Chanel No. 5 perfume was created in 1921 by Gabrielle Coco Chanel, a clever French fashion designer and businesswoman, who’s also the founder of Chanel brand. It is a fragrance of class with so much sophistication and refined taste that represents everything true, elegant, stylish, and powerful of a woman who has an eye for unwavering beauty and astuteness. After several decades in the fashion industry, Chanel No. 5 is still one of the best-selling perfumes in the world— thanks to its timeless beauty, Parisian style, integrity, and uncompromised quality.
Meet the Minds behind Chanel No. 5
While Coco Chanel had set up a series of successful boutiques in Biarritz, Deauville, and Paris, her passion to take fashion to the next level drove her into trying to create a scent that could describe the new, modern woman she epitomized. To create a very fresh fragrance in those days, however, manufacturers could only use citruses such as lemon, orange, and bergamot.
Although they could achieve the desired freshness, the fragrances usually didn’t last on the skin and some were extremely powerful. So, some perfumers were cautious about using them. Well, this compelled Chanel to create an out-of-the-box perfume for her best clients, a perfume that imbues this freshness on a few drops, safely. However, finding a perfumer who could achieve this proved quite challenging for Chanel.
During her summer holiday on the Cote d’Azur in the late 1920, Chanel learned of Ernest Beaux, a French-Russian chemist and perfumer who lived in Grasse (center of the perfume industry). He had also worked for the Russian royal family.
Well, Ernest Beaux accepted the challenge to help Coco Chanel create a perfect woman fragrance, with the scent of a woman.
A brand-new kind of fragrance was created!
After several months of trying to create a perfect new fragrance, the curious and daring Beaux managed to develop 10 samples that he presented to Chanel for approval. The samples were numbered 1 to 5 and 20 to 24, and she chose the 5th proposal, which was “Chanel No. 5 fragrance”. The new perfume was then launched on the fifth day of the fifth month of 1921.
What’s special about Chanel No.5 composition?
Chanel No.5 is a very complex fragrance with a unique composition of notes that make it hard to distinguish the individual ingredients, what exactly Chanel wanted. It is one of the first-ever fragrances to use aldehydes, synthetic notes that offer unique expressions and their subtle combined effects as opposed to using strong notes of actual flowers. The aldehydes in No.5 are accompanied by fragrances of jasmine, rose, vanilla, and sandalwood that are pleasant to the nose. The aldehydes scent is pure and fresh, and experts often describe it as the smell of clean and dried laundry that has just been brought into the house from the fresh frosty air.
The effervescent top notes are composed of bergamot, neroli, ylang-ylang, jasmine, rose, Iris, Lily-of-the-Valley, and an overdose of floral-citrus-soapy aldehydes, while the base is designed of amber, vetiver, vanilla, patchouli, and sandalwood.
It is believed that Ernest Beaux drew his inspiration for the creation of Chanel No.5 from the unique smell of frozen water in lakes and rivers at night, during his visits to the Arctic Circle.
Chanel No.5 Instant success
During the celebration of this new fragrance, Chanel invited Beaux and friends to a famous classy restaurant on Riviera. She sprayed the perfume around the table, and to her surprise, it drew a lot of attention from women that were passing by. It literally stopped each one of them in their tracks that they had to find where the fragrance came from, and that’s the moment Chanel confirmed that No.5 was going to be a legendary perfume.
The fragrance became increasingly popular thanks to the many well-known celebrities that wore it, notably Marilyn Monroe. The name of this star is connected to Chanel No.5 because, during an interview, she admitted to wearing only a few drops of the perfume to bed. And since this interview in 1954, the fragrance has always been one of the top choices for millions of women from all over the world, including celebrities such as Celine Dion and Victoria Beckham.
Today, at least a bottle of the fragrance is sold worldwide in every 30 seconds. If you get a chance to compare vintage bottles of Chanel No.5 with each succession until you reach the modern version, you’ll understand that this fragrance can never be old-fashioned. Its character is still preserved and can fulfill all your desires; elegance, beauty, quality.