This must be common knowledge to perfumistas and historians of fashion, but I just learned that Coco Chanel was obsessed with the number 5, doing things like releasing her collections on the fifth day of the fifth month of the year. It had something do due with that number's prominence in her childhood; it made an indelible impression on her.


Then there is the famous story of perfumer Ernest Beaux lining up numbered vials for Chanel to sniff, whereupon she exclaimed, "Number 5! That's it!" What if Coco's obsession with her lucky number psychologically disposed her toward favoring whatever juice happened to be in vial #5, regardless of its olfactory properties? If Ernest had arbitrarily numbered those vials at all differently, would the world now be talking about a completely different fragrance (that is, if history remembered it at all)?


Then again, maybe that whole origin story is apocryphal. Perhaps Coco just said, "5 is my lucky number. That's going to be the name of this perfume."