Perfume can be pompous. The industry loves promoting exclusivity, which can be problematic in times when consumers are more impassioned by inclusivity. I'm not suggesting this was a deliberate move by Chanel to be more inclusive, but I appreciated the accessible nature of Chanel's recent "Factory 5" capsule collection. A collection of 17 products was launched to celebrate the centenary of No. 5. Some critics declared the collection tacky and not befitting a milestone so significant. Chanel could have easily launched a numbered edition of bottles in bejewelled Bacarrat crystal, to the sound of 30,000€. Many of Chanel's competitors have done this already. Instead Factory No 5 was a Warhol-esque experience that transformed everyday household items into a collectable N5 item. It was fun, lighthearted and was a reminder of Coco Chanel's bold decision to depart from packaging trends in the early 1920s. Instead of choosing an embellished Art Nouveau inspired bottle she opted for a simple, laboratory-inspired bottle. It was shocking at the time but would become the epitome of Art Deco design in a few short years.
Yes, this collection was still relatively limited edition, and sold out quickly around the world but there was enough stock and all prices were under A$200. It felt like an invitation to everyone, not just a a privileged few, to celebrate the legend that is Chanel No. 5. If you missed the party, resellers are currently rife on Ebay...grrr!