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...thus let us leave it the number which it carries, and this number five
will carry chance to it...

                                                           Coco Chanel

Coco Chanel

Gabrielle Chanel was born in Saumur (Maine et Loire) 19 August 1883. Upon the death of his mother (she was 12 years old), she was abandoned by his father. She spent her youth in an orphanage in Corrèze. At the age of 20, she entered as a saleswoman in a clothing store for ladies in Moulins (Allier). At that time, she feels drawn to the scene and made his debut in singing in a cafe-concert in the city performing "Qui qu’a vu Coco ? "which told the story of a lost dog.

It is often argued that this is the song owes its nickname, but it is also the name given him by his father when she was tiny. (« Coco Chanel, un parfum de mystère » by Isabelle Fiemeyer).

In 1908, she met Arthur Capel called "Boy" which was the great love of his life. She decided to go to Paris and joined him in his apartment on Avenue Gabriel. In 1909, she set her first modiste shop in a bachelor flat Boulevard Malesherbes. The next year, thanks to Boy, she moved into larger premises at 21 rue Cambon, in the 1st district. We can read on a small plaque at the entrance: "Chanel Modes". In the summer of 1913 while staying in Deauville, Boy rents a shop between the casino and hotel Normandy. As in Paris, Coco is a modiste (*) but the sign has changed with her full name: GABRIELLE CHANEL. The shop is always full.

(*) The term “modiste” means "Designer of hats."

At the beginning of the next summer, during the last months of peace, she launches out into the fashion and quickly attracts a rich clientele. Her rise has continued despite the war and in favor of a stay in Biarritz, she opened her first real fashion house. Thanks to his only inspiration, she shortens the skirts, removes the waist, in a word frees the woman's body by modernizing women's clothing. She launched the fashion of short hair, popularized the jersey and will employ up to 300 employees before coming back to Paris to settle at 31 rue Cambon.

Ernest Beaux
In 1921, she launched her perfume brand. She entrusts the creation of her first perfume "Chanel No. 5" to Ernest Beaux, designer of perfume at the court of the Russian Tsars. He presented to Coco Chanel two sets of samples numbered from 1 to 5 and 20 to 24. She chose the sample No. 5. To the question "What name will you give it?» She replied: "I launch my collection on May 5, the fifth month of the year, leave it the number it wears This number 5 will bring it luck.

"Coco Chanel said that the perfume was much more important than the bottle itself. She will therefore choose a simple refined glass bottle and stamp of a black and white label. The avant-garde art is such that the bottle will be exhibited in New York in 1959 at the Museum of Modern Art. Andy Warhol inspired it in a pop art silkscreen.

In 1954, during an interview, a reporter asked Marilyn Monroe what she wore to sleep, the actress replied simply: "a few drops of No. 5." Unwittingly, the declaration of Marilyn made a great advertising slogan. How lucky for Chanel that Marilyn made this confession because, since, the No. 5 remains the star product of the house.

In 2004, Chanel rolls out red carpet and dedicated to the No. 5 an advertising movie for 2 minutes (the longest in the history of the pub!) Directed by Baz Luhrmann (to whom we owe "Moulin Rouge") and interpreted by Nicole Kidman.

Marilyn Monroe

Sample of perfume of CHANEL N°5

Below, the evolution of Chanel No. 5 bottle since its release in 1921 to today:

The evolution of Chanel No. 5 bottle since its release in 1921 to today.

Coco Chanel entrusted the manufacture and distribution of her perfumes to Pierre Wertheimer, a prominent businessman who owned the Bourjois Company.

Between 1920 and 1930, Coco Chanel launched several new flavors including Chanel No. 22 in 1922, CUIR DE RUSSIE in 1924, GARDENIA, in 1925,BOIS DES ILES in 1926 (compositions of Ernest Beaux reconstructed in 1983 by Jacques Polge).

Because of World War II and the closure of her fashion house, there was no more creation for many years

Bottle of Cuir de Russie

Chanel No. 19 takes its name from the date of birth of Coco Chanel, this fragrance was composed by the successor of Ernest Beaux, Henri. Robert. Chanel No. 19 was launched on 19 August 1970, the day of the 87th anniversary of Coco Chanel, then, in 1981, launching of Antaeus.

Coco Chanel in her suite at the Ritz Hotel

Coco Chanel in her suite at the Ritz Hotel

In 1934, Coco Chanel decided to move to the Hotel Ritz, Place Vendome. This palace became his usual place of residence for more than thirty years! She died there 11 January 1971 after a walk at Longchamp Racecourse. After the funeral celebrated at the church of La Madeleine. According to his last wishes his body will be transferred to Lausanne (Switzerland) where Gabrielle Chanel was buried.In 1974, Henri Robert created the perfume Cristalle.

In 1974, Henri Robert created the perfume Cristalle.

Karl Lagerfeld
In 1984, It entrusts to Karl Lagerfeld Chanel-mode, former home Balmain and Patou. In August 1986 he received the Golden Thimble Award for the best collection of Haute Couture. Over the years, and collection after collection, he can "customize" to act as a faithful disciple of Coco Chanel

The new "Perfume tester" Jacques Polge, former creator of flavors at Givaudan Roure, resumes Chanel - Perfume. He composes COCO in homage to Mademoiselle Chanel In 1974, the classic bottle of No. 5 created by Coco Chanel in 1921 is taken deliberately.

Jacques Polge

Sample of perfume of Coco

EGOISTE was launched in 1990, dominated by the masculine fragrance of Mysore sandalwood. In 1993, EGOISTE PLATINIUM and 1996, launching of a new perfume: ALLURE!

MADEMOISELLE COCO perfume released in 2002.

The Wertheimer family still holds the majority in society Chanel. In France, the Chanel group employs over 3000 people, including Bourjois laboratories.

For many years, Chanel will use of celebrity faces for the advertising campaigns of Chanel No. 5, including Ali MacGraw, Catherine Deneuve (USA), then, Carole Bouquet, Nicole Kidman and Audrey Tautou recently.

Catherine Deneuve and the N°5
Catherine Deneuve 1977

Carole Bouquet 1987

In 2002, creation of a new fragrance "CHANCE" distributed in the United States and Canada. CHANCE appeared in European and Asian countries in spring 2003

Composition of Chanel N°5

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