Chanel Celebrates No 5 Anniversary

Chanel on Tuesday, May 5, launched several initiatives to commemorate the anniversary of the debut of its legendary No 5 perfume on May 5, 1921.

Along with new ads, the main item in the current effort is a short Internet film starring French actress Audrey Tautou, which is directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet. The film, called “Train de Nuit,” depicts a brief encounter between a man and a woman traveling to Istanbul on an Orient Express train.

Tautou follows in the footsteps of cinematic muses like Nicole Kidman, Ali McGraw, Carole Bouquet, Lauren Hutton and Catherine Deneuve who have served as spokeswomen for the brand. It can be viewed exclusively at in both 60-second and 2:20 versions. There are also “making of” and “behind-the-scenes” vignettes with the actress and the director.

“For me, a woman who wears perfume represents the ultimate in femininity,” Tautou said in a statement. “When a woman has a pleasant or mysterious scent, it adds a little something to her.”

Clips from the film will be used in Chanel print and TV advertising, featuring Tautou. Chanel handles its ads in-house.

In 1921, fashion designer Coco Chanel commissioned perfumer Ernest Beaux to create a new fragrance. Reportedly, five was Chanel’s lucky number, and after five tries, and on the fifth day of May, the fifth month of the year, she was presented with the scent.  Or so Chanel’s history says.

Department store Saks Fifth Avenue in New York will partner with Chanel in promoting the brand. Chanel and Saks have created a new arts program at a city school, P.S. 5 (Ellen Lurie Elementary School), which will receive special funding for after-school art classes, supplies and trips.

Chanel will take over Saks’ flagship Fifth Avenue store through May 10 and a portion of Fifth Avenue will be renamed “Avenue No 5.” Seventeen window dressings inspired by the “Train de Nuit” film will feature selections from the brand’s ready-to-wear collection. Indoors, the main floor will have prominent No 5 displays, as well as other locations throughout the store.