Iconic Essence

For me, N°5 is not a perfume, it’s a cultural object. It’s sustained by a profoundly inward adventure, which is the prerogative of great creators, and it’s also a modern creation that totally relies on an artistic adventure that’s historic. ~Jean-Louis Froment


The Iconic N°5 Parfum, synonymous with only one brand in the world Chanel. It is a legend, signifying power, purity, and the mythical modernity brought forth by one woman, Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Bonheur Chanel. Embraced the world over by women in the know, decade after decade the fragrance is more than a perfume -it is the definition of style itself.

The evolution of the first modern fragrance will be on display and celebrated in a month-long exhibition in the beautiful Palais de Tokyo, Paris, France, with works of art, archive material, and photographs that follow N°5 through specific moments in history. Jean-Louis Froment, founder of the Bordeaux’s contemporary art museum and later artistic director of the Prince Pierre de Monaco Foudation, is the show’s curator. The exhibit N°5 CULTURE CHANEL runs from 5 May – 5 June, 2013, and explores the legend of the timeless and iconic essence first launched on May 5, 1921, 92 years ago, and the artistic links which connected it to specific moments in time and to the avant-garde movements it spanned.


Marilyn Monroe using Chanel N°5 Parfum before the first performance of Tennessee Williams’s Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, photographed by Ed Feingersh, 1955.

The show will take the viewer through a conceptual journey, exploring the origin of the number, its manifesto, and its complexity, which spans the obvious to far beyond the subconscious mind, from Marilyn Monroe’s unsolicited confession of wearing nothing but Chanel N°5 to bed to high-concept abstract art, and featuring works by Picasso, Man Ray, Brancusi, and more. Indeed, Chanel N°5 is a fragrance, but the show searches for a window within it: an extraction from Gabrielle Chanel’s ingenuity and play on the metaphysical aspect of what Chanel N°5 represents. The exhibition will commence with a garden experience designed by Piet Oudolfthe Dutch garden designer known for his projects at the High Line in New York and the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London. His custom-designed garden will set the tone, poetically summoning you into the universe of Chanel N°5 inside the Palais. A cultural moment not be missed. Chanel Love!