Chanel N°5 celebrates its 100-year milestone

The 5th of May will mark the one hundred year anniversary of the iconic French Perfume Chanel N°5. Promoted by a multitude of celebrities, the likes of which include Marilyn Monroe, Nicole Kidman, and Marion Cotillard, the fragrance has maintained its status as the modern woman’s classic accessory.

Source: Chanel

In 1921, Garbrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel was already a considerable name in the fashion industry, however, she felt that she needed a distinctive fragrance, one with her own name on it.

On holiday in southern France, Chanel was introduced to Franco-Russian chemist Ernest Beaux. Throughout their collaboration, Chanel was insistent that the fragrance must capture the ‘spirit of a woman’, and it couldn’t be limited to only one scent. Having been raised by nuns in an orphanage, the perfume she went on to create was inspired by their cleanliness and stark simplicity.

Back to the present, this year marks the 100th anniversary of N°5, and to celebrate this milestone the company is uniting two of Chanel’s passions by releasing a high-jewellery collection inspired by the fragrance.

At the helm of this project was Patrice Leguéreau, director of the Chanel Fine Jewellery Creation Studio. Since joining the company in 2009, he has dreamt of creating a collection around N°5 and now can finally see his aspirations fulfilled. “I knew that 2021 was an important year, a chance to celebrate the perfume, and so it was a natural move for me to develop the concept of this collection. With each new high-jewellery collection I want to open up the Chanel universe, and the story of N°5 is so rich, so mysterious and fascinating.”
Embarking on his jewellery project, in the summer of 2018, Leguéreau spent time imbibing the story, travelling to Grasse with Olivier Polge, Chanel’s perfumer since 2015, and thinking of ways to translate the fragrance into jewellery. Rather than a literal representation, he wanted to capture its seductive sensuality and the emotions it arouses. He painted free-form images of the bottle, the number five and the golden amber of the perfume, conjuring shapes and forms into floating fluidity.

Leguéreau brought his vision to life through five different “chapters”, with each representing an element of the N°5 story.

The centrepiece of the collection is the 55.55 necklace, which shares similarities with the iconic shape of the fragrance bottle it is inspired by. The stopper, which echoes the octagonal outline of the Place Vendôme, is represented as a graphic motif in diamonds, coloured gemstones and rock crystal. It is not for sale and will remain in Chanel’s archive.

Leguéreau concludes his journey of creating the collection with “I really felt free to explore this abstract direction. I didn’t think of jewellery at all at the start, just feelings. The more I entered into the mystery of N°5, the more inspired I became, the more I followed my instinct, interpreting what the fragrance evokes for me. N°5 is such a timeless creation. I wanted to take it into the next century.”