“Simplicity is the keynote of all true elegance.” - Coco Chanel
It is difficult to be a part of the design world in any way and not be influenced by the great Coco Chanel. In particular, we are continually enamored with the iconic design of the Chanel No. 5 bottle and the history of the fragrance itself. A few intriguing facts:
1. Perfumer Ernest Beaux, who was given the task of creating Chanel No. 5, believes the scent was born out of Gabrielle 'Coco' Chanel’s ‘reminiscence’ of her lost love for Arthur Capel, the English polo player and lover of the fashion house founder, who tragically died in a car accident in 1919. By channeling her grief into creativity, this ‘perfume of eternity’ was her personal gift to herself.
2. When Ernest Beaux produced perfume samples for Coco Chanel to try in 1921, she chose the fifth proposal that he presented, which is the same Chanel No. 5 fragrance that we know and love today.
3. Chanel No. 5 went against the fragrance trends of the time, such as flowery scents including rose, jasmine and lilac, with no dominant notes distinguishable from the 80 ingredients that compose it.
4. Coco Chanel named the perfume No. 5 to avoid any attempts at defining it figuratively and descriptively, and to prevent it from dating thus keeping its modernity intact.
5. The number 5 was also the fashion house founder’s lucky charm.
6. No. 5 can be seen as the olfactory double of artistic movements such as Cubism, Dadaism and Surrealism, in how it aspired to attain absolute modernity, and this is explored in the Paris exhibition. The number 5 was also symbolic at the time of its creation, linking to several other pieces of art including composer’s Igor Stravinsky music, The Five Fingers.
7. Several of Chanel’s close artist friends, including Salvador Dali and Andy Warhol, painted pictures of the iconic No. 5 bottle.
8. The black and white box design that houses Chanel No. 5 is the same as the original packaging used in 1921.
9. On the black wax seal of the neck of the 1921 No. 5 bottle, Chanel placed a 'C', the first letter of her surname. She would then turn this into a monogram by doubling it and the luxury label’s famous logo was born. The interlocking ‘C’ logo also closely resembles the curved patterns featured in the stained glass windows of the church of Aubazine, where she spent her childhood in an orphanage. The logo has also been compared to the royal monogram of French Queen, Catherine de' Medici, who many believed Chanel admired.
10. The official launch of Chanel No. 5 was in the label’s Paris boutique on the fifth day and fifth month of 1921.
Be inspired. Keep it simple…therefore, quintessentially elegant.