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Chanel

The legendary fashion and fragrance house that Coco built. Gabrielle Chanel (called “Coco” by her friends) grew up in rural France as the daughter of a market-stall holder and a laundry woman.  She grew up in a Cistercian convent at Aubazine after her mother died.

Obssessed with cleanliness and the smell of soap and clean skin, she was known to complain about the odor of musk and bad body odor of the rich when she worked among them.

She came to Paris originally with baron Etienne Balsan in 1909 as his mistress. She launched Chanel in 1910 and opened her first shop in Paris in 1913. She sent waves through the fashion industry with her simple, elegant lines, introducing pants for women and will always be known for creating the “little black dress.” She died in 1971, and Karl Lagerfeld became chief designer in 1983.  Jersey was her fabric of choice, mostly due to cost, but remained her fabric of choice because it suited her designs and it eventually became one of her modern perfumes in the Les Exclusifs Collection.

Chanel No. 5 was their first fragrance launch, plumped up with aldehydes and advertising and celebrity endorsements. From that day to this, it remains one of the best-selling perfumes in the world - selling one bottle every 30 seconds. Ernest Beaux was the in-house perfumer for Chanel for many years and is responsible for all of the early classics that are still in production - he was the perfumer that created No. 5, which the rumor is it was a bit of an accident.  The quote from her website about its creation - “I want to give the world something artificial.... like a dress. Something that has been made.... I want a perfume that is a composition”.

A couple of famous quotes by Coco Chanel have to do with perfume.  "A woman should wear perfume wherever she wants to be kissed." and "A women who doesn't wear perfume has no future."

Pour Monsieur was created in the 1950s and has become the "No. 5" for men. Classic and iconic, it is a standard for men's fragrance.

In 1978, Jacques Polge became the in-house perfumer for Chanel.

Chanel has gone on to create many iconic fragrances for men and women – Pour Monsieur, Coco, Allure, Egoiste, No. 22, Chance, Bleu.

Select a Chanel perfume sample of No. 5, Cristalle or Pour Monsieur to get a taste of the classics from this house.  Select a Chanel perfume sample of 31 Rue Cambon (Les Exclusifs collection) or Bleu to sample some of their more recent releases.

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