[vc_row][vc_column][mk_padding_divider size=”60″][mk_fancy_title color=”#3f3f3f” size=”30″ font_family=”Playfair+Display” font_type=”google” align=”center”]Balmain, couture and fabulous fragrances have been synonymous for decades.[/mk_fancy_title][mk_padding_divider size=”60″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”32143″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]Perfumer Ernest Beaux produced a portfolio of samples for Mademoiselle to try – and she chose the fifth proposal. So No. 5 was born – and has since gone on to become the most recognised name in perfumery, worldwide.
What set Chanel No. 5 apart from the fragrances of the time – mostly flowery scents swirling with jasmine, lilac and rose – was its more ‘abstract’ construction, and the generous use of aldehydes, which have become known for giving fragrance a champagne-like sparkle when you smell them. It was nothing less than a revolution. Legend has it that Ernest Beaux (or maybe his lab assistant) put an ‘overdose’ of aldehydes in the bottle – we’ll never know if it was accident, or design – but Chanel was seduced. And the rest, literally, is fragrance history.
Ernest Beaux remained the brand’s exclusive perfume designer, or ‘nose’, right up until 1952, creating further landmark scents including Chanel No. 22, and a trio of fragrances which now appear in Chanel‘s Les Exclusifs line: Cuir de Russie, Gardénia and Bois des Îles.
The story of Chanel herself has become part of legend. After growing up in an orphanage, Gabrielle Chanel – born on 19th August 1883, in Saumur – went on to open her first Paris shop – selling hats – in 1910, at 21 Rue Cambon.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”32144″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]A Chanel suit or a handbag is still a ‘landmark’ purchase, for countless women around the world, and the interlocking Cs of Coco Chanel have become the ultimate, spot-it-at-100 paces brand insignia. Chanel wasn’t content just to put that stamp on fashionable clothing, but also desirable jewellery (fine jewellery and fabulous faux), and every accessory a woman could dream of. (If you’d like to read the full history of Chanel, we can’t recommend Justine Picardie’s book Coco Chanel: The Legend and the Life, too highly; find it here on Amazon.)
In addition to her work with haute couture and ready-to-wear, Chanel also designed costumes for plays (Cocteau’s Antigone, in 1923), and movies, including Renoir’s La Règle de Jeu. The clothes – and the fragrances – have been loved and worn by stars all over the world, though perhaps Chanel’s most famous endorsement of all was from Marilyn Monroe, who in 1960 breathlessly proclaimed: ‘What do I wear in bed? Why, Chanel No. 5, of course…’
Chanel‘s first men’s fragrance – Chanel Pour Monsieur – was introduced in 1995, created by Henri Robert, who took over from Ernest Beaux as in-house perfumer. He also created No. 19 – named for Chanel’s birthday – which was initially reserved for special friends and clients. Coco Chanel died on 10th January 1971 in Paris, on the eve of presenting her latest collection – and later that year, the rest of us were able to enjoy this floral-green masterpiece. A new era in Chanel‘s perfume history was born – a wave of creativity that continues to this day. In 1974, Cristalle was unveiled: Chanel‘s freshest scent yet. In 1979, Jacques Polge became Chanel‘s third perfume designer; his first feminine creation was richly opulent Coco, in 1984. Allure followed, in 1996, then in 2001, Coco Mademoiselle, which in the US (among other countries) has become even more widely worn than the iconic No. 5…
Victoria Frolova commented on her websitewww.boisdejasmin.com, ‘I like the new version very much for the effervescence of its leafy notes and the elegance of its soft floral accents… If you have never worn Ivoire in the past, even better. Then you can appreciate this elegant, refined perfume that begs for a white string of pearls and a little black dress on its own terms.’
Working with exciting new perfumers, additional fragrance creations are now being added to the line – most recentlyExtatic: a modern juicy rose, splashed with a nashi pear accord, on a base of textured woods with a hint of leather. As Balmain Creative Director Olivier Rousteing observes, ‘We are deeply attached to the idea of timelessness, in both fashion and perfume. In this respect, the way in which Emilie Coppermann composed Extatic is comparable to the way I create my collections: I am constantly searching in the house archives. I never forget craftsmanship and tradition…
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So, although Pierre Balmain died in Paris in 1982, his name and creativity most definitely live on, enchanting a new, fashionable generation…