Something in the Air

In a growing trend, retailers are perfuming stores with near-subliminal scents. Call it branding's final frontier

In 1921, Coco Chanel was preparing to take the wraps off her first commercial fragrance. She had already contracted the most renowned perfumer in Europe to create her No. 5 scent, designed the moderne bottle herself and sent samples to all the society women in Paris. But Chanel needed an extra push to help sell the fragrance at her boutique at 31 rue Cambon. That’s when (the story goes) the designer ordered each of her salesladies to spray the perfume all over the boutique, from the dressing rooms to, especially, the entrance.