By Susan O'Neill Posted October 9, 2008, 5:35 PM EDT
TORONTO When Coty Canada began planning Tuesday's media launch for the new Calvin Klein fragrance Secret Obsession, the company wanted to create a sense of mystery and suspense for guests. “Since the name of the product is Secret Obsession, we wanted to invite all of the media members and really not reveal where they were going,“ said Aliki Mahshy, director of public relations and education for Coty Canada. So the company arranged for private cars to pick up guests and drive them to a location that remained “undisclosed,” Mahshy said.
Guests were dropped at the shipping entrance to a downtown building and taken through a subterranean tunnel of sorts to enter the event space, the the bank vault in the basement of the Suites at 1 King West. (The building, now a hotel, once housed the head office of the Dominion Bank of Canada.) “This location was so indicative of Secret Obsession. When we found this it was extremely intriguing to us. There’s a lot of caged elements and the idea or concept of unlocking something. It was really very fitting for this particular brand,” Mahshy said.
Next, organizers invited the 28 media guests to don blindfolds for a sensory experience in a dimly lit room adjacent to the vault. “We wanted everybody to have a little discomfort or an uncomfortable feeling. The whole idea with obsession or being obsessed is a bit awkward and uncomfortable and sort of pushes the emotional envelope,” Mahshy said.
Once blindfolded, guests experienced a series of what Mahshy referred to as “secret sensations.” An assistant led each guest through the room where they tasted a chocolate truffle, listened to old Obsession commercials on a pair of headphones, touched something silky—an item from Calvin Klein's new Seductive Comfort lingerie line—also unveiled at the event—and smelled the top, middle, and bottom notes of the new fragrance.
Church Street Flowers created floral arrangements designed to echo various elements of the fragrance, like the plum and rose de demas components of the scent, and Mahshy worked with Nicholas Pinney Design to dress the venue for the luncheon, held inside the actual vault. “The walls in there traditionally are striped wallpaper, and we just covered them and created a beautiful lunch seating area with the candelabras to add an aspect of glamour,” she said. “We wanted to create a very intimate atmosphere, but because of the nature of the fragrance, the nature of the underwear campaign, and the melding of the two together, we really wanted to create a very dark atmosphere with lots of candlelight so it was very moody, very provocative, very intriguing.”