Chanel is in bloom again

Thursday, 1 September 2016


It’s the first day of spring, flowers are blooming, bees are getting busy. Yay for Mother Earth! But it’s also a huge day for fans of the iconic French brand Chanel and the beauty world is abuzz about the ultimate floral whirlwind, Chanel N°5 L’eau, which is launched today. Perfumer Olivier Polge introduces his take on the iconic scent and some are saying it’s the sexiest one so far.

Coco Chanel was obsessed with the number five and believed it held mystical qualities. In 1921, on the fifth day of the fifth month, she launched her first fragrance in her rue Cambon boutique in Paris. The rest is history and Chanel claim that a product bearing its name – scent, soap or bath oil – is sold every six seconds.

Being associated with the brand is a big deal. There are ‘muses’, a cost-free affair based on friendship, and ‘faces’, high-earners who are usually celebrities embodying the spirit of the time.

Lily-Rose Depp was announced as the face of Chanel N°5 L’eau in May and we got a better look at the 17-year-old model when teaser videos were released this week. And because we love us some beauty history, we’re looking back at some of the brand’s famous faces over the decades. What they earned, we’ll never know – it’s tacky to talk money, darlings – but being the face of an iconic French brand must have been a thrill for each of them.

Chanel faces

The 1920s

1. The first ever ad for Chanel N°5 was an illustration depicting the couturier herself. It was created by the hottest Parisian caricaturist of his time, Sem, and showed mademoiselle in all her glory gazing up adoringly at a bottle of heaven-sent Chanel.

The 1930s

2. The golden age of photography had dawned. This picture was shot by Francois Kollar, famed for his often surrealistic style. Coco is the subject again, now at the height of her fame and photographed in her new-found grandeur in a suite at the Paris Ritz hotel.

The 1960s

3. When asked by an interviewer in 1954 what she wore in bed, Marilyn Monroe answered ‘a few drops of Chanel N°5’. She didn’t earn a scent for the endorsement and was never officially the face of the scent.

The 1970s

4. When the great French actress Catherine Deneuve became the face of Chanel N°5, she was barely known outside of France. But her cool, sophisticated beauty was the perfect fit for the scent.

The 1980s and 1990s

5. Perhaps the ultimate in chic Parisian beauty, Carole Bouquet, reigned as N°5’s face for a very long time. When she took over she was famous for playing the Bond girl in 1981’s For Your Eyes Only and for being the wife of Gérard Depardieu.

The 2000s

6 and 7. Nicole Kidman was the face of N°5 for half of the decade and was followed by French-born actress Audrey Tautou. Her first campaign’s release was a symbolic one on 5 May 2009. It was 88 years to the day since N°5 had been introduced.


8 and 9. In May 2012, in a twist for the fragrance, the company announced that Brad Pitt would be the first male to advertise N°5. Any excuses to look at more pictures of Brad was just fine with us. He was replaced in 2014 by Brazilian supermodel Gisele Bündchen.

Fun fact: Lily-Rose’s mother, Vanessa Paradis, fronted a campaign for a sister fragrance, Coco, during the ‘90s. The ad featured the actress and singer in almost nothing but feathers and twittering merrily in a gilded cage, inspired by one Coco had in her own flat.


Want to write a comment? Sign in here sign up now
Tell your friends
  1. Arlene Beukes

    Chanel scents are so beautiful and timeless. Every woman should have at least one bottle Chanel in her fragrance collection. Chanel is luxury bottled! #AllIwantforChristmasisChanelno5

    2 years ago •

  1. Phumelele Mampuru

    Excited to know of this new launched product, I am like a kid in a candy shop when it comes to buying or selecting a new perfume, I have found Chanel scents to be long lasting and classic, I have used the famous Mademoiselle and Chance Eau Fraiche and wearing Chance Eau Fraiche as I am writing this review. It’s my Spring, Summer signature scent. I love its freshness that bursts all day until I’m ready for the next shower. I have never had to retouch and spray again and I always get a compliment because of its clean fresh citrus scent. However I have never tried the famous No.5 and would love to try the new No.5 Leau. Exciting to see Brad as the new Face of the Men range too.

    3 years ago •

  1. Cookie Nandlall

    Marilyn Monroe: sassy, stunning, sophiscated prima donna.

    3 years ago •


    Nicole Kidman is timeless and always so classy!

    3 years ago •

BeautySouthAfrica - your pre-shop stop for all things beauty is South Africa’s most comprehensive online beauty magazine and your pre-shop stop for product information and reviews. From the latest international make-up trends to the hottest new products on the market, we offer insights into the glamorous world of beauty. Join like-minded beauty fanatics in our loyalty program and earn points, trial beauty products and share your experiences.

Become a beauty addict!

Get great deals and climb the ladder to a Gold Star!


Sign In