It’s the most iconic perfume in history. It’s the epitome of class and sophistication, the embodiment of feminine majesty. It is Chanel No. 5.
My mom wore No. 5 in college, and when I started college, she bought me my own bottle of the incomparable and timeless scent.
Chanel No. 5 was introduced in 1921 as Coco Chanel’s first fragrance. As the story goes, Coco commissioned a perfume maker to create six scents for her to sample, and she liked the fifth potion best.
“I want to give women an artificial perfume,” Chanel famously said. The scent was the first to use floral aldehydes, a manufactured chemical that lasted much longer on the body than traditional fragrance oils. The fragrance notes of No. 5 include ylang-ylang, jasmine, rose, neroli, vanilla, and vetiver.
In 1953, Marilyn Monroe famously replied to the question “What do you wear to bed?” with “Why, Chanel No. 5, of course.” Sales of the perfume increased following Monroe’s sexy statement.
Chanel No. 5 has boasted an assortment of celebrity spokesmodels, including Carole Bouquet, Nicole Kidman, and most recently, Audrey Tatou.
The art world hasn’t ignored this iconic perfume. Andy Warhol created a series of silkscreen prints featuring the bottle, and the Museum of Modern Art in New York added the packaging and design to its collections in 1959.
Finally, as a testament to the quality of Chanel perfumes, my sister recently found this sealed 1951 bottle of No. 5 at a vintage store for $10. We broke the seal, and the scent was as fresh and gorgeous as if it were brand new. Wow!
Have you ever smelled or worn Chanel No. 5? Do you like it?