Currently ongoing in Paris at the Palais de Tokyo is an exhibit on Chanel No.5. Such is the stature of this iconic perfume that a whole exhibit has been dedicated to it. If, however you don’t have time to see this exhibit, there is a way of knowing more about this perfume without having to leave the comfort of your home. Thanks to Tilar Mazzeo’s The Secret of Chanel No 5, we are treated to a thoroughly researched yet engrossingly told tale of how one of the world’s most famous perfumes came into being and how its success was almost against its creator’s will.
What’s really great about this book is its creative non-fiction style. Mazzeo defines this as “the art of writing truthfully and accurately about history while using the techniques of compelling storytelling.” I love that she is able to take what could otherwise be a dry collection of facts and turns it into a story that’s much more about a perfume. It becomes instead a tale of a strong-willed woman and the times she lived in. With this book, we visit the perfume region of Grasse and Paris, of course. And we learn so many intriguing things too–to cite one, Chanel’s sublime indifference to marketing what ultimately became her signature perfume. Another thing to appreciate from this book is the wealth of information in the book which speaks to the enormous research that went into it. the book makes it clear that an enormous amount of research went into this book.
I so thoroughly enjoyed this book that when I finished it, I wanted to go and douse myself in the heady scent of Chanel No.5