Chanel’s new No. 5 L’Eau drop bottle was inspired by Marilyn Monroe

By Margaux Anbouba


Since 1952, Chanel No. 5 and Marilyn Monroe have been intertwined. Now, Chanel takes the relationship a step further with a new limited-edition bottle to house its No. 5 L’Eau Drop

In her April 1952 Time cover story, 26-year-old phenomenon Marilyn Monroe shared a beauty anecdote that’s still quoted today: “Once this fellow says ‘Marilyn, what do you wear to bed?’ So I said I only wear Chanel No. 5.” This was before the time of celebrities spilling their routines in 'beauty secrets' videos and 'top shelves', but the response was astounding and No. 5 sales skyrocketed. In the 70 years since that printing, Monroe and Chanel have become intertwined. Today, the French fashion and beauty maison is taking it a step further, revealing a new and limited-edition bottle inspired by the quote.


Photo: © Photo Ed Feingersh/Michael Ochs Archives/ Getty Images. © Marilyn Monroe TM: The Estate of Marilyn Monroe, LLC

“Much like No. 5, Marilyn carries something universal and at the same time very intimate,” Thomas du Pré de Saint Maur, Chanel’s head of global creative resources for fragrance and beauty, tells Vogue exclusively. This is the second time the house has paid homage to its history with Monroe – in 2013, the actor was the face of the fragrance through a collaboration with her estate. “She is the ultimate star with this life force, and yet she also embodies femininity laid bare, in its fragility and cracks.”

While Monroe wore the original formulation of No. 5, the Drop bottle is filled with 2016’s No. 5 L’Eau, chosen because it embodies the modernity of both the new bottle and the moment. “I created No. 5 L’Eau to show No. 5 in a new light, surprising anyone who thought they knew it,” says Chanel’s in-house perfumer Olivier Polge. When conceiving the new juice, he stripped down the OG formula to just essential facets that make No. 5, well, No. 5 – the recognisable aldehyde note mingling with jasmine, rose, and ylang-ylang … and from there, he added in citrus and cedarwood. And Polge’s “fresher, more casual version of No. 5” was born.

Photo: Chanel

Photo: Chanel

Photo: Chanel

Sylvie Legastelois, Chanel’s head of packaging and design, describes the incredibly collectible bottle as “a feat of glassmaking.” Allegedly, No. 5’s instantly recognisable flacon was inspired by a whiskey decanter Coco Chanel saw at her lover Captain Arthur Edward “Boy” Capel's home. But Monroe’s quote, combined with the fresher L’Eau juice, inspired something completely different for Legastelois. “From this story came the desire to create an object with ergonomics similar to that legendary drop of perfume.” Now, the scent is simply “wrapped in a drop of glass,” she adds.

It’s a vintage moment, made modern. “We all need a drop,” Legastelois adds. “Just a drop of No. 5 L’Eau!”

The limited-edition No. 5 L’Eau Drop Bottle will be available to shop on on June 13.

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