Station: [20] F – Bottle: „Chanel No. 5“

  • Glasmuseum Wertheim

Sprecher

The smoke from burning plants and animal fats originally created fragrant Perfumes and this is where the name perfume comes from, from „per fumo,“ – „ through smoke“.

Sprecherin

Glass containers were used to package these captivating perfumes and prevent them from losing their fragrance from very early on. During the Christian Middle Ages using perfumes and anointing the dead was condemned as a pagan Jewish custom. This meant that the trading of healing herbs and perfumed medicines that were sold in glass vials and small bottles flourished in monasteries. In the 16th century perfume arrived at the European Courts via Katharina de Medici, and with it, a reawakened sense for beauty and personal grooming.

Sprecher

Perfume is still produced today in the town of Grasse in the south of France. Since Katharina de Medici introduced perfume to Europe this once tanner’s town has developed into a world-famous perfume centre. The tanners originally used the perfume to cover-up the awful smell of the leather.

Sprecherin

The production and sales of perfume was in the hands of the chemists, haberdashery traders and the glove makers. They poured the valuable beauty water out of large bottles into small perfume containers. The rich and beautiful used their own small bottles which, depending on the fashion, were designed in romantic or geometrically abstract shapes. In 1921, a sober, cool-looking bottle revolutionised the whole perfume industry with a novel, artificially produced perfume. It was called Chanel No. 5.

Sprecher

To get help with the design of her first brand of perfume, Coco Chanel turned to Ernest Beaux of the Parfums Rallet company, who also worked with the court perfumier to the Russian Zsars. Chanel wanted to create her own scent, not a mixture or an imitation of something from nature. Beaux Presented her with 10 numbered perfume samples, which Chanel smelt and selected „No. 5“. The minimalist crystal glass bottle was a further marketing strategy, which made Coco Chanel’s perfume the most famous brand all over the world. And Marilyn Monroe’s comment certainly contributed to its fame:

Sprecherin

An interviewer asked her: „What do you wear to bed?“ To which she replied: „ Chanel No. 5“.