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5 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Chanel No.5

100 years on from its initial conception, the Chanel No.5 continues to reign as an icon both within the maison and in the olfactory realm. If you aren't already acquainted, here's your crash course.

The house of Chanel is the birthplace of many icons throughout history. Amongst them and perhaps, the most prominent of them, is the maison’s iconic fragrance. The Chanel No.5. Since its conception in 1921 by Mademoiselle Coco Chanel, the scent has gone on to become not only a house icon but also one of unparalleled status in the olfactory realm and the most popular fragrance in the world.

This year is a special one for Chanel No.5. It marks the fragrance’s 100th year – a considerable feat to say the least. The floral, sparkling scent’s allure is unmatched. Think the intricacies of a couture gown but applied to the creation of a fragrance. And the perfume itself, you could compare to the timelessness of a Chanel tweed jacket. While the scent itself has changed throughout the years with changing tastes and the evolution of the raw ingredients itself, the appeal of Chanel No.5 is notwithstanding. If you weren’t already acquainted with the history of the Chanel No.5, here’s your crash course.

#1 The perfumer behind the scent

Coco Chanel took her idea of wanting to create a “woman’s fragrance that smells like a woman” to master perfumer Ernest Beaux. The Russian-born French perfumer then went on to become the maison’s very first perfumer. It took Beaux several months to but eventually, he presented Chanel with 10 samples numbered from one to five and 20 to 24.

#2 The origin of its name

Did you catch the clue in #1? It’s been said that Chanel picked the fifth sample Beaux had presented to her. It also happened to be her favourite number. And the iconic fragrance was officially launched on 5 May 1921 – the fifth month of the year, on the fifth day of the month.

#3 The boundary-breaking history of its conception

At the time of its creation, Chanel No. 5 was the first fragrance to break perfume-making traditions by creating an abstract fragrance that was not just made up of a singular flower. The key floral notes of Chanel No. 5 consist of May rose, jasmine, and ylang‐ylang amongst others.

#4 The inspiration behind the iconic bottle

You’d recognise a Chanel No.5 from its shadow – that’s just how iconic bottle’s boxy silhouette has shaped up to become. The first bottle designed in 1921 by Chanel herself, was inspired in part by the geometry of the Place Vendôme which she could gaze at from the balcony of her room at the Ritz in Paris. You could see it in the bottle’s stopper cut like a diamond. Since then, the bottle has been redesigned but its distinct shape and clean lines remain.

#5 Chanel No.5’s famous fans

The fragrance’s most notable wearer is none other than Marilyn Monroe, who famously said that she wore No.5 and nothing else to bed.

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