Beauty / Beauty News

Just a drop. CHANEL’s new N°5 L’Eau

CHANEL N°5 embodies so much of what it means to be a woman: optimism, strength, intimacy and fragility. The fragrance, created by Ernest Beaux in 1921 and immortalised by Marilyn Monroe in 1952 when she revealed it was "the only thing she wore to bed", redefined its category.

Beaux eschewed classic floral top notes of the era in favour of aldehydes, a response to Gabrielle Chanel's request to come up with a perfume that smelt "like a woman" and not a rose. Aldehydes are typically synthetic molecules known to lift a fragrance, providing it with buoyancy, complexity and often a powdery, skin-like finish.

In 2016, CHANEL In-House Perfumer Olivier Polge reimagined the classic as N°5 L'Eau. Defining facets —  the aforementioned aldehydes plus jasmine and ylang ylang — were left in tact, but with the addition of bright citrus and cedarwood. L'Eau presented N°5 in a fresh, youthful way. This magic has once again been reinvented, this time housed in a limited edition glass drop bottle.

Referential in its design, the transparent bottle is both beautiful and ergonomic. Inspired by a single drop of perfume, the sphere fits neatly into the palm of your hand (some might remember that Monroe wore precisely 'five drops' to bed). L'Eau is fragrance laid bare. No sharp edges. Fresh, feminine and fragile all at once.

It's a world away from the whiskey-decanter inspired shape of the original N°5, but the glass drop still feels distinctly CHANEL. Most will appreciate the way it catches the light. It also doesn't stand up on its own, but L'Eau is designed to be transported — the tactile curves fit neatly into most handbags. Gabrielle Chanel, a women who loved to travel, would probably approve (she was a champion for practicality, after all).

LEFT: CHANEL Beauty N°5 L'EAU fragrance. RIGHT: CHANEL jacket and bag; CHANEL COCO CRUSH fine jewellery earrings and rings; CHANEL Beauty N°5 L'EAU fragrance.


L'Eau Glass Drop hits every CHANEL hallmark — innovation, simplicity, modernity — but with the timeless appeal that's been assigned to N°5. It's not easy for a fragrance to retain relevance for over a century, but not all fragrances are CHANEL.

The limited-edition CHANEL N°5 L’Eau Drop Bottle will be available to shop from June 14 on


LEFT: CHANEL jacket, skirt, shoes and bag; CHANEL COCO CRUSH fine jewellery earrings and rings; CHANEL Beauty N°5 L'EAU fragrance. RIGHT: CHANEL bag; CHANEL Beauty N°5 L'EAU fragrance; CHANEL Beauty Mirror Double Facettes Mirror Duo compact; CHANEL Beauty Hydra Beauty Micro Serum Levres.


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