Wednesday, April 7, 2010

chanel no 5: the anti-rose

chanel Nº 5 was coco chanel's first perfume and remains her most popular. in 1921, coco comissioned ernest beaux to concoct a scent that smelled like the antithesis to roses. "i want to give women an artificial perfume. yes, I really do mean artificial, like a dress, something that has been made. i don't want any rose or lily of the valley, i want a perfume that is a composition." the spicy perfume contains synthetic aldehydes, ylang-ylang, jasmine, rose, neroli, vanilla, and vetivera and adheres to coco's belief that "a woman should smell like a woman, not flowers." (see baz luhrmann's short film for chanel no 5 here). the design for the bottle was inspired by the place vendome (the same plaza that the ritz is in) and was reserved as an exclusive gift for loyal chanel clients. it quickly became the world's most sought after fragrance; in 1953, reporters asked marilyn monroe what she wore to bed to which she responded "why, chanel Nº 5 of course.". in 1959, warhol made nine silk-screen prints of the perfume; and the packaging is even a part of the MoMA's permanent collection.
in college, a full bottle of my chanel Nº 5 fell took a fatal fall off my dresser smashing onto the ground and permeating it's wonderfully synthetic aroma throughout my suite for weeks. to make matters worse, my roommates (like too many young women) couldn't stand the scent. perhaps learning about it's composition will inspire you to give it a second chance? it's all i wear.


W Duane said...

She has become something of a saint in France. She was an awful person though.

Californian said...

This map looks awesome.

Heaven said...

I did an essay on Chanel in my freshman year of college. She was involved with so many revolutionary things, this perfume being one of them. It definitely isn't my favorite scent, but there is so much more to it than just the scent. Truly classic.

Anonymous said...



Alina said...

Freakin awesome. I'm not a fan of the scent either, but it's definitely very nice to read the story behind it.

Alina :)

mickeylovesb said...

Didn't know that.
I love the scent, just thought I'd save it for when I get older. Not saying this one's relevant to the 'old' comment but my Gran loves the scent but lost her bottle a while back and I'm determined to buy her one next chance I get :)

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