Ask anyone what the most recognized fragrance in the world is, and their answer will undoubtedly be: Chanel No. 5.
It’s the most celebrated and best-selling perfume in history, with a mysterious formula that stood the test of time. In Gabrielle Chanel’s words, it’s “a woman’s perfume with a woman’s scent”.
To celebrate 100 years of its legacy, the heritage house is releasing a special episode as part of their Inside Chanel stories (a collection of videos retelling the heritage of the French fashion house) tracing the revolutionary journey of No. 5.
Wondering how it all began? In 1921, when Mademoiselle Chanel enlisted perfumer Ernest Beaux to create a woman’s scent that embodied her simple, elegant and well thought out designs, making her the first couturier to create a perfume by a woman for women.
A popular anecdote about No. 5 is forever engraved in our minds: that of its name. The fragrance got the No. 5 naming because it was simply the fifth scent that Beaux presented to the designer.
Since its release, No. 5 enjoyed a long streak of success with modern icons tying their name to its legacy. Marilyn Monroe confessed that she only wore a few drops of No. 5 in bed and the likes of Catherine Deneuve, Carole Bouquet, Nicole Kidman and Marion Cottillard have become ambassadors of the timeless fragrance.
Over the years, No.5 was transformed into an eternal visual symbol by some of the greatest image masters including Helmut Newton, Irving Penn, Ridley Scott and Jean-Paul Goude to name just a few. Andy Warhol even produced a series of screen prints in 1980 that ended up on the walls of the MoMA.
Watch the Inside Chanel episode here: