Chanel No 5

Large bottle of Chanel No5, 1930s–1940s, with some original content!
From the large bottle, the perfume might be poured into a small atomizer fitting in the lady’s purse.

Chanel No5 was an innovative fragrance informed by a courageous, ground-breaking idea that epitomized the spirit of the roaring 1920s. Coco Chanel wanted to redefine femininity. Her strategy to achieve this goal was to create a style expressing the energy and desires of the liberated woman and her marketing tactics to design and sell her everything, from a dress to jewelry to perfume.

Chanel aim was to create an artificial fragrance like a work of art, an abstract and complex composition in contrast to traditional single-flower essences. She wanted her fragrance smell of fresh sensuality and she strove to annihilate the existing divide between the sweet fragrances used by respectable women (roses, violets, gardenias) and the provocative, heavy aromas of white flowers (jasmine, tuberose) associated with the seductress.

The new fragrance was a revolutionary composition based on the natural rose and jasmine essences with synthetic aldehydes. Likewise revolutionary was the design of the bottle, its streamlined and angular form alluding to utilitarian pharmaceutical jars.

“No5” in the fragrance’s name referred to the sample selected by Chanel in 1920 from those presented to her by Ernest Beaux. Coco Chanel was the third fashion designer in history to venture in perfumes. She has inspired many followers but remained the most successful:Chanel No5 has ever remained a modern classic.

Małgorzata Możdżyńska-Nawotka, Małgorzata Możdżyńska, Department of Dress and Textiles

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