Born in 1883, Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel overcame a difficult childhood to become the most successful fashion designer of her time. Her personal style was revolutionary in its simplicity and practicality; she introduced to the mainstream a number of innovations, and in doing so almost single-handedly changed the face of women’s fashion.
In 1921, perfumer Ernest Beaux created Chanel No. 5 for her – possibly the most famous perfume in the world; one of its iconic bottles is said to be sold every thirty seconds. It was one of the first perfumes to contain a mixture of flowers, and the first to use aldehydes so prominently.
Parfums Chanel has employed four in-house perfumers during its history: Ernest Beaux from 1920 to 1961, followed by Henri Robert from 1958 until 1987 - and from 1978 to 2015, Jacques Polge. Olivier Polge joined the company in 2013, and took over from his father Jacques in 2015.
Also, since his appointment in 2005 as Director of Research & Development for Fragrance, Christopher Sheldrake has worked in collaboration with both Polges on several Chanel fragrances.