The Secret of Chanel No. 5: The Intimate History of the World's Most Famous Perfume

The Secret of Chanel No. 5: The Intimate History of the World's Most Famous Perfume

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By (author) Tilar J. Mazzeo

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  • Publisher: HarperPerennial
  • Format: Paperback | 320 pages
  • Dimensions: 136mm x 202mm x 22mm | 240g
  • Publication date: 5 October 2011
  • Publication City/Country: New York
  • ISBN 10: 0061791032
  • ISBN 13: 9780061791031
  • Edition statement: Reprint
  • Sales rank: 104,385

Product description

With its rich golden hue, art deco-inspired bottle, and timeless, musky scent, Chanel Number 5 is the world's bestselling perfume. Reverently known among industry insiders as "le monstre" - the monster - it is arguably the most coveted consumer luxury product of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Yet how did this pioneering celebrity fragrance, introduced in the early 1920s, eventually take on a life of its own, becoming a cultural monument celebrated by millions of devoted consumers? "The Secret of Chanel Number 5" is Tilar J. Mazzeo's far-ranging and fascinating search beyond the stuff of legend to uncover the full story of Number 5's creation, iconic status, and extraordinary success. Mazzeo goes back through time and deep into the life of Coco Chanel, the brilliant, controversial, and steel-willed businesswoman at the heart of the fragrance. She takes readers to the rose plantations and celebrated jasmine fields where the perfume begins and then to the laboratories and boardrooms where scent and sex are forever intertwined. And she travels to the heart of the Chanel empire: 31 Rue Cambon, Coco Chanel's flagship boutique, where six decades ago American GIs stormed the counters to possess the magical elixir that captured the luxury and romance of Paris for their girls back home. A blend of evocative history and thoughtful research, here is a glittering account of where art and sensuality mingle with dazzling entrepreneurship and desire: Chanel Number 5.

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Author information

Tilar J. Mazzeo is a cultural historian, biographer, and passionate student of wine, luxury, and French culture. She divides her time among the California wine country in Sonoma County, New York City, and Maine, where she is an associate professor of English at Colby College. She is the author of the New York Times bestseller The Widow Clicquot, as well as many other books, articles, essays, and reviews on history, women, and travel.

Review quote

"Mazzeo has written an account of the rarest of things-an international olfactory icon-that fairly rushes off the pages. Here is the life of one of the 20th century's most interesting and deeply complicated women, a fascinating cultural history, and the story of an extraordinary perfume."--Chandler Burr, "New York Times" scent critic and author of "The Perfect Scent"