André Van Loon

The sweet smell of success: the story behind Chanel No 5’s popularity

Its creator, Ernest Beaux, escaped Russia just in time, says Karl Schlögel — or the perfume might now be as obscure as Red Moscow, its semi-identical twin

Credit: Getty Images

Already a subscriber? Log in

This article is for subscribers only

Subscribe today to get 3 months' delivery of the magazine, as well as online and app access, for only £3.

There’s no commitment, you can cancel any time.

  • Weekly delivery of the magazine
  • Unlimited access to our website and app
  • Enjoy Spectator newsletters and podcasts
  • Explore our online archive, going back to 1828


A blooming good offer

Join the conversation with other Spectator readers by getting the next 3 months for £3.

Already a subscriber? Log in