Skip to main content

Chanel No. 5

Chanel No. 5

Chanel No. 5 has become one of the world's most popular fragrances. Chanel No. 5 was the first synthetic, or man-made, perfume. Instead of essential oils from nature, synthetic perfumes are made with an aldehyde, an organic compound that yields alcohol when reduced. Synthetic perfumes offer unique smells and more stable bases that make the products more concentrated and longer lasting.

The history of perfume dates back to the ancient civilizations. By the start of the twentieth century, natural essence perfumes were being sold in elaborately designed bottles at affordable prices by such French companies as Coty, D'Orsay, Guerlain, Lanvin, Lubin, Molinard, and Roger and Gallet. In early 1921 French fashion designer Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel (18831971) commissioned Russian perfume chemist Ernest Beaux, the former perfumer to the Russian royal family, to create several new fragrances. The best would be packaged and sold by La Maison Chanel, or the House of Chanel. Beaux presented Chanel with five new synthetic fragrances. Chanel tested each one and chose the fifth bottle. That is how Chanel No. 5 received its name.

In May 1921 the first simple, square-lined bottles of Chanel No. 5 were sold. The perfume was an immediate success, and by 1924 Chanel had an entire perfume division with Ernest Beaux as its technical director. By the twenty-first century a bottle of Chanel No. 5 sold every thirty seconds.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Madsen, Axel. Chanel: A Woman of Her Own. New York: Henry Holt, 1990.

Newman, Cathy. Perfume: The Art and Science of Scent. Washington, DC: National Geographic Society, 1998.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Chanel No. 5." Fashion, Costume, and Culture: Clothing, Headwear, Body Decorations, and Footwear through the Ages. . Encyclopedia.com. 19 Nov. 2018 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Chanel No. 5." Fashion, Costume, and Culture: Clothing, Headwear, Body Decorations, and Footwear through the Ages. . Encyclopedia.com. (November 19, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/fashion/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/chanel-no-5

"Chanel No. 5." Fashion, Costume, and Culture: Clothing, Headwear, Body Decorations, and Footwear through the Ages. . Retrieved November 19, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/fashion/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/chanel-no-5

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.