Second coming: Calvin Klein’s CK2 taps into the zeitgeist once again

Calvin Klein has revealed CK2
Calvin Klein has revealed CK2, a new gender-neutral fragrance that features accompanying imagery created by Ryan McGinley
(Image credit: Calvin Klein)

It’s not often that you find a fragrance that defines a generation. In the case of CK One, the androgynous Calvin Klein fragrance that launched in 1994, everything from its supernormal flask-like bottle to its zesty, clean scent came to symbolise the grungy, carefree attitude of the 1990s.

Fast forward to over a decade later, and Calvin Klein’s follow-up effort CK2 hopes to tap into the zeitgeist once again. Like the original, the new CK2 perfume is gender-neutral, muddling together notes of wasabi and mandarin with sensual hints of rose and orris before ending in sandalwood, incense and vetiver. Rich yet energetic, the result is urban and fresh.

Aware that the bottle played a major part in CK One’s success, CK2 boasts a vessel designed by Cédric Ragot, who created products for Roche Bobois, Krups, Rosenthal and Panasonic, and sadly passed away last year. Ragot’s bottle, a futuristic glass capsule that sits on top of a square cap, snaps into its cap on both ends, thus articulating the different ways that people connect – the founding inspiration of the fragrance.

A final flourish comes in the form of the perfume’s print and film campaign, which has been photographed and directed by none other than Ryan McGinley. Shot in a variety of different environments that capture the raw spontaneity and uninhibited spirit of adventurous minds, McGinley distills the essence of youth in the sumptuous, evocative way that only he knows how.

The futuristic glass capsule.

Like its predecessor, CK2 boasts a vessel designed by Cédric Ragot. The futuristic glass capsule can snap into its square cap on both ends

(Image credit: Calvin Klein)

McGinley’s images capture the raw spontaneity and uninhibited spirit of youth

Wasabi and mandarin with hints of rose.

Inspired by different kinds of human relationships, CK2 muddles together notes of wasabi and mandarin with hints of rose and orris before ending in sandalwood, incense and vetiver for a rich and energetic finish

(Image credit: Calvin Klein)

CK2 muddles together notes of wasabi and mandarin.

A behind-the-scenes peek at McGinley's shoot

(Image credit: Calvin Klein)


CK2, $18–75, available in February exclusively from Macy’s. For more information, visit the store’s website

Pei-Ru Keh is a former US Editor at Wallpaper*. Born and raised in Singapore, she has been a New Yorker since 2013. Pei-Ru held various titles at Wallpaper* between 2007 and 2023. She reports on design, tech, art, architecture, fashion, beauty and lifestyle happenings in the United States, both in print and digitally. Pei-Ru took a key role in championing diversity and representation within Wallpaper's content pillars, actively seeking out stories that reflect a wide range of perspectives. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two children, and is currently learning how to drive.