Objects of desire: The limited-edition Chanel Factory 5 collection

Chanel pays tribute to 100 years of N°5 with a limited-edition collection of everyday items transformed into luxury must-haves

Photo: Chanel

Turning 100 is a big deal, one that’s often marked by solemn speeches and sombre reflections on past accomplishments. But not when it comes to the world’s most famous fragrance, an icon of innovation and ingenuity that not only broke all the rules of its day but also continues to surprise and delight with each passing year.

“Every year for a century, N°5 has been the talk of the town and has found its place through its ability to reinvent itself. Through ‘100 Years of Celebrity’, we want to show that an object is not iconic by birth, but that it becomes so by what it conveys, what it brings to life, what it says about its time,” says Thomas de Pré de Saint Maur, Chanel’s head of global creative resources fragrance and beauty.

Photo: Chanel

N°5 has managed to transcend time and tell the story of the times. Indeed, Chanel N°5 has continually adapted and evolved while staying true to its disruptive roots. And that includes its iconic packaging, a simple laboratory bottle that Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel transformed into every woman’s musthave item. It’s this experience of luxury in everyday life that is being celebrated by the new, limited-edition Chanel Factory 5 collection.

“Chanel Factory 5 makes the most of N°5’s amazing ability to continually reinvent itself in order to preserve itself,” says de Pré de Saint Maur. “It shows that an industrial product with very functional packaging can be transformed into a unique, desirable object by appropriating N°5’s identity codes, without losing the fundamentals, namely its functionality.”

Much like the original Chanel N°5 flacon, Chanel Factory 5 reuses 17 everyday objects, subverting their functions and demonstrating that luxury is in the experience we have of things. Whether it’s a tube of paint, a tea tin or a burette, each has retained its own design while being given the unmistakable N°5 identity. The use of such universal and timeless objects was deliberately chosen to allow for new, approachable ways to share the wonder that is N°5.

In keeping with the essence of the original, the Chanel Factory 5 collection features minimalist black and white packaging. But in a nod to Pop Art, they are being presented in a bold and immersive pop-up store modelled after a consumer goods factory. The ultramodern N°5 “theme park” showcases how the 17 everyday objects moving along mechanical conveyor belts into the hands of Chanel artisans, who transform them into iconic works of art. It’s just the kind of innovative and entertaining experience and collection we’ve come to expect from the house of Chanel.

“As N°5 celebrates its 100th anniversary, Chanel Factory 5 also reminds us that youth is above all a state of mind: daring to take a step to the side, to have the freedom to be oneself in spite of convention, not to take oneself seriously, to be light without being frivolous,” says de Pré de Saint Maur. If anything, it’s compelling proof that age should never stand in the way of taking risks and trying something new.

The Chanel Factory 5 pop-up runs from 29 June until 23 July at 8 Queen’s Road Central.

See also: Chanel marks the 100th anniversary of Chanel N°5 with ‘Celebrity By’ film series

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