Exhibition in Paris tracks the journey of Chanel N°5 perfume to the historic moment of its creation close to a century ago, through the work of artists and celebrities that have turned the perfume into a timeless fashion icon.
PARIS, FRANCE (MAY 3, 2013) (REUTERS) - An exhibition that takes visitors on a journey of Chanel's famous No. 5, to show what has made the perfume a timeless piece of fashion, is set to open inParis on Friday (May 5).
The exhibition traces the history of the perfume, first conceived as just an idea by Coco Chanel in 1921, through the works of various artists who have left their mark on the fragrance to make it what it is today.
On display at Paris' Palais de Tokyo, the exhibition features the personal archives of the designer, photographs and other works of art by friends of Coco Chanel, including painter Pablo Picasso, French writer Jean Cocteau and Russian music composer Igor Stravinsky.
Curator Jean-Louis Froment, who worked on the project called "Culture Chanel" for six years, said the exhibition aims to reveal the mysteries of the fragrance.
"It's an exhibition on a very secret topic -- which is a perfume. By definition, a perfume is something which is very intimate, very secret for those who wear it, live it. It's linked to very personal moments. So this exhibition is a portrait a perfume seen through its creator, Gabrielle Chanel (Coco Chanel), and through a period which resonates within this creation," Froment told Reuters TV.
Chanel N.5 was designed by Ernest Beaux, a perfumer who worked for a Russian Tsar. Coco Chanel asked him to create a perfume which "smelled like a woman" and which could not be compared to other fragrances which at the time were made from the perfume of a single flower -- Beaux's creation contains 80.
"There is aestheticism, but there is also -- that's what Gabrielle Chanel used to say herself -- to be irreplaceable, one has to be different. Meaning there has to be originality. The form of a Chanel creation is not separable from the initial thought (behind it)," explained Froment.
Why No. 5? The scent that has kissed many-a-famous neck from Marilyn Monroe in 1954 to Brad Pitt in more recent times, was the fifth sample picked out of 24 presented to Coco Chanel by the perfumer -- Chanel chose no. 5, her lucky number.
The exhibition will also feature an 'Olfactory workshop' where visitors can try to use their senses to decrypt the contents of the perfume.