Chanel Chance. Chanel Coco Mademoiselle. And, of course, Chanel N°5. The French house of Chanel has been behind some of the world’s most famous and well-loved fragrances. And true to the maison’s playfully romantic side, each one comes with not just a fascinating story (be it real or imagined), but also a cultural legacy that underscores how a scent awakens more than just the sense of smell.
To prove this, the brand revealed the Le Grand Numero de Chanel exhibition at the Grand Palais Ephemere in Paris last month. On till Jan 9, the sprawling cultural extravaganza merges art, dance, drama, music, games and set design with breathtaking scale to evoke the imaginative power of perfumes. Says Thomas du Pre de Saint Maur – Chanel’s head of global creative resources for fragrance and beauty (as well as fine jewellery and watches) – who helped conceptualise the affair: “A fragrance is more than a name, a bottle or a scent. It is also everything it brings to mind when we breathe it in and all it evokes when we wear it. It is an extraordinary product.
“Many people believe that fragrance is an accessory or a finishing touch, but it is so much more than that. Fragrance has a real effect on our feelings, confidence, mood, and desires, and this is what we want everyone to experience.”
With Singapore pop star Iman Fandi in tow to relive Paris through the lens of Chanel (see the first time we did so during Paris Fashion Week here), we take you on a tour of the showcase below – get ready to be spellbound.