How CHANEL is celebrating 100 years of iconic fragrance

CHANEL is celebrating 100 years of arguably one of the most iconic fragrances of all time - N°5. And of course it's going to be with a bang.

Say hello to CHANEL FACTORY 5, a revolutionary experience that has made it possible to produce a completely new collection, with N° 5 as its sole ingredient.

With seventeen limited-edition products, including bath tablets and shower gel to body oil and creams, the collection is inspired by everyday objects, a reminder that wearing N° 5 transforms the ordinary.

To celebrate the news, CHANEL head of global creative resources fragrance and beauty, Thomas Du Pré de Saint Maur, has shared what this huge milestone moment means to the brand, the concept behind the new collection and what N°5 represents.

What did you want to tell through ‘100 Years of Celebrity’ of N°5?

We are privileged to be here for this centenary and we wanted to find an idea worthy of N°5. Should we celebrate the history and rich heritage of this icon or the eternal youthfulness of the N°5 spirit? It is, of course, the second approach that we chose to explore. Every year for a century, N°5 has been the talk of the town and has found its place through its ability to reinvent itself.

Through “100 Years of Celebrity”, we want to show that an object is not iconic by birth, but that it becomes so by what it conveys, what it brings to life, what it says about its time. N°5 has managed to transcend time and tell the story of the times.

We hereby celebrate the fact that it has kept its audacious spirit and its freshness after 100 years of passion shared with its fans. We want to offer a festive, new experience around this universally emblematic fragrance of the House of CHANEL, but also of perfume in general.

What is the origin of the CHANEL FACTORY 5 concept?

To go back to the beginning of N°5. To go and find, as Gabrielle Chanel did at the time, a new, offbeat, unexpected inspiration. Through this concept, we want to return to the creation process of the first N°5 packaging.

At the time, it was a simple laboratory bottle, a functional object that became luxurious and iconic. There was already this notion of transforming a common, ultra-functional object into a precious one. CHANEL FACTORY 5 celebrates this approach, this step to the side, in its own way.

What does it say about N°5?

CHANEL FACTORY 5 makes the most of N°5’s amazing ability to continually reinvent itself in order to preserve itself. This concept tells of the product’s eternal youth and the creative idea behind it.

It also shows that an industrial product with very functional packaging can be transformed into a unique, desirable object by appropriating N°5’s identity codes, without losing the fundamentals, namely its functionality.

Why choose everyday objects?

Not only extremely rare, sparingly used things have value. The things we use the most, if they provide a luxurious experience, are also valuable. N°5 subverts everyday objects and demonstrates once again that luxury is also in the experience that we have of things. By giving these objects the N°5 identity, they become luxurious, iconic products, while keeping their own designs.

By reusing these everyday objects, N°5 has subverted their functions, demonstrating once again that luxury is in the experience we have of things. Dressing these objects with the N°5 identity, they become luxurious, iconic products, while keeping their own designs.

Taking everyday products allows for a less intimidating approach and creates new opportunities for daily exposure to the absolute wonder that is N°5. Whether it’s a tube of paint, a tea tin or a burette, all are universal, timeless objects that we have dressed in N°5’s visual codes so as to transfigure them.

At the same time, this approach shows CHANEL’s sense of distance and humor.

How is the FACTORY 5 COLLECTION presented in the pop-ups?

We wanted people to enjoy a moment rich in emotions and that the experience in the pop-ups be a joyful one. The event scenographies that will be held in the biggest cities in the world, through these pop-ups, will present the 17 products of the capsule collection that we have created.

The idea is to immerse people in a factory atmosphere and give them a sensational experience. We have taken the concept of CHANEL FACTORY 5 to the extreme in these pop-ups, which are designed as “theme parks” dedicated to N°5 and this limited edition collection.

The staging offers the opportunity to discover the products, from their design and transformation in the factory to their use through entertaining stagings and animations. We will also offer a digital version for those who wish to see the CHANEL FACTORY 5 without going to the show.

What does the CHANEL FACTORY 5 say to younger generations?

Youth is above all a state of mind.

What does this minimalist black and white packaging and this ultra-colourful pop communication evoke?

Black and white at CHANEL is the essence of N°5, uncluttered, radical, non-decorative, that goes beyond trends. And these very bright colours in the communication are a nod to pop culture and to pop art, which paved the way for the possibility of a parallel between art and everyday products. It is also a festive, joyful vibration for this 100th years of the celebrity of N°5.

CHANEL N°5 in 5 words?

Free, radical, audacious, modern, french.

You can view the entire CHANEL FACTORY 5 collection here.

Images supplied by CHANEL.