Chanel No 5: a revolutionary perfume

Ohh, that smells nice! Can I have a squirt? My twelve-year-old daughter asked while brushing her hair in my bathroom. We were both getting ready for the day. The squirt that she wanted was Chanel No 5. Remember that scene in The Parent Trap when Hayley Mills tells her grandfather she’s making a memory and says, “You smell like peppermints and tobacco?” I know that is what my daughter is doing…making memories with her nose.

I’m never monogamous with perfume…I love it too much. Some days, you want to recreate a feeling from a memory. Perfume has that power…the smell of a fragrance can be recalled and bring a flood of memories. I remember being eighteen-years-old shopping in Galeries Lafayette…Chanel No 5 will forever make me feel like that eighteen-year-old girl shopping in Paris on a rainy summer day. 

I like knowing that Chanel No 5 was created during the summer of 1920 when Gabrielle Chanel went on holiday on the Cote d’Azur with her lover the Grand Duke Dimtri Pavlovich.

There she learned of a perfumer, a sophisticated chemist, Ernest Beaux who had worked for the Russian royal family. 

Beaux used a mixture of 128 ingredients highlighting jasmine, rose, sandalwood and vanilla. 

Gabrielle Chanel was obsessed with cleanliness and wanted something that would last until bedtime. Beaux mixed floral extracts with aldehydes…chemicals that artificially gave a clean smell but would last throughout the entire day. 

Beaux made up ten versions of the scent, numbered 1-5 and 20-25. Coco chose her lucky number five…et voilà!

Coco invited Beaux and friends to a popular restaurant on the French Riviera to celebrate and decided to spray the perfume around the table. Women would stop in their tracks and ask what the fragrance was and where it came from.

This was the moment that confirmed to Coco that it was going to be a revolutionary perfume. She had changed perfume forever. 

For ninety-eight-years this iconic scent has remained the Mona Lisa of fragrances. 

For me, wearing red lipstick, my grandmother’s jewelry and Chanel No 5 makes me feel like everything will be fabulous because I have a fabulous memory. It’s my good luck charm that makes me feel like I smell…refined, chic and French…shopping at Galeries Lafayette

Every woman should own a bottle of Chanel No 5!

Merci Coco! 

1. “A girl should be two things: classy and fabulous.” 

2. “I can’t understand how a woman can leave the house without fixing herself up a little, if only out of politeness. And then, you never know, maybe that’s the day she has a date with destiny and it’s best to be as pretty as possible for destiny.”

3. “Elegance is when the inside is as beautiful as the outside.”

4. “Dress shabbily and they remember the dress; dress impeccably and they remember the woman.”

5. “There is time for work, and time for love. That leaves no other time.”

6. “To be irreplaceable, you must be different.”

7. “A woman who doesn’t wear perfume has no future.”

P.S. Peonies: the most romantic flower in the world

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