Chanel No. 5 was the first perfume launched by French couturier Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel. The chemical formula for the fragrance was compounded by Russian-French chemist and perfumer Ernest Beaux.
History of Chanel No. 5
At once, Joseph Robert was the chief perfumer at Chiris. With little prospect of being promoted under him, Ernest Beaux tried to use his contacts to the emigrated Russian nobility to get new projects. In 1920, with the help of the Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich of Russia (1891–1941), a companion of Coco Chanel (1883–1971), he arranged a meeting in Cannes late in the summer of 1920, where he presented his current and former works to Mlle. Chanel. Chanel chose the No. 5 as a Christmas present for her best clients. When Ernest Beaux asked her how she wanted to name that scent, she replied: "I always launch my collection on the 5th day of the 5th months, so the number 5 seems to bring me luck – therefore, I will name it Nº 5".Initially only 100 flacons of Chanel Nº 5 were produced, which she gave away on Christmas 1921 for free to her best clients.However, soon the demand for further supply was such that she decided to launch the perfume officially for sale in her shops in 1922. In 1922, she also launched a second fragrance from the two numbered series of bottles that Beaux had presented her, and which were numbered one through five, and twenty through twenty-four: Chanel Nº 22, the bottle no. 22 from the second series. But since this didn't do as well as Nº 5 it was withdrawn and only relaunched in 1926.
Ernest Beaux left Chiris in 1922 to head a sales agency for his friend Eugene Charabot in Paris. However, Chanel Nº 5 did so well that Bader and Wertheimer, owners of Galeries Lafayette, bought the rights to it from Coco Chanel on April 4, 1924, and founded Parfums Chanel for which they hired Ernest Beaux as chief perfumer. In his new function Ernest Beaux created many famous perfumes until he retired in 1954; his successor as chief perfumer of Perfumes Chanel was Henri Robert.