Wire Service
2 minute read
25 May 2021
7:14 pm

The legendary Chanel N°5 fragrance in five key dates


For the 100th anniversary of its legendary N°5 fragrance, Chanel has called on six global voices -- including actress Marion Cotillard, dancer Lil Buck, and psychologist and university professor Laurie Santos -- to talk about the notion of celebrity, and especially its influence on culture, creativity and society

In 2021, Chanel N°5 celebrates 100 years of fame and history.

A certain notoriety that is also shared by one of the world’s most famous fragrances, which has spanned eras and generations without gaining so much as a wrinkle.

It’s a pioneering perfume. A revolutionary perfume. A perfume bursting with character. Chanel N°5 — Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel’s “fragrance double” .

Composed like a haute couture gown, marked a turning point in the history of fragrance, rising to iconic status in just a few years.

And 100 years later, the scent continues to inspire women across all generations, as well as creatives from all horizons, and still enjoys unwavering star status.

To celebrate this centenary, here’s a look at five key dates in the history of this legendary fragrance.

– May 5, 1921: The launch of Chanel N°5, composed by Ernest Beaux — one of the world’s most renowned perfumers — combining fine natural ingredients with synthetic compounds known as aldehydes. It was a first, which made N°5 a revolutionary scent, breaking with the codes of its time.

– 1937: The year in which Gabrielle Chanel once again broke with tradition, becoming the first woman to front her own fragrance. The fashion designer posed for an advertising poster for Harper’s Bazaar photographed by François Kollar in an apartment at The Ritz.

– 1952: This year saw the legendary status of Chanel N°5 grow when another timeless icon — the American actress Marilyn Monroe — said in an interview that she wore just “five drops of Chanel N°5” to bed at night and nothing else. Words that are now famous worldwide.

– 1959: As well as being an icon of the fragrance world, Chanel N°5 is also celebrated in the art world.

Exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York in 1959 — quite the accolade — the scent has proved a source of inspiration for many artists. N°5 was also the subject of a series of nine silkscreen works by Andy Warhol in the mid-1980s.

– 2016:After N°5 L’Extrait (1921), N°5 Eau de Toilette (1924), N°5 Eau de Parfum (1986) and N°5 Eau Première (2008), a fifth interpretation of the legendary scent landed in 2016 thanks to Olivier Polge. This was N°5 L’Eau, billed as a fresh, floral Eau de Toilette.