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  1. #1

    Default Chanel #5 story........

    Tonight I was in the mall in Elizabethtown, KY with my girlfriend and while she was shopping for shoes (she is a true-life Carrie Bradshaw) I decided to walk to Belk-Simpson and check out the prices on their gift sets. I smelled a couple of mens scents (Kenneth Cole Thermal/Sean John Unforgivable) before wandering over to the women's counter to sniff around as well. I had checked out Vera Wang Princess, Jessica McClintock New Victorian, and Estee Lauder Pure White Linen when this young man (20-25 years old) approaches the counter beside me and two SA's pounce on him like they did me before I gave them the old "I'm just looking" line. I overhear the young man tell them that he was looking for a present for his girlfriend and he wanted something really nice and without hesitation the male AND female SA's take him straight to the Chanel sub-counter. I kind of followed them around the counter and heard the young man say that he had heard of Chanel #5 and wanted to buy it...............without ever smelling anything!!!!! The guy flopped down the plastic on a bottle of perfume he never even smelled and didn't say anything about his girlfriend liking it either. I'm assuming this was a $100 or so purchase because from my viewpoint--which was rather close--he bought the large bottle. Now I'm totally assuming that his girlfriend is approximately his age, but I cannot see a 18-30 year old pulling off Chanel #5.............maybe Allure or Chance but not #5!!!! Do you ladies agree with me or am I off on this assumption?

  2. #2

    Default Re: Chanel #5 story........

    I got a gift of No. 5 when I was 18, and I did wear it, and I did like it, yet whatever attracted me to it at that young age vanished.

    It was a coming-of-age experience, and I think you have noticed something worthy of comment. During WW2, No. 5 was one of those fabled "French perfumes" that soldiers brought back from the European theatre of war. It had a very strong brand that has continued to this day, undiluted, whereas the same cannot be said for the competitor brand Guerlain, which has not retained as strong a presence in the upscale market. Caron has, but Caron does not enjoy worldwide recognition. Chanel No. 5 is the Rolls Royce of the perfume world and has since its debut been sold on the basis of its sophistication and the premise of buying a bit of elegance and tasteful chic.

    In many ways, this scent remains a rite of passage. It is still synonymous with class, which is a quality that is sorely lacking in modern commercial perfume releases, which are all about democracy and lowest common denominator (hence vanilla and fruit) and the financial bottom line.

    Moreover, as a baseline for classic perfumes, it stands unchallenged. Even if the giftee does not care for the scent, the message is not weakened. The giftor has chosen something that women universally recognize as a luxury good, and in turn it addresses both the good taste and the consideration of the purchaser.

    No. 5 succeeds on three levels. First and foremost, it is the nonpareil of aldehydic, formal florals. Secondarily, it succeeds as a brand standing alone from the Chanel label in the way many luxury cars do (Silver Shadow, etal) Lastly, it is a way to purchase into a presumed lifestyle.

    Had the person purchased Allure or Chance, the message would have been weakened. Understanding this young man's ignorance in perfumed matters, the clerks were correct to select something that would transmit a very specific, wordless communication.
    Last edited by Paisley; 19th November 2006 at 03:37 AM. Reason: treating English as a second language when it isn't

  3. #3

    tigrushka's Avatar
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    Apr 2003
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    Default Re: Chanel #5 story........

    Well, I got Chanel no. 5 parfum when I was nineteen and wore it as my special occasion fragrance while it lasted. I loved it and swore it would be my signature when I was "old enough" to wear it on a daily basis. I'm still waiting...

    To quote Bob Dylan: Ah, but I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now.
    "Wovon man nicht lesen kann, darüber muss man schreiben."

  4. #4

    Default Re: Chanel #5 story........

