When we talk about “No. 5” we are not just talking about a perfume, we are talking about history and one of the female fragrances par excellence.
In 1921, Coco Chanel was already a world-renowned fashion designer. It had boutiques in Paris, Deauville and Biarritz; it owned one of the most wonderful villas in the south of France; it drove its own blue Rolls Royce and had managed to change the woman’s image with its new models.
An elegant, feminine and modern woman image, but she had not yet created a fragrance that would represent and materialize the concerns of this new splint.
The perfumes on the market were not to their liking. Most of them were monophoral perfumes that did not express the personality of the woman Chanel at all.
It was then that she decided to create her perfume. A sophisticated perfume, fresh, soft and clean, like the smell of soap she remembered from her childhood.
During a summer holiday on the Cote d’Azur, she heard of a perfumer named Ernest Beaux who had worked for the Russian tsars and lived nearby, in Grasse, the center of the perfumery industry.
Coco showed up to see him with her project in her hands, and Beaux accepted the challenge. It took him several months to find the new fragrance, but he got ten samples and presented them to Chanel.
She chose No. 5 because it contained essences of orange, jasmine, rose, sandalo wood, and vanilla… among others, and because the fragrance reminded her of the fields of the south of France where he spent her childhood.
To this No. 5, Beaux had added an unknown organic component (then) called aldehyde, which fixed and intensified floral olfactory notes without the need to add more essences. Smelling her perfume she said, “It was what she was waiting for. A unique perfume. A perfume of woman with essence of woman”.
This perfume required a special, unique, elegant and simple-line packaging, totally opposed to the Baroque packaging of the time. For this purpose the perfect perfume bottle was created, which became one of the characteristics and image of the same perfume. The first model had rounded edges, and in 1924 it was changed to make it more robust, minimalist and simple.
Chanel got down to business promoting her perfume. In the beginning, she gave some bottles to her best clients and sprayed them with one of the rooms of the Casa Chanel. The perfume was so successful that it became an exclusive perfume for Chanel clients.
In April 1924 the “Les Parfums Chanel” society was founded and the famous Belle Epoque cartoonist, Georges Goursat, known as Sem, would be in charge of the artistic direction. From that moment on, the perfume would begin to be marketed throughout the world. No. 5 became the perfume of the 20th century. Some specialists agree that there is a before and after No. 5 in the history of perfumery.
Chanel Nº 5 was identified with luxury and elegance, with the delicacy of women, with conquering seduction, to such an extent that at the end of World War II American soldiers queued endless lines at the Paris boutique to buy a No. 5 jar for your girlfriends and wives.
The air of modernity of her would be recognized by all the women of the time. So much so, that the movie star Marilyn Monroe, after being asked by a journalist who was going to sleep, she would reply: “A few drops of Nº5 …” and Andy Warhol dedicates a series of photographs to her that were exhibited at the MOMA.
However, not everything was a bed of roses. By the end of the 1960s the perception of sophistication had disappeared and the N en5 was at risk of being identified as an old-fashioned fragrance. So, in 1974, when Alain Wertheimer took control of the company as CEO and recognized the potential that N˚5 had to become an icon and promptly launched a plan that would transform perfume from a decaying product to being. the cornerstone of the brand and appointed Jacques Helleau, artistic director of the brand. He, in turn, hired Richard Avedon, who presented a spectacular campaign, starring Catherine Deneuve, which has served as a source of inspiration to this day. Which meant that Chanel became one of the most prestigious brands in the world and influenced the marketing of luxury products in general.
Ines de la Fressange, CaroleBouquet, Estela Warren, Nicole Kidman, Audrey Tautou, Gisele Bündchen, Keira Knightley, Lily-Rose Depp and Brad Pitt are some of the faces that have starred in the campaigns for N ° 5. To commemorate the centenary of the historic perfume, Chanel has featured director Johan Renck, choreographer Ryan Heffington and Marion Cotillard and JérémieBélingar as main characters.
Chanel N ° 5 is the maison’s most iconic perfume and a symbol of sophistication, feminine avant-garde, love and heartbreak, freshness and sobriety.