2013 was the year I learned to appreciate Chanel No.5. It was the signature fragrance of my late sister and I had always inevitably associated it with her, as countless other women do of their mothers, sisters or aunts. Yet, Chanel. No.5 had never got to me. In my youth, I veered towards YSL’s Opium. Krizia’s K de Krizia and Jean-Louis Sherrer’s JLS 2. I’ve never ditched the latter. It’s just rather strange that Chanel’s iconic aldehydic complex floral chypre never grabbed me. It did this year. A trip to Paris, Madame Chanel’s apartment and a trip to the Palais de Tokyo’s No.5 Culture Chanel, an exhibition dedicated to its greatness, helped seal the deal. Just like Marilyn (as the various ads and posters lamented at the exhibition) I grasped it’s skin soft, sexy attraction with its fresh round aldehydes that manage to bring warm caresses to the jasmine, rose, iris, ylang ylang, sandalwood, amber and vanilla that go to make-up this delectably notable perfume.
It was with little surprise, then, that I saw Chanel had finally taken the seasonal opportunity to promote their no 1 best-seller globally with a late tape of Marilyn uttering the famous words in response to a journalist’s question, ‘What do you wear to bed?’ with ‘I only wear Chanel No.5’. The ad, shot as a flashback and a tribute to both the great Marilyn and the eternally seductive fragrance, affirms that true idols and legends love the allure of Chanel No.5. Coupled with the shot by Ed Feingersh showing Monroe with a bottle of No.5, she captures the essence that Coco had in mind when commissioning Ernest Beaux to create the great fragrance in the 1920s.
And what more could you wish to accompany the trail of No.5 than sharp berry red lips (courtesy of Chanel’s Rouge Allure Velvet in La Precieuse), scarlet nail polish (Le Vernis Rouge Rubis) and sculpted and sensual eyes that twinkle with metallic highlighting glints (Illusion D’Ombre in Fatal, a silvery violet plum or Initiation, a smooth platinum bronze).
Sprinkle Chanel’s Poudre Universelle Libre in Moon Light with its its golden and bronze pearlizers onto the face or décolleté for the ultimate swoop of Christmas joy.
Joyeux Noel from Chanel with a No.5 scented kiss.
Chanel No.5 and the Nuit Infinie De Chanel Christmas Collection containing limited editions is available nationwide from Chanel counters.
Marilyn image supplied by Chanel – copyright Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images.