This year, 2018, marks the 98th anniversary of the release (in 1920) of a phenomenal perfume: Chanel No. 5 created by Ernest Beaux from 128 ingredients. It was not only successful (an understatement) but it was immensely lucrative. Chanel No. 5 formed the foundation of Gabrielle Chanel's personal fortune. And that wealth gave her total freedom: freedom from having to rely upon the capital infusions loaned to her over the preceding years by a series of male friends-lovers.

Gabrielle Chanel was as amazing a person as Chanel No. 5 was amazing as a perfume. Indeed the two "entities" seemed to have been made for each other. And her meeting Ernest Beaux was a good fortune to the Nth degree. "Coco", as she was nicknamed in her younger years, then became a splendidly successful and world-famous couturière.

She was a completely self-made woman. Orphaned at 12 and raised by Catholic nuns. She first wanted to be in the theatre but eventually had to give that up (she had a mediocre singing voice) and it was at that point that she began designing and selling women's hats. That led to clothes. And of course Chanel No. 5.

We are approaching the 135th anniversary of her birth on August 20th, 1883.