Behind the scenes

Look twice: Chanel Factory 5 opens at Selfridges London

Factory 5 collection celebrates the fragrance’s centenary

This summer at Selfridges, nothing is quite what it seems. Installed at the London department store’s The Corner Shop pop-up space, a makeshift Chanel factory is a stage-set to a re-imagining of everyday consumer goods. Here, a rounded metal tin holds bars of scented soap, not shoe polish. Flipping open the lid of a traditional tea tin reveals individually packaged bath tablets instead. It’s all in tribute to Chanel N°5.

The best-selling fragrance celebrates its 100th anniversary this year; it’s a milestone birthday and one that has so far has been cause for celebration across genres. This has included a high jewellery collection, its small treasures casting the scent’s ingredients – among them, the juice of 12 May roses and 1,000 jasmine flowers per 30ml bottle, each bud grown and harvested in Grasse, France – in precious metals dusted in diamonds.

Chanel Factory 5 at Selfridges The Corner Shop

tom@tdm.space

Back at Selfridges, Chanel’s Factory 5 collection is a somewhat surrealist take on beauty products. This is fitting, perhaps, considering Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel’s friendships with artists including Salvador Dalí, who finished his 1938 artwork The Endless Enigma at the couturière's summer bolthole, the villa La Pausa in Roquebrune-Cap-Martin.

Counting 17 limited edition creations, the offering includes a scented body oil – decanted into metal oil canisters – and single-use sachets of Chanel N°5 shower gel, collected in minimalist white paint buckets. A tube of paint in turn reveals a rich body cream. A glass flacon of Chanel N°5 eau de toilette comes cloaked in a white blister pack made from biodegradable paper pulp. Additional souvenirs include a Chanel water bottle or rolls of decorative tape emblazoned with a repeat pattern of N°5 bottles.

Chanel Factory 5 at Selfridges The Corner Shop

tom@tdm.space

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