The history of Chanel No.5Today it is said that a bottle of Chanel No. 5 is sold every 30 seconds around the world. The famous fragrance is also one of the few perfumes to have survived for over 90 years.

A favourite of the stars, numerous celebrities have voiced their devotion to the scent. Most famous was Marilyn Monroe, who said that all she wore to bed was a few drops of Chanel No.5.

In recent years some of Hollywood’s biggest stars have fronted the fragrance’s campaigns. Among them were Nicole Kidman and Audrey Tautou, with Brad Pitt’s recent endorsement endlessly-parodied.

It is clear that this is much more than a simple scent, but what is the story behind it?

It was French fashion designer Coco Chanel who came up with the idea when she wanted a new perfume for a fashion show she was presenting on May 5, 1920. She wanted to use ingredients that would retain their scent longer than the flower essences that were used at the time. Coco reportedly gathered 80 ingredients and gave them to Ernest Beaux to combine as he saw fit and so the scent was born.

Many believe it is the shape of the bottle itself that has helped the fragrance’s ionic status. The Chanel No.5 bottle is widely regarded as a powerful symbol of beauty, modernity and the longevity of timeless design.

In historian Tilar J. Mazzeo’s book The Secret of Chanel No. 5, the full story of the scent’s creation, iconic status and extraordinary success has been searched out.

“When we think of Chanel No. 5 today what comes to mind above all is the bottle. It’s the part of the product for most of us that is immediately iconic. In fact, it’s one of the curiosities of its history that far fewer people are able to identify the perfume by its scent alone – a strange state of things for a legendary fragrance,” Tilar writes in her history of the scent.

In fact although No. 5′s fragrance has been deemed one of the most alluring in recent history, it was its container that first caught the eye of so many Parisians in the 1920s.

The design of the bottle today is still just as iconic, and can be picked out by historians, experts and novices alike.