“I WANTED TO GIVE HER A PERFUME BUT AN ARTIFICIAL PERFUME,
AND I DO MEAN ARTIFICIAL, LIKE A DRESS, IN OTHER TERMS, CREATED.
I AM A CRAFTSMAN OF FASHION DESIGN. I DON’T WANT HINTS OF ROSES
OR LILY OF THE VALLEY, I WANT A PERFUME THAT IS COMPOSED”
Gabrielle Chanel in Pierre Galante with the collaboration of Philippe Orsini, Les annees Chanel,
Paris, Mercure de France, 1972, p.95-96
And so last week, I went to Paris with Carol to go see the exhibition all about Chanel and her inspirations behind the creation of No. 5 – the best selling perfume in the world!
Paris is a great city and what better place to hold this fabulous exhibition. We didn’t know what to expect and we were really pleased that the ambience of the exhibition was just how you would imagine Gabrielle would have designed it.
Firstly, we had our own private entrance with free admission; we were given a ticket and a exhibition catalogue completely free as a gift to remember the show; as we went in, it was minimalist, all in white, very simple design.
Using the audio guide we went round looking at all the artefacts they had gathered, the obvious like the original bottles, adverts and photographs of their time. But the not so obvious too; about how she mixed in artistic circles, she was very good friends with Salvador Dali and she associated herself with the Dada movement in Paris.
After the first part, you could then spend time looking at books they had selected that associate themselves with five of the key ingredients that went into the scent.
I personally loved seeing all the old photos from the 1920’s and 30’s, and some of her personal items. It looks like Paris was a fun and inspirational place to be at that time. One of the treats we got to experience, and only to guests of this exhibition could, was to a secret recording of Marilyn Monroe who famously said that No.5 was all she wore in bed – the recording is her talking to someone about how she sleeps naked but didn’t want to say that to the Press, so she told the truth that she sprays No.5!
“IN ORDER TO BE IRREPLACEABLE,
ONE MUST ALWAYS BE DIFFERENT”
Gabrielle Chanel in Marcel Haedrich, Coco Chanel, Paris, P. Belfond, 1987, p.176
The exhibition continues in Paris until the 5th June 2013