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Chanel announced that Marion Cotillard will be the new face of the brand iconic fragrance: Chanel N°5. Every time CHANEL revealed a new Égérie for the legendary fragrance it hit big news around the world. For Marion Cotillard it is a great opportunity to be associated with one of the most outstanding luxury success stories of all time. Such an emotional decision generated a lot of debate and at LuxuryActivist, we decided to explain why it is the perfect choice for CHANEL.

Marion Cotillard: Talented, Bankable, French, Beautiful And With A Cause.

When asking to CHANEL why did they choose Marion Cotillard, the answer was simple and pretty obvious. CHANEL always wanted to associate its iconic fragrance to special women. Women who are symbols of freedom, modernity, glamour but with a cause. Coco Chanel helped a whole generation of women to liberate themselves from patriarchal standards and the French luxury house remain faithful to this heritage and contribute to helping the women condition in a very inspiring way.

On this note, we can say that the choice for Marion Cotillard was a perfect one. It is also a way to reconnect to the French soul of the brand. Choosing a French actress is for sure a great choice. Marion Cotillard represents a modern version of femininity. She is intelligent, naturally beautiful, internationally successful and she is by far the most bankable French actress today. She has the record for the most rewarded actress of all times for her role in the Mome, film in which she played the character of Edith Piaf. For this role she got the Golden Globes, the Oscars, the BAFTA and the Cannes Palme d’or for Best actress in a leading role.


But Marion Cotillard is not only an actress, but she is also more than that. The Oscar-winning actress has journeyed to the Antarctic as part of a Greenpeace expedition to highlight the “alarming rate” at which the continent is changing. …

“Our planet is a blue planet: the ocean covers more of it than every continent combined. We all have a responsibility to protect it.” – Marion Cotillard


The perfect incarnation of French natural beauty, Marion Cotillard has an irresistible “je ne sais quoi” that’s all her own. She is bringing her elegance to the image of the iconic N°5 fragrance. The new campaign will be unveiled later on this year.

CHANEL N°5 Original DNA Is About French Heritage.

While CHANEL became over the years an amazing multinational business, it remained loyal to its French roots and heritage. Coco CHANEL was and still is a great inspiration for all generations of women. Her personality and her values are more than ever relevant to today’s world where sometimes women struggle to be free and to accept who they are without any clichés.

Gabrielle Chanel – 1920

When in 1909, Gabrielle Chanel decided to launch her brand and opened a store at 160 Boulevard Malesherbes in Paris, she had already in mind a bigger plan at the level of her ambition. The next episode is when she decides to moves to the 21 Rue Cambon in Paris. In 1912, she opens a store in Deauville and Biarritz in 1915. These couture shops of Coco Chanel offered for sale prêt-à-porter sports clothes for women, the practical designs of which allowed the wearer to play sport. In 1918 she moves to the 31 Rue Cambon that will become the iconic address for the luxury house. And from there, she conquered the world and became a leading ambassador for the emancipation of women.

Chanel – 1916

1921 was the year when Coco Chanel decided to extend her creative universe to Fragrances. She commissioned Master Perfumer Ernest Beaux to create a perfume for La Maison Chanel. History tells that when submitting several types of fragrances to Mademoiselle Chanel, she preferred the fifth sample. Being labeled as N°5, she decided then to call her fragrance CHANEL N°5. Ernest Beaux created an overdose of a powerful, sparkling and modern note of C12 Aldehydes. This brought a dazzling and bright start of the fragrance, creating one of the firsts modern floral bouquets. It reinvented female traditional fragrances and still, beautiful flowers like the Grasse Jasmine were present to sublime the moment.


The interesting point of the early start of this fragrance is that you could not buy it. Coco Chanel would only offer her fragrance to her best female customers. This would create a strong emotional link with her clients and bring a differentiation point to each woman wearing CHANEL N°5 in her daily lives. Due to amazing success, CHANEL N°5 was commercialized from 1924 and spread around the world like the fragrance of elegant women with an attitude.


Above is by far one of my preferred ads from 1937 that could be launched today. It says: “Madame Gabrielle Chanel is above all an artist in living. Her dresses, her perfumes, are created with a faultless instinct for drama. Her Perfume N°5 is like the soft music that underlies the playing of a love scene. It kindles the imagination; indelibly fixes the scene in the memories of the players.”.

The myth was created and since then, several generations of women have dreamt of their lives in CHANEL.

CHANEL N°5 As The Epitomy of Femininity and Allure.

We are in April 1952, Marilyn Monroe is 26 years old and Life Magazine has her for the first time in the cover of the magazine. She is the new star in Hollywood. She just signed with the 20th Century Fox and already played in different movies. That year will be releasing 4 new movies and raised Marilyn Monroe to the rank of Super Star. In the Life Magazine interview, Marilyn declared that she wears only Chanel N°5 for sleeping. Basically, it was a clever way to say she used to sleep nude. But the legend of Chanel N°5 and the ultimate femininity was founded.


Two years later, in 1953, American magazine Modern Screen had Marilyn Monroe in the cover and made a series of photos. The photo shooting was inspired by the famous sentence she said, meaning wearing nothing but Chanel N°5 to sleep. So the magazine shot Marilyn naked in bed and we could see a flacon of Chanel N°5 in all pictures just by the table bed.


In 1960, Marilyn Monroe accepts an interview for the french magazine Marie-Claire. The interview is done by Georges Belmont and the pictures are done by John Bryson during the making of the movie “Let’s Make Love”. As this movie also had french actor Yves Montand, France got particularly interested in Marilyn Monroe. The interview was audio-recorded and translated into text afterward.


After years of archive researches, in October 2012, Chanel heritage and patrimony teams got the hand on the audio recording of that interview. What they discovered was amazing. An original recording of Marilyn Monroe’s voice explaining her sentence about Chanel N°5. Magical. This part of the interview was never published as she talked about it in a very spontaneous way.

” … they ask you questions, just an example, what do you wear in bed? You wear a pajama top or the bottom of the pajama, or a Nightgown? … So I said Chanel N°5… because it is the truth! I don’t want to say nude you know. But it is the truth. …

CHANEL N°5: A Success Story Built On the Shoulders Of Glamourous Icons

Marilyn Monroe opened the way. She was a free woman, her personality and attitude would allow her to live her life the way she wanted and she did not count on destiny to build her future. She created her own destiny. She will be remembered as the ultimate icon of glamour and femininity and helped generations of actresses to be free from standards. CHANEL continued building on this story by associating its iconic fragrance with amazing faces, all talented women with a nice dosage of sassiness. French actresses were always a very preferred choice for CHANEL. Marion Cotillard follows a great track record of talented French Actresses that inspired the world not only with their films but also with their personalities and with what they represented for the women’s cause.

1972 – Catherine Deneuve
1986 – Carole Bouquet
2009 – Audrey Tautou

All these women represented France in the world as global ambassadors for modern women. CHANEL remains faithful to Coco Chanel heritage being a leader and inspiration for women all around the world. And for this, Marion Cotillard is a perfect choice.


We wish best of luck to Ms Cotillard and we cannot wait to see what CHANEL will build creatively around such an outstanding actress. More to come!

José Amorim
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