Chanel Celebrates its History of Fragrance With an Exclusive Exhibition

Lindsay Judge   |   13-12-2022

Chanel is honouring its history of fragrance with Le Grand Numéro De Chanel event in Paris.


This festive exhibition at The Grand Palais Éphémère invites guests on a journey through the House’s olfactory journey. The immersive experience invites visitors to discover the house’s fragrances from iconic to classic, to the most recent designs. The experience allows guests to smell, touch and discover the world of fragrance heightening the senses and taking them on a journey.



“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, which, in my view, is essential.” Said Olivier Polge, Chanel’s In-House Perfumer Creator. “What’s fantastic about fragrance is that it cultivates our imagination; smelling a scent takes us on a journey. 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.” He explained.



The event is a way of showcasing not only the brand’s current and previous perfumes but sharing the history of the connection between Chanel and fragrance over the years. It aims to evoke memories and thoughts in the minds of the visitors, highlighting the importance of fragrance in our lives. “Fragrance has an extraordinary ability to evoke things in people and recall memories from their lives; it’s one of the aspects of my job that I enjoy most. Fragrance reaches us on a very intimate level, and I think that is what makes it so powerful. I often hear extremely personal stories about cities people lived in, and memories of loved ones—we have so many anecdotes about fragrances. We tend to personify them.” Said Polge.



“Fragrance is a connection to the world around us, a way of portraying ourselves to the world; it expresses our personality just like the clothes we wear or our mannerisms. Fragrance reveals yet another facet, something that cannot be conveyed any other way. What I really like is when the person wearing a fragrance contributes to its story, brings it to life, and I love being surprised when a fragrance is worn a certain way or paired with a certain style—it can be very unexpected! We can’t categorize people by their tastes, just like a fragrance is not meant for one age group more so than another. What matters is the chemistry between a fragrance and the person who wears it.” He explains.



Over the years many of Chanel’s fragrances have become icons, differentiating themselves from others on the market and remaining true to the couture history of the house. “Chanel fragrances are different.” Said Polge. “They were the first fragrances created by a dressmaker; Gabrielle Chanel had the incredible intuition that a fragrance could express one’s style. Nowadays, fashion and fragrance are a natural pairing, but at the time, she was a visionary! She didn’t tie her style to a specific raw material, but rather to a state of mind, something more refined and less representational. N°5 is an artificial fragrance, a more complex blend than a formula linked to one specific flower. And this is quite characteristic of Chanel fragrances, which are always very elaborately crafted and a key component of which are flowers.”



Le Grand Numéro De Chanel exhibition will run from 15th December to 9th January at the Grand Palais Éphémère in Paris. Entry is free. Register at