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In pictures: Chanel opens immersive fragrance exhibition

By Danielle Wightman-Stone

16 Dec 2022

Culture |Beauty

Image: Chanel; ‘Le Grand Numéro de Chanel’

Chanel is celebrating its storied fragrance brands with a festive and immersive exhibit at the Grand Palais Ephémère in Paris until January 9, 2023.

‘Le Grand Numéro de Chanel’ is a tribute to the “world of Chanel fragrances” with a focus on the French luxury house’s most famous scent, Chanel No.5, created in the 1920s. The playful free exhibition aims to heighten the senses and imagination by bringing to life the essence of a holiday window display as a unique sensory experience.

Thomas du Pré de Saint Maur, head of global creative resources for fragrance and beauty, fine jewellery and watches, said in a statement: “Chanel perfumery has an existential aim. Le Grand Numéro de Chanel is an emotional journey, an opportunity to discover every facet of a fragrance and the role it plays.”

Image: Chanel; ‘Le Grand Numéro de Chanel’

The exhibition is part cabaret, complete with live music and magic tricks, and a museum delving into Chanel’s fragrance history with art installations and archive fashion displays, alongside virtual reality immersions and expert fragrance consultations.

Le Grand Numéro de Chanel opens in Paris

Image: Chanel; ‘Le Grand Numéro de Chanel’

The largest section of the exhibition goes to Chanel No.5, sharing the history of the fragrance, including an interactive VR experience where visitors travel back in time and play the role of perfumer Ernest Beaux in 1921, and see Gabrielle Chanel select the fifth sample of what is now recognised as one of the world’s most iconic perfumes.

Another highlight is a gallery dedicated to art featuring Chanel’s logo, including Andy Warhol, while another room displays Chanel ads, and there is a section dedicated to Coco Mademoiselle set up like a control room showcasing everything from skis to basketballs, knee pads and even a skateboard stamped with double Cs.

Image: Chanel; ‘Le Grand Numéro de Chanel’

The Bleu de Chanel room allows visitors to immerse themselves into a multi-sensory world, peering into windows of the buildings and skyscrapers to find clues to access a speakeasy, and Les Eclusifs de Chanel invites guests to view 18 moving works of art where they can complete the scent version of a Rorschach test to find their alter ego among the Chanel fragrances.

The exhibition also offers visitors a game of chance, where they can spin a wheel of fortune to win a prize.

Image: Chanel; ‘Le Grand Numéro de Chanel’

“A fragrance is more than a name, a bottle, or a scent; it is also everything it brings to mind when we breathe it in, and all it evokes when we wear it,” adds Thomas du Pré de Saint Maur. “It is a spectacular and extraordinary creation. Many people believe that fragrance is an accessory or the finishing touch on a look, but it is so much more than that. Fragrance has a real effect on our feelings, confidence, mood, and desires, and this is what we want everyone to experience.”

Image: Chanel; ‘Le Grand Numéro de Chanel’
Image: Chanel; ‘Le Grand Numéro de Chanel’
Image: Chanel; ‘Le Grand Numéro de Chanel’
Image: Chanel; ‘Le Grand Numéro de Chanel’
Image: Chanel; ‘Le Grand Numéro de Chanel’
Image: Chanel; ‘Le Grand Numéro de Chanel’
Image: Chanel; ‘Le Grand Numéro de Chanel’
Beauty
CHANEL
Exhibition
Fragrance
PARIS