Filed under: Cosmetics and Fragrance
Trends come and go in the world of perfumes, but the classic Chanel No. 5 is one of the few exceptions to the rule. For nearly a century, it has been synonymous with elegance and sophistication-making it an easy choice as a Luxist nominee in the best fragrance category.
Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel started her company in 1909 with a single Paris store. By 1913, she had expanded to the posh European resort towns of Deauville and Biarritz, France. As the winter of 1921 approached, she gave the first 100 bottles of the fragrance to her most loyal customers as a Christmas gift. The following year, Chanel No. 5 made its official debut.
The precise origins of Chanel No. 5 are the stuff of legend. At first, Coco wanted no part of the fragrance business. "Women perfume themselves only to hide bad smells," she famously said. But eventually French perfumer Ernst Beaux changed Coco's mind. According to one story, the formulation of No. 5 was Beaux's attempt to capture the smell of Europe's northern lakes in the midnight sun; according to another, it was the result of a mixing error by Beaux's assistant.
Whatever the origin, No. 5 remains popular as ever today, thanks in part to a vaunted advertising campaign. Spokespeople for the fragrance have included actresses Marilyn Monroe, Catherine Deneuve, Nicole Kidman, and most recently, Audrey Tautou, star of Amelie. She's the muse for a Chanel No. 5 film directed by Jean Pierre Jeunet. The current campaign is Chanel's first to launch online.
Chanel No. 5 perfume is described as sensual, intimate, luxurious, and the new film portrays No. 5 women of today as serene, enchanting and free---all part of an effort to renew the brand in the eyes of younger consumers. The fragrance can be purchased through Chanel's website (1.2 oz: $61.50) or at most high end department stores.
Vote for the fragrance that you believe is the best of breed. The voting period runs through May 31st and winners will be announced on June 1.