• Most of us have a story about Chanel No 5.

    Picture the scene: my father returns from a long trip with a present for me (I’m 15). I open it to find a bottle of No 5. I feel so grown up – it’s my first proper perfume – and I use it sparingly for a long time so I can capture that feeling for as long as possible.

    Let's rub shoulders with the beautiful people, like Audrey Tatou
    Let’s rub shoulders with the beautiful people, like Audrey Tatou

    Born on May 5, 1921, this most iconic of fragrances is enjoyed equally by actresses, mothers, business women and models.

    In honour of its 92nd birthday, an exhibition of art, photographs, archives, and music gives us a glimpse into the world of Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel, her loves, Boy Capel and Dimitri Pavlovich, and her inspirations, from her favourite places to creations of her artist, poet and musician friends, including Jean Cocteau, Pablo Picasso and Igor Stravinsky.

    If I could time-travel, I’d head in a heartbeat to early ’20s Paris to breathe the same air as the Greats – Picasso, the Fitzgeralds (are you picking up a theme here?), Stravinsky and, of course, Chanel. Are you ready? Let’s go!

    Pictures at an exhibition

    Clockwise from top: Chanel and her Boy. Modigliani's portrait of Coco and one by poet-playwright Appolinaire
    From top: Chanel and her Boy. Portraits of Chanel by Modigliani and poet-playwright Appolinaire

     

    The many faces of the icon, including one by Salvador Dalì
    The many faces of the icon, including one by Salvador Dalì

     

    Exhibits Collage
    Making an exhibition of themselves: Portrait by Man Ray; (Top to bottom) Pictures by Pablo Picasso, Picabia, Max Ernst and an unknown Dadaist

     

    Brancusi portrait and the iconic image of Catherine Deneuve for Chanel No. 5
    True beauty: Brancusi portrait and the iconic image of Catherine Deneuve for Chanel No. 5

     As we leave, we find a memento of this beautiful day, a book created to celebrate the occasion by Dutch graphic artist Irma Boom.

    The entirely white book is embossed, rather than printed, and 5cm wide in homage to No. 5
    The entirely white book is embossed, not printed, and 5cm wide in homage to Nº 5

     

    Want to see more of the exhibition, its exquisite landscape garden and about Gabrielle Chanel and her life, times and loves? Click here.

    What’s your Chanel No 5 story? We’d love you to share it.

    Images: courtesy of Chanel

  • 2 Comments to “Channelling Chanel”

    1. Tanya B on

      My mum’s favorite! It is a smell of my childhood every time my mum got from work and gave me a hug the aroma would make everything better.

    2. Daniela on

      I know, Tanya! I have the same memory. That’s why I love fragrance. It really does transport you to different places and emotions.

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