    Thank both of you for your replies...........I didn't understand the "rite of passage" that Chanel #5 represents but you are absolutely represents a glamorous, prestigous, and chic profile that most young ladies want to attain even if the fragrance ultimately doesn't appeal to them. Last year I purchased Coco Mademoiselle for my girlfriend for Christmas and even though she doesn't wear it as much as say Lovely by SJP or Dior's Pure Poison, the Chanel Coco Mdml is the centerpiece and main attraction of her perfume collection and all her friends want a spritz of it when they come over. Thank you again for your really opened my eyes up to the value of a prestige fragrance over the practicality of a lesser prestigous fragrance.

  5. #5
    The power of bleu
    shadesofbleu's Avatar
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    Jun 2005
    Jayhawk country!

    Default Re: Chanel #5 story........

    My niece's friend, a high school senior, has made #5 her signature scent. It's all that she wears. Part of it is the allure of the name, part is a desire to seem sophisticated, part of it is the urge to stand out against the fruity/floral stuff that all her friends wear. I see some other young girls using similar classic scents for the same reasons, but I think Chanel has sort of used marketing to their advantage. And don't forget, Chanel handbags are SO popular with the young ladies in this age range right now. It's a trend that is anti-trend, if that makes any sense.
    I've trademarked the color bleu

  6. #6

    Default Re: Chanel #5 story........

    This is an interesting thread. Paisly I am impressed with the depth of your explanation about Chanel #5... my mother had Chanel #5 in her collection, and it always seemed too heady for me...until recently when I tested it and could appreciate its nuances for the first time, really. Chanel is a house I want to explore in my own good time, each one I have sniffed at the fragrance counter seems to have such a strong personality, it is very intriguing. I own no. 19 and like it very much, Gardenia is on my wishlist in spite of the fact that my overzealous application in the store nearly asphyxiated me! There is something very steady about Chanel fragrances, quality, classic, jewel like.
    "Like a lobster with a pearl in its claw, the beet held the jasmine firmly without crushing or obscuring it. Beet lifted jasmine, the way a bullnecked partner lifts a ballerina, and the pair came on stage on citron's fluty cue. As if jasmine were a collection of beautiful paintings, beet hung it in the galleries of the nose, insured it against fire or theft, threw a party to celebrate it. Citron mailed the invitations." Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins p. 189

    What I am loving right now: Shalimar vintage extrait, Chanel Bois des Iles, Chanel no. 22, Le Labo Iris 39, Guerlain Iris Ganache

  7. #7

    Default Re: Chanel #5 story........

    No. 5 is VERY popular among the young ones right now, apparently, probably because of the associations with femininity and high status that have already been mentioned. In an article on young women and perfume on OsMoz, Chanel No. 5 was listed as the only non-celebrity frag recognized and liked by teens. J.Lo Glow was at the top of the name-recognition list.

    Oddly, though I love Chanel to death, No. 5 is the only classic Chanel that I actually dislike. (I don't count Allure or Chance in the "classic Chanel" category.) I think it's BECAUSE of all those associations - wearing Chanel No. 5 is a safe choice, an elegance so universally recognized that it's almost a "generic classic." When most people think of beautiful perfume, they automatically think Chanel No. 5. I tend to veer away from things that are universally acclaimed, and to lean toward the unique and the underrated, so I just don't think No. 5 would suit my personality at all. I do think it's pretty... but then, so does everyone else.

  8. #8

    TaoLady's Avatar
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    Sep 2006
    Coastal South Carolina

    Default Re: Chanel #5 story........

    Forty some odd years ago I Christmas-gifted a then-8-year-old niece with Chanel #5. Encountered her at a wedding last year and she reminded me of that - how thrilled and "grown-up" it made her feel at that time - and that she still wears it. :bounce: Classics span the ages!!

    Fragrance and cosmetic houses "rent" space at the big department stores and their sales-persons DO get "pm" or "push money" for the sales they make. At least that was true when I left the industry twenty years ago.

    I think that what Paisely had to say about Chanel #5 also holds true for Patou's Joy - at least in major markets in this country.
    "The world is ruled by letting things take their course. It cannot be ruled by interfering." Lao Tze

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