Chanel Celebrates the Classic No. 5 Fragrance at the Palais de Tokyo

No. 5 Culture Chanel

No. 5 Culture Chanel

You know the bottle, you may know the smell, but few people — even die hard fans of the scent — know the true history of the iconic fragrance. And almost 100 years after its official release date in 1921, it’s still one of the world’s best-selling scents.

Now through June 5, you can explore the history of this iconic scent at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris for the No. 5 Culture Chanel exhibition, which gives scent lovers a behind-the-scenes look at No. 5’s development and the entire world that surrounded Chanel and her signature scent.

Andy Warhol Chanel No. 5

Andy Warhol Chanel No. 5

“Chanel herself always said, ‘I am not an artist. I am a craftsman,” said show curator Jean-Louis Froment. “But that doesn’t mean she wasn’t influenced by the arts. Hers was an applied artistry.”

No. 5 was actually the first fragrance to use synthetic notes (the now-legendary scent contains a mix of ylang-ylang, aldehydes, jasmine and vetiver), and it was also the very first product to feature Chanel’s now unmistakable interlocking C logo. The bottle itself became so legendary that it was used in pieces by Andy Warhol, Salvador Dali and more. The exhibit even includes the original bottle, which Chanel face Audrey Tatou picked as her favorite part of the whole exhibit.

In addition to the history of the scent, the exhibition explores the art and culture surrounding the perfume, which means that visitors can view Warhol’s multiples, Dali and Picasso sketches, Man Ray and Avedon-lensed photos and more. (The iconic Feingersh Marilyn photo is here, which is worth the trip alone, we think!)

Vintage Chanel No. 5 advertisment

Vintage Chanel No. 5 advertisement

Another aspect of the museum exhibit is the complicated relationship between art and commerce, which is illustrated with personal correspondence between Madame Coco and various artists, musicians and more. News clippings, letters and more show the interplay between Chanel’s personal projects and her patronage, including Jean Cocteau’s project with the Ballets Russes and rare books from Chanel’s own collections in Paris. The exhibit concludes with a film reel highlighting Chanel No. 5’s most memorable moments on the big screen, including a young Catherine Deneuve shot by Richard Avedon, Ridley Scott’s ads from the ’80s, Audrey Tatou’s most recent commercials and the head-scratching Brad Pitt advertisement. For fans of art, fashion and even fragrance, there’s no better way to experience the culmination of a near century’s worth of history.

For more information, visit the exhibition’s official Web site.

Images courtesy Chanel

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Author:Fashion Trends Daily Staff

Fashion Trends Daily Editors deliver the scoop on fashion, beauty, celebrity and runway trends.