GALLERY | Celebrating 100 years of Chanel N°5 - the first perfume to ever be advertised on TV

0:00
play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
Actress Marilyn Monroe poses for a candid portrait with a bottle of Chanel No. 5 perfume on March 24, 1955 at the Ambassador Hotel in New York City, New York. (Photo by Ed Feingersh/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
Actress Marilyn Monroe poses for a candid portrait with a bottle of Chanel No. 5 perfume on March 24, 1955 at the Ambassador Hotel in New York City, New York. (Photo by Ed Feingersh/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
  • Created in 1921, Chanel N°5 is the best-known perfume in the world. The new episode of Inside Chanel looks back over 100 years of celebrity. 
  • Whether it be Marilyn Monroe turning it into a myth by confessing she only wore a few drops in bed, or Andy Warhol screen printing it as a pop art icon, over time N°5 has acquired the status of a global cultural phenomenon.
  • We celebrate this iconic perfume with Chanel by looking back at its iconic faces and sharing visuals from the Inside Chanel film with you. 

From the start, N°5 threw habits and conventions to the wind. At the beginning of the 1920s, Gabrielle Chanel had already changed people’s views on fashion by suggesting a new allure.

Her first perfume is consistent with her pioneering designs, simple yet well thought through.

Revolutionary in its composition, N°5 is also the first perfume imagined by a woman for women. 

Why the number 5, though? 

Mademoiselle is said to have chosen N°5 because it was the scent in the fifth sample, the one she preferred. Coincidentally, there have also been five faces of the iconic perfume, with Marion Cotillard as the most recent.

READ MORE:WATCH | Marion Cotillard covers Lorde's 'Team' in new romantic Chanel N°5 film by Chernobyl director 

Whether it be Marilyn Monroe turning it into a myth by confessing she only wore a few drops in bed, or Andy Warhol screen printing it as a pop art icon, over time N°5 has acquired the status of a global cultural phenomenon.

As the first perfume to be advertised on TV, it has inspired some of the greatest image masters - Helmut Newton, Irving Penn, Ridley Scott, Jean-Paul Goude or Baz Luhrmann to name a few - and become a visual symbol that has never lost touch with the contemporary creative scene.  

chanel 100 years
chanel 100 years
Images supplied by Chanel 

Because the world’s most popular perfume of all time needs adequate representation, it has chosen muses who - throughout the world - embody elegance and seduction without undermining their own personality.

Catherine Deneuve, Carole Bouquet, Nicole Kidman or currently Marion Cotillard are among these ambassadresses who - by their spirit and modernity - lift N°5 into the eternal feminine pantheon for posterity. 

READ MORE: It turns out deodorant and perfume aren't lockdown's least used items - here are 5 must-have scents

See 3 of the perfume's icons: 

Marilyn Monroe   

chanel 100 years
Image supplied by Chanel 
marilyn monroe
Actress Marilyn Monroe gets ready to go see the play "Cat On A Hot Tin Roof" playfully applying her make up and Chanel No. 5 Perfume on March 24, 1955 at the Ambassador Hotel in New York City, New York. (Photo by Ed Feingersh/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images) 

Carole Bouquet  

Carole Bouquet dédicace le parfum N°5 de Chanel
Carole Bouquet dédicace le parfum N°5 de Chanel au 'Printemps' en décembre 1994, Paris, France. (Photo by ARNAL/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images) 

Marion Cotillard 

chanel 100 years
Image supplied by Chanel 

Invest in your own bottle: 

Eau De Parfum Spray, R1990 for 100ml at Woolworths  

chanel perfume

Now watch the film: 

All information and images supplied by the Chanel Press Room

Follow us on social media: FacebookTwitterInstagram

Sign up to W24's newsletters so you don't miss out on any of our stories and giveaways.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
After 365 days in lockdown, in what way has your life changed the most?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Nothing's changed. Everything in my life became stagnant.
26% - 144 votes
I've focused more on making my house/apartment a more comfortable, beautiful place to call home.
10% - 59 votes
I don't think I could ever not work from home again. Remote work has saved me so much money.
17% - 94 votes
I just appreciate the people in my life more and take nothing for granted.
34% - 191 votes
I've developed a healthier relationship with alcohol.
5% - 28 votes
I've had to reconsider my career options after retrenchment.
9% - 48 votes
Vote