Coco Chanel is one of the most famous names in fashion and luxury still to this day. Since the 1920s, Chanel has changed the fashion world by launching elegant pieces and products. Even in this new generation women still feel empowered and glamourous whenever they wear anything from Chanel. One product that is extremely famous is the Chanel Perfume, Chanel N°5 and even in 2022, it is one of the most bought women’s fragrances.
Whether you like Chanel or not, you definitely see this fragrance in stores and being marketed. Why is this Chanel perfume so popular over a hundred years after its launch and why is it loved generations later?
The History of The Chanel N°5 Perfume
Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel introduced the Chanel N°5 scent in 1921. During this time, women’s perfume is mostly consisting of single-note floral scents which dominate the market. When Chanel drops this famous scent the mix of different tones and 80 notes and accords, it shakes up the fashion world. Also, prior to the 1920s women’s perfumes have fancy names and all come in similar bottles, unlike Chanel.
This Chanel perfume comes in a geometric bottle which people are still curious as to the inspiration. Chanel launching a perfume line is also a big deal at the time because fashion houses weren’t really making scents only clothes. Unlike now, where designers are dipping into different fields such as beauty, back then scents are left to fragrance companies. One of Chanel’s biggest rivals, Paul Poiret is the first fashion house to introduce a signature fragrance in 1911.
Unlike Chanel, he names the perfume after his daughter whereas Chanel places her name on every fragrance and every product.
Complexity of Notes
One reason why this perfume is so famous all these years later is its complex line of notes. Chanel N°5 is both recognizable and unique to each individual with a blend of over 80 notes and accords, from rich sandalwood to orange blossom. We all know as women, that some women’s fragrances, unfortunately, don’t last and fade away during the day too. Luckily, this formula includes aldehydes which are famous in perfumes for heightening the projection of ascent.
The strong percentage of aldehydes allowed the fragrance to linger on the wearer’s skin for an extended period of time, making it more suitable for “modern” women with busy lives.
Aside from the notes, the scent in general and mixes of notes are different than other perfumes at the time. In the 1920s respectable classy women are expected to smell like flowers whereas racy ladies famously wear musk or jasmine to attract men. Chanel wants to show that women can be sexy and pure, which is why she includes both tones in Chanel N°5. Chanel always has been about female empowerment and her voice on certain topics is unconventional at the time too.
The Perfume Bottle and Scent
“The vagueness around the perfume is part of the whole mystique and created quite intentionally by Beaux and Chanel,” says Lisa Chaney, author of Coco Chanel: An Intimate Life. “She wanted to give the message of modernity, She had this uncanny instinct for being one step ahead of her time.” She says. Chanel has a huge fixation with the number 5 which also makes perfume lovers curious still to this day.
Many people guess it’s because the perfume launch was also on May 5th, 1921! making the number more significant. Aside from the Chanel N°5 people are still to this day curious about the shape of the perfume bottle. Rumors are that the inspiration for the silhouette, including the stopper, mirrors the geometry of the Place Vendôme. This place is can be seen from Chanel’s favorite suite at The Ritz Paris.
After this new take on women’s perfume bottles, a change is seen in women’s fragrance.
One of the main reasons this Chanel perfume continues to take over is the advertising. Fragrance brands always have some very unique and interesting commercials, mostly featuring celebrities. A famous interview with Marilyn Monroe also helped give the fragrance a different image. In 1952, when asked by Life magazine what she usually wore to bed, Marilyn Monroe famously responded that she wore nothing but the fragrance to bed.
This interview had people buzzing the next day and women now wanting to also shop the fragrance. Aside from this, there are also celebrities with iconic advertisements for the perfume. One example is Catherine Deneuve in the 1970s, where the French pose with the perfume bottle. Other famous names such as Nicole Kidman and Rodrigo Santoro in 2003 were shot in a Chanel N.5 commercial.
This commercial featuring Nicole Kidman is one of the most popular and most expensive commercials of all time! She reportedly made $3 million from that Chanel N.5 commercial alone.