Chanel No. 5, a timeless scent

Chanel No. 5 is the perfume that became so famous that nowadays it is said that every 30 seconds a bottle is slid over the counter. But what is the story behind this wonderful perfume that was launched by Coco Chanel?

The history of No. 5

Since the release of No.5 in 1921 the perfume is indispensable from perfumery. But why does the perfume bear this name? The story goes that Coco Chanel asked the well-known perfume mixer Ernest Beaux to create six perfumes for her from which she would choose her favorite. She would add this perfume to her assortment. The six perfumes simply became No.1 to No. 6. As the name of the perfume suggests, the bottle was five preferred by Coco Chanel. Coincidentally, the number five was also the lucky number of the Frenchwoman.
Coco Chanel had thought that the perfume that she would put on the market with her brand had to be the most expensive perfume. Because jasmine oil was the most expensive oil used for the preparation of perfumes, jasmine oil is the basis of no. 5. Besides the most expensive perfume, Chanel also had the ambition to bring the cheapest perfume on the market. Jean Patou, however, preceded her with his perfume Joy. Coco Chanel said about this that women who carried Joy show what their lives were like, worthless.
This did not prevent her from stopping with No.5. In 1921 she let the perfume smell to friends for the first time. In the beginning Chanel decided to leave the perfume free of charge to clients who came to buy from her in the store. She also sprayed the perfume in the fitting rooms to give it a pleasant scent.
In 1924, perfume became a true venture. Coco Chanel was helped by Pierre Wertheimer. He had a share of 70%, against 10% of Chanel and 20% of a friend named Bader. Chanel agreed to such a small share on condition that she was given full control over the product itself. This happened and to this day the perfume company is in the hands of the Wertheimer family.


What Coco Chanel wanted to give women with this perfume was a completely made perfume. Not just a natural scent, but a composition of scents. No.5 therefore became known as the first perfume that heavily depends on synthetic scents. Chanel believed that a non-natural perfume would emphasize the natural beauty of the wearer. That is why the perfume is said to be successful.
No.5 is available in various forms, pure perfume, eau de toilette and eau de cologne. Eau de cologne has been removed from the series and eau de parfum has been added instead.

No.5 and the success

  • In the 50s, the perfume suddenly became much more popular. This was because the perfume was first sold in the United States and the very popular Marilyn Monroe became a fan of the fragrance. Her very famous answer to the question of what she wears in bed was: Why, Chanel No. 5 of course.
  • Andy Warhal made no. 5 even more famous by making nine silk paintings of the perfume that were placed in the MoMA in 1959.
  • Nicole Kidman was in the news when she was paid five million in 2004 to include an advertisement for No. 5.

Video: Chanel No. 5: The Art and Science Behind a Timeless Perfume (February 2020).

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