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There are anniversaries to be remembered. This year CHANEL is celebrating the 100th anniversary of its iconic fragrance CHANEL N°5. From its inception in 1921, it became the ultimate icon of the modern fragrance, a true revolution at its launch. While the perfumery market lives on life-cycles of 2 years, true creations with a soul cross decades and still represent a leading voice to the industry. CHANEL N°5 shattered uses and conventions from its creation. In the early 1920s, Gabrielle Chanel had already changed fashion outlook by offering a new allure. Her first fragrance is in line with her innovative creations of highly studied simplicity. Revolutionary in its composition, CHANEL N°5 is also the first perfume imagined by a woman for women.

CHANEL N°5: A true revolution

When Gabrielle Chanel met with Ernest Beaux, master perfumer to the Tsars, she knew she has found the right artist to translate her modern ideas of revolution into a fragrance. A lot of myths are told about how CHANEL N°5 was created. But what is important to highlight is that it was a true revolution at its launch and opened a new era of modernity for the entire fragrance industry.

Away from a traditional figurative perfumery, CHANEL N°5 introduced what you see in art with Cubism, Dadaïsm and Surrealism. It was a different way to interpret nature. There was an artistic intention. We have a dazzling bouquet. Mademoiselle boosted the jasmine, the ylang-ylang, and the rose, yet no single identifiable note is left in my wake. Thanks to the aldehydes’ magical alchemy, CHANEL N°5 throw people off the scent, not evoking any one flower, to become “a woman’s fragrance with the woman scent”.

CHANEL N°5 defined a new departure in the world of perfumery, which at a stroke made all the fashionable fragrances of the period seem old hat. Gabrielle Chanel came up with a perfume as no one had ever before imagined. It sublimed women, their look and above all their personality.

CHANEL N°5 is the very essence of femininity. An aldehyde floral bouquet housed in an iconic bottle with a minimalist design. A timeless, legendary fragrance. An abstract fragrance that reveals a delectably powdered bouquet, the N°5 Parfum is the quintessence of femininity. Top notes of Neroli from Grasse blend into the sensual, floral notes of two exceptional raw materials, May Rose and Jasmine from Grasse. Aldehydes provide airy freshness and lend an abstract effect to the fragrance. CHANEL is also a rare fragrance house to keep the whole range from Parfum to Eau de Parfum and Eau de Toilette. The Parfum version is divine. Mademoiselle Chanel would advise women to wear the fragrance wherever they would like to be kissed: neck, wrist or decolleté.


CHANEL N°5: A Modern Myth And An Icon

When Marilyn Monroe declared that she only wore a few drops of N°5 in bed, it set the myth of CHANEL N°5 forever, a coming together of absolute femininity and absolute perfume. No fragrance would reach such an ultimate connection with femininity and it would become a social reference.

Whether it be Marilyn Monroe turning it into a myth by confessing she only wore a few drops in bed or Andy Warhol screen printing it as a pop art icon, over time, CHANEL N°5 has acquired the status of a global cultural phenomenon. The first perfume to be advertised on TV has inspired some of the greatest image masters — Helmut Newton, Irving Penn, Ridley Scott, Jean-Paul Goude, or Baz Luhrmann — and become a visual symbol that has never lost touch with the contemporary creative scene. Because the world’s most popular perfume of all time needs adequate representation, it has chosen muses who, throughout the world, embody elegance and seduction without undermining their own personality: Catherine Deneuve, Carole Bouquet, Nicole Kidman or currently Marion Cotillard are among the ambassadresses who, by their spirit and modernity, lift CHANEL N°5 into the eternal feminine pantheon for posterity.


Mythological status has never consigned CHANEL N°5 to museum shelves, even though its box was exhibited at the MoMA, New York in 1959. Through its history, its image and its very essence N°5 remains the backdrop to countless stories, even the most intimate. CHANEL N°5 is made for those who, like Mademoiselle Chanel, choose who they want to be, and become it. It is a perfume that, like a coat of invisible armour, gives the strength to face life. Backed with its 100 years of celebrity, N°5 will always be one step ahead.

Wishing CHANEL N°5 a beautiful 100th anniversary and a fantastic incoming more 100 years of celebrity.

José Amorim
Information sourced by the author for All content is copyrighted with no reproduction rights available. Images are for illustration purposes only and courtesy of CHANEL.