I just might smell the overripe “jackfruit” note, but the other notes make me laugh — due to their absence. I smell the usual fruity-fresh opening, the woody middle, and light musky base of a run-of-the-mill, purely synthetic sports fragrance — and that’s it. I’ve smelled “this” fragrance over a hundred times.
A Macy’s sales rep told me ck free is “flying off the shelves.” I have no idea if that’s true, but if lots of guys are buying ck free, major perfume regression is taking place. With this year’s releases (Tom Ford Grey Vetiver, Diesel Only the Brave, True Religion for Men and Lauder Men Brasil Dream to name a few), I was sure men’s mainstream fragrances, and tastes, were improving, and “fresh” sport fragrances were passé. Maybe not.
ck free’s artificial-smelling juice is not something to seek out, but those push-out pants? Looking for Calvin Klein rear-view labels on the streets this fall and guessing what’s real, and what’s not, inside those jeans could be fun.
Calvin Klein ck free is available in 50 ($47) and 100 ($62) ml Eau de Toilette.
1. "Padding the Truth", pg. 150.