The sweet, woody, musky fragrance with an almost soapy hint – in Gabrielle Chanel’s own words, “a women’s fragrance that smells like women” – is as breathtaking as it was revolutionary for its time. It’s unsurprising, considering Chanel was never one to play by the rules.
At a time where fragrances were either created using singular floral notes for the well- heeled of society or animal musk for the more provocative set, Chanel No.5 was daring and bold. It combined multiple notes, using jasmine, rose and sandalwood, along with aldehyde – an artificially created note, which was unheard of in the world of perfumery back then.
Chanel No.5 became Gabrielle Chanel’s signature – sprayed by an assistant at the entrance of the Rue Cambon building where the House’s original boutique still stands, as well as scattered on the glowing embers of her fireplace to scent her home.
To celebrate the fragrance’s 100th anniversary in 2021, the house of Chanel has launched a new campaign with Academy Award winning actress Marion Cotillard as its face. The French actress joins the ranks of Ali MacGraw, Catherine Deneuve, Carole Bouquet, Nicole Kidman, Audrey Tautou, Brad Pitt and Gisele Bundchen, all of whom have previously embodied the fragrance.