As Chanel No. 5 celebrates its 100th year, we take a look back at Coco Chanel’s style alongside the iconic fragrance.
If we’re talking about iconic names in the fashion industry, Coco Chanel is one that will always come to mind. Changing the course of women’s fashion, Chanel opened her first shop at 160 Boulevard Malesherbes in 1909, and has since become one of the most beloved luxury fashion houses in the world.
In 1921, the fashion designer expanded her range when she worked with perfumer Ernest Beaux to create her first ever fragrance, Chanel No. 5. The first fragrance of its kind, Chanel No. 5 is considered as an iconic piece in the luxury label’s history and legacy. This year, as the fragrance celebrates its 100th birthday, we take a look back at Coco Chanel’s style evolution, alongside the world’s most renowned scent, Chanel No. 5.
A fragrance that broke barriers and traditions, Chanel No. 5 was the perfect blend of 80 scents—a perfect representation of Coco Chanel’s personality. And just like the fragrance, Coco Chanel’s take on fashion is no different: different, unique, and for the modern woman. As she once said, “I don’t do fashion. I am fashion”—and she was right. Even before the introduction of her first fragrance, Chanel has been changing the fashion industry by being a trailblazer. Gone are the stereotypical feminine clothing, as she introduced fluid and loose silhouettes, and the iconic little black dress. First shown in a Vogue magazine in 1926, the LBD has since become a go-to ensemble for every woman. Now, decades later, an LBD is a classic wardrobe essential, and we only have Coco Chanel to thank for that.
Another example of her timeless style are the iconic Chanel suits. See a tweed suit anywhere? Chanel will surely be your first thought. She first introduced the ensemble in the 1920s, and was made to liberate women from sexist fashion restrictions. Chanel designed a slim skirt and a collarless suit that changed women’s fashion, and has only grown more popular since. Icons such as Audrey Hepburn and the late Princess Diana were among those who has donned the tweed ensemble. Until today, celebrities such as Jennie from BlackPink and Olivia Rodrigo have been seen donning tweed Chanel pieces.
Just like the iconic scent and its modern yet timeless look, Coco Chanel’s style is the true embodiment of timeless elegance.
Simplicity and Luxury
As they say, good things come in small packages—and that couldn’t be more true with Chanel No. 5. Presented in a minimalistic glass bottle, the iconic scent’s packaging has only had minimal redesigns since its first launch in 1921. The bottle allows the fragrance’s amber color to take centre stage, with only a neat label on the bottle as its main design.
Just like the bottle, another simple yet luxurious package the luxury fashion brand has introduced are the Chanel flap bags. While Coco Chanel designed her first handbag in 1929, it was the handbag—later to be known as the 2.55—she designed in 1955 that really made fashion history. The bag has had its reinterpretations over the years: Karl Lagerfeld adding the double CC lock that introduced that Classic Flap; and the leather-woven strap that you can see in Chanel Classic Flap bags today. But to say the least, the bag has maintained its simple yet classic look that elevates any ensemble.