Beauty is relatively ephemeral by nature, and few products have stood the test of time sitting on vanity counters and packed away in makeup kits. Chanel No. 5, however, is one of the paragons of the perfume world that will forever stay in our beauty lexicon. Recent EU controversy over potential allergens in the fragrance has sparked debate, but the perfume's legacy is pervasive enough that it will always hold a special note in our industry and our hearts.
As part of a series recounting the origins of the brand, Chanel rightfully chose to highlight this flaconed jewel first. The stunning retrospective documents the perfume's 90-year history, and it makes us appreciate the craft and detail that went into its creation even more. Did we mention the video was amazingly produced and visually inspiring? And for all of you trivia buffs, we've recapped the most salient points to take away below. But it's Chanel—you owe it to yourself to watch.
No. 5 was created in 1921, after Coco Chanel wanted a "woman's perfume with a woman's scent."
Chanel called upon perfumer to the tsars Ernest Beaux to develop the fragrance, and he used over 80 notes to create the bouquet.
No. 5 was named because Coco Chanel preferred the fifth sample Beaux supplied to her.
No. 5 was one of the first to make use of aldehydes, synthetic components of scent which exalt and add layers of complexity.
The bottle's stopper, cut like a diamond, is said to have been inspired by the geometry of the Place Vendôme in Paris.
In 1959, the MoMa honored Chanel No. 5 with a spot in its permanent collection.
At the height of her stardom in 1952, Marilyn Monroe once said she wore just a few drops of Chanel No. 5 to bed.
In 1968, Catherine Deneuve landed her first contract for Chanel No. 5, followed by eight more leading ladies. 2012 marks the first year that a man—actor Brad Pitt—represents a female fragrance.