Marilyn Monroe famously said she wore nothing but Chanel No 5 to bed – and it seems the scent is just as popular with millions of other women.
New data has revealed it has been the bestselling perfume in Britain for 25 years and perfume experts believe it makes women more attractive.
The scent was released in 1921 by designer Coco Chanel and and it has remained consistently popular.
The Perfume Shop has revealed that the perfume has been its bestselling scent for its entire quarter of a century existence.
Chanel No.5 has been endorsed by hoards of celebrities, from Marilyn Monroe and Nicole Kidman to Nigella Lawson and Melanie Sykes.
In fact actress Marilyn Monroe once quipped: ‘What do I wear in bed? Why, Chanel No. 5 of course.’
Perfume expert Michael Edwards claims the distinctive scent makes a woman more appealing as it always ‘arouses comments’ from other people and becomes a talking point.
He explained to Femail that Chanel has kept its ingredients updated throughout its history to keep it a desirable scent for modern women.
Marilyn Monroe famously said she wears Chanel No.5 and nothing else to bed
Michael said: ‘The No. 5 we smell now is not the No.5 that was released in 1921. For a start, the jasmine of 1922 is not the jasmine of 2017. Plants change, seasons change, ingredients change – like wine, for example. Tastes change and Chanel perfumers have been very careful to fine tune the blend of No.5.
‘If you could smell the original one you could see there is a difference, it’s evolved. They’ve been able to keep it very contemporary. Very few brands do this, most have an old formula which they let cheapen instead of improving it or keeping it up to date.’
Michael, an international expert who has worked with The Perfume Shop for 15 years, says perfumes must be soft to make a woman feel more attractive.
He said: ‘A perfume needs to be very soft, it must wrap itself around you like a cashmere shawl – any hint of stridency and sharpness and you’ll react against it.’
In 2004 Nicole Kidman starred in a Chanel No. 5 ad campaign directed by Baz Luhrmann
Michael says there are certain criterion a perfume must meet in order to have reigning success like Chanel No. 5.
While the smell is the most crucial appeal of a fragrance, it must also be long-lasting, become a signature scent and make a woman feel special.
‘Number on a fragrance has to smell beautiful to start with number two it has to last. Chanel 5 has demonstrated it has a tenacity,’ he said.
‘It has to make people feel special. Fragrance is liquid emotion and chanel bottles a lot of it.
‘It has to have a signature. If you wear a perfume and nobody comments it’s rather like talking and nobody answers you.
‘Chanel No. 5 does arouse comments, people do notice it, it has a signature in the air.
‘When you wear a perfume it should make you feel special, it should make you feel good. It should make you feel more confident and able to face the world.
How Coco Chanel created Britain’s best loved perfume Chanel No. 5
In 1920 Coco Chanel approached perfumer Ernest Beaux with a request to make ‘a perfume that will make even the perfumers jealous’ using the best ingredients available.
She later claimed to have been involved in the experimental stage of creating the perfume, visiting the laboratory and giving her opinions on different smells and ingredients
Chanel asked Beaux how easy it would be for another perfumer to steal the fragrance of their new perfume. While the formula could be secret, he told her, there was no way it could be protect. They agreed the only solution would be to keep the ingredients too expensive to imitate.
Source: Michael Edwards for Perfume Legends
Coco Chanel wanted to create a perfume that will ‘make even the perfumers jealous’
Supermodel Gisele Bundchen became the face of the perfume in a 2014 ad campaign
‘At the same time, if somebody else compliments you on it it adds to the pleasure.’
The perfume was created in 1920 by Ernest Beaux and has since been adapted by Henri Robert and Jacques Polge.
‘I am told that when Mlle Chanel met Ernest Beaux she asked him to create ‘a perfume that will make even the perfumers jealous’. She said he could use the richest products available, and so he used the best he had – jasmine from Grasse, May rose, a special quality of ylang-ylang – and, at the end, he added some aldehydes to let all that richness fly a little,’ Polge said.
Coco Chanel was insistent that no other perfumer would be able to copy the scent, which was achieved by keeping the formula a secret and too expensive to imitate, according to Beaux.
The Perfume Shop says women love Chanel No. 5 for its ‘distinctive’ scent, but men also buy it for their partners as a luxury gift.
Gill Smith, The Perfume Shop Managing Director comments: ‘The perfume world is very driven by trends and fashion and innovation however, there is one fragrance which stands above all others.
Catherine Deneuve was in a 1971 campaign in which she said: ‘You don’t have to ask for it. He knows what you want.’
Carole Bouquet, a former Bond girl, became the face of the brand in the 1980s
‘Chanel No.5 is, and has always been, our best-selling luxury perfume. It’s loved by women for its distinctive scent and heritage, and loved by men as they know that any scented gift they give with the famous inter-locking C’s will always be happily received.
‘Chanel No.5 will still be number one on the sales chart but I’m looking forward to seeing how the new Gabrielle challenges the more established Chanel brands.’
The fragrance has been endorsed by several celebrities, including Marilyn Monroe, Gisele Bundchen, Nicole Kidman and Catherine Deneuve.
Marilyn is perhaps its most famous fan, famously saying she sleeps in nothing but Chanel No. 5.
The icon didn’t actually become the face of the perfume until 2013, over 50 years after her death, when she was pictured in an ad campaign.
Other best sellers which consistently appeared in The Perfume Shop’s best sellers include Dior J’Adore, Daisy by Marc Jacobs, Jean Paul Gaultier Classique and Angel by Mugler.
Actress Ali McGraw became the face of Chanel No. 5 to appeal to the youth market
Actress and model Suzy Parker was one of the first faces of a fragrance in 1957