Chanel No 5 perfume celebrates the 100th anniversary. It is called Happy Marriage of May rose and jasmine. There were lots of funds and energy put into the process to make this perfume. The extracts used in the production of Channel No 5 were prepared according to the old traditions. Among the main ingredients are jasmine and rose extracts. They are derived from hand-picked blossoms. At the time men, women and children were working in large jasmine fields in the Grasse region, South of France. Everyone collected about 700 blossoms per hour.
People tried not to leave even one, as every bottle of Chanel No 5 perfume requires 20,000 jasmine blossoms. And that’s just one of 24 components. There were rumours that there were stocks of the most expensive perfume in the world growing in Grasse.
Chanel No 5 perfume has passed the test of time and become a legend. Chanel No 5 is art, masterpiece and cornerstone of perfumery that forever will be, regardless of what some people say. It has never quite been matched, a century after its release. With this perfume you take your chances, because it doesn’t smell like a particular flower, it smells like class, power, confidence and style. She goes to birthday parties and balls, the grocery store and Nieman Marcus. She is all of us and for every occasion. Class in a bottle.
In order to understand and love this fragrance one needs to understand the history of Chanel. The incredibly talented woman behind all its fabulousness is Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel.
The story behind the bottle
The story of Chanel No. 5 started in 1921. Two years ago, Boy Chapel, Gabrielle’s beloved man has died in a car accident just a few days before Christmas. Their romance has lasted 9 years. Boy Chapel was her rock, her soulmate, her lover, sponsor and supporter. His death was a big loss for Chanel, but she wasn’t one of those women who would spend her life mourning. Work was the best medicine for her to forget this disaster. She gave all her energy to the fashion house. It was the best medicine for bereavement. After his death, Chanel has received a considerable heritage, which she has invested in long brewed idea to create the most expensive perfume in the world.
Gabrielle Chanel was saying “A woman should smell like a woman, not a rose. The perfume should be as good as her outfit”. The perfume available at that time smelled of a roses, lily of the valley and jasmine, but Chanel saw an opportunity to blend all of them into one infusion.
Gabrielle spent her teenage years in a monastery, where was strict rules and neatness required. She became hard working woman and liked clean environment. Later, while working with her clients, aristocrats’ mistresses, she hated their smell. There were many clients stinking of musk and sweat. Chanel wanted refreshing perfume smelling like a soap, scrubbed skin or clean, showered body.
Perfumer Ernest Beaux
In the spring of 1921, Coco Chanel travelled to a small town, called Grasse. It is located in Southern Side of Provence and till these days is known as the capital of the world perfumes. She met with the most famous „nose” of the time, the perfume specialist Ernest Beaux.
Ernest Beaux understood her idea as soon as Chanel told him. He also dreamed of a revolution in the perfume world. Coco Chanel was like a fresh air to his soul, who was breathing the same flair and had the same understanding. Chanel could always smell her clients’ scent. She met people and places by the smell. Cleanliness and a good smell were the most important things if you’ve wanted to be in Chanel’s good books.
Being inspired by Chanel’s idea, Ernest Beaux created around ten different blends of perfume. She has chosen fifth bottle from all of them. Number 5 was the lucky number. There were rumours that this bottle was an experimental mistake of laboratory. Beaux’s helper added too much aldehyde by mistake. Beaux tried to explain that this perfume blend needs more than 24 extracts and materials.
But Chanel didn’t care. She said: „It is just what I wanted. There is no such smell of a woman anywhere.” Being a clothing designer Chanel realized that people are ready to pay lots of money for unusual things. Chanel paid a high amount of money for this dream at the time – more than 40 000 pounds.
Chanel decided to pour perfume in simple square bottles made of crystal, which were used in medicine at the time. It was a revolution in perfume industry, as all the others perfumers were using smart colourful glass bottles. The label was simple, just a little white note with a black print: N°5 Chanel Paris. There was no other writing or explanation that it is a perfume. But there was no need. The smell which was extracted from natural jasmines, roses, sandalwood and vanilla had a great success. Chanel’s creative marketing skills helped a lot in a way.
Chanel invited her friends and Beaux to the most popular restaurant in Nice to celebrate and sprayed the newest perfume around the table. Every woman passing by stopped and asked what was this smell and where did it come from. It was evident that this perfume will have a big success. But still, Chanel was not in a hurry to start selling the perfume. She was giving the perfume to the most loyal and the best clients for free. The clients were fascinated and Chanel was happy as the perfume popularity was growing. People grabbed the perfume. Her dream to make a coup in the perfume industry, as she did in women’s fashion has come true.
Chanel N°5 perfume became famous in a whole world
The demand for Chanel No 5 has grown in 1923. Chanel didn’t have enough funds to satisfy the demand. The success encouraged Coco Chanel to expand perfume sales beyond France and Europe as well as to develop other perfumes. For this she required investment capital, business acumen, and access to the North American market. She has met brothers Wertheimers, who owned the biggest perfume factory in France. Coco Chanel had signed an agreement with Pierre Wertheimer.
There were faults in the contract and soon conflicts arised. Everything ended in the Wertheimer family’s favour. They have received 80 percent of Chanel’s fashion house shares. Chanel was left with only 10 percent of the company’s shares and profits. Chanel with the help of a lawyer tried to change the size of ownership, but it was unsuccessful. The relationship between Wertheimers and Chanel was full of love and hate and lasted until Chanel’s death.
Happy Anniversary Chanel!