One of the most recognizable fragrances of all time, Chanel N°5, celebrates its 94 year anniversary. The Chanel N.5, In a New Light, exhibit opened its doors to the public on May 7th and will be on display for just one week. The innovative pop-up exhibit is exclusively held in New York, located along the High Line, in the trendy Meatpacking district. The revolutionary perfume created in 1921 by Coco Chanel with Earnest Beaux, is still the best selling and most famous fragrance in the world. The miniature exhibit offers a unique approach of experiencing the iconic fragrance, encouraging the visitors to:
“Let your senses guide you through the illumination of an icon. Discover the layers of creation, cultivation, composition, abstraction, and revelation of the world’s first modern fragrance.”
Chanel N.5 In a New Light exhibit in NYC
Upon entering the exhibit, you are greeted by a gentleman, sharply dressed in a black suit, giving a brief introduction of the tour and what’s awaiting inside. Immediately after walking across the threshold, a screen, displaying falling petals, gives you a sense that the exhibit will be as much visually stimulating as you hope it will be to your other senses. Proceeding along the dark corridor, miss Mademoiselle Chanel whispers into your ears, a prelude to entering the room of perfumery.
Within this new room are virtual water ponds with countless ‘floating’ petals. Since this exhibit is all about the senses there are no signs warning viewers not to touch, in fact, it’s just the opposite. The black suited tour guides instruct you to wave your hand along the petals. The screen reacts to the movement of your hand, revealing secret messages about the flowers of N.5.
Next, the guides are urging you to play with music. A wave over lighted discs, reveals musical notes that ring with each fragrance note. You listen to your guides informing you of the fragrance’s note history, and when it’s through you move on to feel more.
You’ve traveled through the passages of Creation, Cultivation, Composition, Abstraction, and then as you prepare to leave, you’re hit by the last, most meaningful part of the experience… Revelation. The last thing you feel in this interactive exhibition, is the perfume itself, wafting through the air before a display of the iconic Chanel N.5 bottle itself. Although you know this whole experience was set up to seduce you, you must admit to yourself, you might purchase the perfume even if it’s chemistry doesn’t suit you.
And when you recall the experience with your friends, you will likely say that the pop-up exhibit is a stimulating experience, sensorially and intellectually. So, whether you are a Chanel fan or not, this exhibition is definitely a must-see. After all, Chanel knew she hit it big when she made its discovery.
“Number five, my lucky number. It will be Chanel N°5. ” – Gabrielle Chanel
Watch the Chanel Chapter 1: The Legend of N°5 film below.
By Viktoria Yahalnitskaya © Fashion IQ, 2015