Perfume Directory

Contradiction (1997)
by Calvin Klein


Contradiction information

Year of Launch1997
AvailabilityIn Production
Average Rating
(based on 95 votes)

People and companies

HouseCalvin Klein
PerfumerAnn Gottlieb
PackagingFabien Baron
Parent CompanyBenckiser > Coty Inc > Coty Prestige
Parent Company at launchUnilever

About Contradiction

Contradiction is a feminine perfume by Calvin Klein. The scent was launched in 1997 and the fragrance was created by perfumer Ann Gottlieb. The bottle was designed by Fabien Baron

Reviews of Contradiction

Contradiction has been one of my favorites for the past five years. I didn't start studying perfume construction until recently, though, so I had no idea what it was "supposed" to smell like. To me it always smelled like salt and suntan lotion. I assumed it was a coy reference to the Seinfeld episode where Kramer comes up with an idea for a perfume that makes you smell like you've been at the beach.

I still cannot identify any of the notes mentioned; I guess maybe I can pick out an abstract floral and a bit of powder, although it's a salty, masculine powder, not usually what I would call powdery. I can't find any eucalyptus in there. But salt, suntan lotion, and hot sand are good enough for me.
29th April, 2016
mushroom Show all reviews
United Kingdom
Discovered today that this has been re-released for Xmas 2015. Not normally a Calvin Klein fan but tested it anyway and I have to say I love it. I'm personally not getting any of the negative points that has been experienced by other contributors, another reviewer reckons it's chemistry dependent, maybe. All I am getting is delightful florals and a lovely powdery scent with none of the metallic sharpness noted by others. Defo one to try before you buy, seems people either love it or hate it.
11th November, 2015
You don't hear too much about Calvin Klein's Contradiction these days, as it is often overshadowed by newer releases like Euphoria, CK IN2U and CK One. While I don't find it to be anything overly amazing, I fear that it may be the first fragrance to be discontinued in Calvin Klein's current collection, which would be such a shame.

Contradiction is a pleasant enough blend of delectable florals and powdery woods. The eucalyptus note in the heart, is possibly what causes some to refer to this fragrance as being metallic. I quite like the uniqueness of the eucalyptus note. I'm an Australian, from the country, so this particular note reminds me of home and the bush, which perhaps in turn makes me a fan. Escape for Men also gives me the same nostalgic feeling.

There is a definite powderiness to this fragrance, which is a good or bad thing depending on each person's personal taste. One review of this fragrance on MakeupAlley, likened Contradiction to the scent of a warm photo-copied sheet. I quite like that description, I think it is very apt and truthful.

I'm on the fence with Contradiction, while I like certain aspects of it, particularly the floral powderiness, the woodsy notes just don't work for me, neither does the lasting power which is relatively poor.

After a while, Contradiction becomes tiring and somewhat generic. The eucalyptus and the odd paper smell, is what keeps this fragrance alive and different. Every now and then it shows some similarities to Armani She.
22nd March, 2012
It has taken me about, let's see, fourteen years to figure out Calvin Klein CONTRADICTION, but I do believe that I just had a breakthrough: this perfume is an aromatic pseudo-chypre! This evening I decided to pull out from the back of my armoire the long languishing cylinder hiding quietly in its sleek matte aluminum sheath, having been reminded of its existence by a soothing eucalyptus-spearmint bath courtesy of the BBW Aromatherapy line. Since I even used the eucalyptus hair conditioner, which remains fragrant long after rinsing, my compatible perfume choices were severely limited. But then it popped into my mind: Calvin Klein CONTRADICTION, the only perfume in my collection with a significant eucalyptus component.

There's probably a reason why perfumers do not often reach for eucalyptus, and the mixed reception to this creation, the sole member of the classic CK collection to have been discontinued (at least to my knowledge...), may have a lot to do with it. CONTRADICTION is so unexpected and just plain weird that I strongly suspect that were it poured into a Serge Lutens bottle with a new label slapped on, say, NUAGES VERTES-GRISATRES, it would be sought out and perhaps even worshipped by countless niche-ees (no, not Nietzsche, though my understanding is that he did spend some time in Eze, along a path that I myself walked to GrasseŚso who knows? Perhaps he, too, really loved perfume and his pilgrimage to the environs of Eze led to the perfume capital of the world as well? On ne sait jamais.) But I digress...

While coming to terms once again with CONTRADICTION, the donning of which is always an event in itself because it is so very ODD, it dawned on my that the extreme eccentricity of this composition reminds me very much of SJP COVET. No, not the notes or even the structure of the compositions: the two are completely different. But they are united in their extreme, obstinate refusal to respect the orthodox genres of perfume, in addition to their fundamentally "challenging" demeanor. It takes some time to come to an appreciation of these perfumes. Those who are looking for instant gratification need not apply, because these creations are really quite demanding. I have no doubt that many a sniffer gave them a quick whiff and then summarily dismissed them, relegating them forever to their own private dustbin of olfactory history. In the case of CONTRADICTION, the orchid, lily, eucalyptus, and about a million other notes together produce an utterly unique creation, like nothing else I've ever smelled. Yet it's not the perfumic equivalent to a garbage pizza. No, not at all. An appealing chypre texture and strangely harmonic effect ultimately arise out of what might at first seem to be sheer cacophony.

Surprise: I was delighted to discover just now (after having compared the two C's in my mind...) that the perfumer who produced this radically other perfume is none other than...drum roll...Ann Gottlieb: the creator of COVET! Brava, cara! I am truly impressed!

Ordinarily, according to my own explicitly stated evaluation criteria (in my profile), I would only be able to give a thumbs up to a perfume in my collection which I had every intention of replenishing, but my 100ml bottle of CONTRADICTION remains one-third full after, well, fourteen years. No matter: I'm going to contradict my own evaluation scheme in honor of this splendidly original perfume.
24th October, 2011
I wore this extensively throughout high school, and remembered it as being soft and warm with a kick of spice. When I found a mini at my local perfume shop, I quickly snatched it up and applied to wrist immediately upon getting home.

*sigh* Either my memory of this scent is off, or this mini is off, as the eucalyptus dominates all the way through the long dry down. It's medicinal, sharp, and not to my liking. I get hints of the scent I remembered in the background, but the eucalyptus kicks it backstage, not wanting it to steal its spotlight.

I suppose the usage of sharp and sweet might've been the point of Contradiction, and as high school was over 10 years ago my skin chemistry is more than likely just different. I'm glad to have a mini for the nostalgia but I have no need to get a full bottle.
27th August, 2011
Someone get Ann Gottlieb out of Calvin's kitchen!
But I kid. This isn't Man. I actually like this one. I accidentally bought the feminine Contradiction at a discount store a couple years back and tried it, and though I loved the rose in the opening the strange metallic note that surfaced scared me away. I subsequently gave it to a friend and she pulled it off beautifully. All the florals were present and the whole thing seemed to have more body. What the heck? Contradiction is certainly chemistry-dependent, but if you've got the genetic makeup this is a nice modern floral indeed.
02nd February, 2011

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