Leave it to Chanel to put on quite a production. Last night, to commemorate the centennial of the Chanel N°5 fragrance, the luxury house hosted a fête worthy of such an occasion. N°5, as the maison will tell you, was one of the first scents created by a woman, Gabrielle Coco Chanel. As fashion lore has it, Ms. Chanel considered five a lucky number; it was also the number scribbled on the bottle of the perfume’s prototype-and so Chanel “number five” it would be. Nothing short of an extravaganza would do for the beloved fragrance’s 100th birthday celebration.
The French fashion house took over Manhattan’s Rockefeller Center, ice rink (which was emblazoned with N°5) and all. Guests including Chanel-regulars Lily Allen, Kristine Froseth, Natasha Liu Bordizzo, Phoebe Tonkin, and Rebecca Dayan were all present and bedecked in tweedy Chanel coats and blazers. The ever, after all, took place out of doors and layers were encouraged.
Guests arrived at 5th Avenue and 50th Street to find the installation Chanel N°5 in the Stars (which will be up November 6 through 12). The open-air show delves into the history of the fragrance, with towering silhouettes of N°5 and its various iterations and bottle shapes throughout the past hundred years.
Attendees kept warm with Champagne, cinnamon-stick garnished cocktails, tiny hot dogs, teeny hamburgers, and warm roasted nuts. Everyone was waiting for a special performance but who that was was a mystery. First came music from the Brass Queens Band, next came a routine (to Burno Mars’s tunes) from Elladj Baldé. And at long last—by this time guests were a bit chilly in the 40-degree temps-out came Mary J. Blige. In a full-on silvery sequined Chanel bodysuit, the hip-hop icon was the cherry on top of an already dazzling night.