Inside Chanel: No. 5

For the first time, Chanel is telling the story of their iconic brand online via chapters told in video format. Chapter 1 reveals the story behind the brand’s most famous creation: Chanel No. 5, or “how a revolutionary scent created in 1921 continues to be the best-selling and most famous fragrance in the world.” Seeking, in her own words, to create “a woman’s perfume with a woman’s scent” Chanel commissioned perfumer Ernest Beaux to create the fragrance. In search of inspiration Beaux ventured as far as the arctic circle.

Many aspects of No. 5 are truly revolutionary.

  • Coco Chanel, in 1921, was the first couturier to break into the insular world of perfume
  • At the time, it defied the convention of perfume which glorified the “soliflore,” or a single flower fragrance
  • The final formula, a bouquet of over 80 scents, contains jasmine, Mai rose, Haitian vetiver, ylang ylang, sandalwood, orange blossom, neroli and brazilian tonka beans
  • Beaux’s use of aldehydes in the formula was highly innovative. Aldehydes are “synthetic components which exalt perfume, like lemon which accentuates the taste of strawberry”
  • The code-like name, No. 5, made sentimental names for perfumes of the time seem instantly dated
  • The simple, laboratory-like packaging was very original
  • No. 5 paved new advertising paths for a perfume, including a Super Bowl commercial

Today, nearly one hundred years after it was created, No. 5 remains the best selling and most famous perfume on the market.


Chanel No. 5
What’s in a name? Chanel selected the fifth sample created by perfumer Ernest Beaux


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *