An enchanting Chanel exhibition

The event promises a fragrance journey rich in experiences and is set to be the highlight of the beauty calendar

By Ingrid Wood

If you happen to be in Paris this holiday season, make sure you book your place at the Le Grand Numéro de Chanel for a delectable festive scent experience. The exhibition, which takes place from 15 December to 9 January, at the Grand Palais Éphémère in the City of Light, will be a spectacular celebration of Chanel fragrances, offering guests an immersive, emotional, and interactive event – the first of its kind.

The name Le Grand Numéro de Chanel is symbolic of the House’s emblematic numbers (Gabrielle Chanel was the first to name a fragrance after a number), as well as a reference to the importance of artistic performance to the brand. “This act reminds us of the fact that Gabrielle Chanel became Coco around 1901 when she was living in Moulins and performing as a singer,” explains Thomas du Pré de Saint Maur, Head of Global Creative Resources for Chanel Fragrance & Beauty, Fine Watches & Jewelry. “Fragrance is a virtuosic performance by the perfumer. It is also a spectacular celebration of life, movement, of allure: a daily invitation to put on a show…”

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What can you expect? A series of sensational acts, a fragrance journey rich in experiences, discoveries and emotions! If you think you know your N°5 from your N°19, your Coco Mademoiselle from your Gabrielle Chanel, think again. Chanel perfume lovers will have the opportunity to discover every facet of their favourite fragrances, including some unexpected discoveries. “Le Grand Numéro de Chanel… will tell its entire story, which is usually only told in fragments,” says du Pré de Saint Maur. “For N°5, we will further explore its cultural and historic influence with a retrospective of its best advertising campaigns, as well as a deep dive into its artistic influence with a series of art pieces inspired by N°5.”

“The idea for this event was to demonstrate the singular nature of Chanel fragrances,” adds Olivier Polge, Chanel In-House Perfumer-Creator. “Fragrance has meaning, and the whole environment created around a fragrance – the visual aspect, the experience – adds something to it. We developed tools that allow people to smell fragrances as well as ingredients, making the experience fully immersive.

“Fragrance has an extraordinary ability to evoke things in people and recall memories from their lives,” says Polge. “It reaches us on a very intimate level, and I think that is what makes it so powerful. It cultivates our imagination. The magic of a fragrance also lies in the fact that we are unable to put our finger on the exact feeling that it arouses in us; it plays with our emotions and transports us to a place that we cannot describe. And this element of mystery is part of the dream. For all these reasons, I hope visitors will be surprised.”

It is undoubtedly going to be the highlight of the beauty calendar and all we want for Christmas right now is a trip to Paris for a little Chanel celebration!

Admission is free but registration is essential. Bookings open on November 17th on the Chanel website.

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