Parisian Stroll #11 – N°5 Culture Chanel

The Palais de Tokyo houses the N°5 Culture Chanel exhibition, revealing the links which connected the timeless scent to specific moments in time and to the avant-garde movements it spanned.

Text: Christina Zikou


The code of the legendary perfume is to be cracked within a very unique Paris-based retrospective entrusted to Jean-Louis Froment, the curator of the previous editions of Culture Chanel, held in Moscow’s Pushkin State Museum for Fine Arts, in Beijing at the National Art Museum of China and more recently in the Opera House in Canton.

Gabrielle Chanel at the Ritz Hotel, 1937

The exclusive works of art, photographs, films, archives and objects exhibited retrace the story behind the many inspirations that fed the imagination and world of Mademoiselle Chanel. They echo her inner thoughts and shed light on this iconic scent; whether through her favorite destinations like Venice, Russia or her villa, La Pausa or through the reinterpretations of her artist friends Cocteau, Picasso, Apollinaire, Stravinsky, Picabia.


Chanel N°5 by Dali


Artwork by Max Ernst


Artwork by Francis Picabia


Chanel N°5

“N°5 is a perfume that travels afar. It crosses countries, gardens, books, poems and artistic movements, where it’s taken as a source for the modernity of its composition. It’s a perfume born of a love story, which its base note very subtly evokes at precisely the same instant time grasps it and carries it to us; so close and never fugitive, revealing even our most secret failings. Indefinable, the words that speak of it are abstract and the images which accompany it superposed on the thick layer of an artistic memory without time. The cultural effect which accompanies N°5 and the unique aura that encircles it, bring continuity to this perfume and enable it to span all periods with knowing assurance. And this journey has no end; it continues to merge and mix with an irreversible movement onward through time. Like a work of art which is renewed with each visitor’s gaze at every exhibition, N°5 recomposes its history with each encounter and time it traverses. Sustained by a set of references attached to the adventures of Modernity’s artistic forms and with Gabrielle Chanel’s very singular and romantic story as a backdrop, the N°5 perfume has gained the status of creation”, comments Jean-Louis Froment, curator of the exhibition.

The exhibition N°5 Culture Chanel runs from May 5th to June 5th 2013 at the Palais de Tokyo, 13 avenue du Président Wilson, 75016 Paris. For more information, visit

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