The Secret of Chanel No. 5 by Tilar J. Mazzeo
The Intimate History of the World's Most Famous Perfume

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Synopsis

“Who knew that such a tiny bottle housed so many secrets?” —Michael Tonello, author of Bringing Home the Birkin

Tilar J. Mazzeo, author of the New York Times bestseller The Widow Clicquot (an Amazon Best of the Month book in October 2008) returns with a captivating history of the world’s most famous, seductive, and popular perfume: Chanel No. 5. Mazzeo’s sweeping story of the iconic scent (known as “le monstre” in the fragrance industry) stretches from Coco Chanel’s early success to the rise of the seminal fragrance during the 1950s to the confirmation of its bestseller status in today’s crowded perfume market.

“Here is the life of one of the 20th century’s most interesting and deeply complicated women, a fascinating cultural history, and the story of an extraordinary perfume.” —Chandler Burr, New York Times scent critic and author of The Perfect Scent

 

About Tilar J. Mazzeo

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Tilar J. Mazzeo is a cultural historian, biographer, and author of the New York Times bestseller The Widow Clicquot. She lives in northern California, New York City, and Maine, where she teaches English at Colby College.
 
Published November 9, 2010 by HarperCollins e-books. 320 pages
Genres: Business & Economics, Health, Fitness & Dieting, History, Travel, Arts & Photography, Sports & Outdoors. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Secret of Chanel No. 5

Kirkus Reviews

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The author argues that the scent was the crown of Chanel’s career and that it weaves together many of the obscure pieces of her life in an intriguing way—from the passion for cleanliness that she inherited from the nuns that raised her to the seductive musks she picked up in the dressing rooms as...

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The New York Times

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5, now priced at about $260 an ounce, has been an item of fashion and fetish since its debut in 1921, when in a bit of stealth marketing Chanel invited her friends to dinner in Cannes and spritzed the perfume into the atmosphere around them.

Jan 14 2011 | Read Full Review of The Secret of Chanel No. 5: T...

Publishers Weekly

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Mazzeo reveals that the now instantly recognizable scent of heavy jasmine, rose, and musk combined with a good dose of "unblemished whiteness" produced by synthetic aldehydes was not actually invented by Coco Chanel in 1920, at the height of her fashion fame.

Sep 13 2010 | Read Full Review of The Secret of Chanel No. 5: T...

The Wall Street Journal

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5 had long been unconnected to the Chanel business interests: Coco Chanel sold Les Parfums Chanel—an enterprise separate from her fashion house—in 1924 to French industrialists Paul and Pierre Wertheimer, who had a large perfume manufacturing and distribution operation.

Nov 20 2010 | Read Full Review of The Secret of Chanel No. 5: T...

Examiner

It tells how she relinquished control of her scent, and how the heads of the company that produced it fled to New York City to escape the Nazis, and managed continue to produce it during World War II in Hoboken, New Jersey with critical ingredients that had been smuggled from France.

Sep 03 2011 | Read Full Review of The Secret of Chanel No. 5: T...

Scotsman.com

Each 30-millilitre bottle of Chanel No 5 is packed with the essence of a thousand jasmine flowers, the fragrance of a dozen May roses from Grasse and a heaping dose of aldehydes, the molecules that early on gave the scent its modern edge.

Jan 17 2011 | Read Full Review of The Secret of Chanel No. 5: T...

Portland Book Review

It has prevailed through change of caretakers, changes in social climate, even changes in the regulations and standards of the perfume industry and yet it has never been compromised.

Jul 27 2011 | Read Full Review of The Secret of Chanel No. 5: T...

Bookmarks Magazine

Mazzeo’s sweeping story of the iconic scent (known as “le monstre” in the fragrance industry) stretches from Coco Chanel’s early success to the rise of the seminal fragrance during the 1950s to the confirmation of its bestseller status in today’s crowded perfume market.“Here is the life of...

Nov 28 2010 | Read Full Review of The Secret of Chanel No. 5: T...

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