Full disclosure: I am a massive fan of perfumer Jacques Polge’s work at Chanel Nº5. When he created Eau Première in 2007, the more modern incarnation of the fragrance Marilyn Monroe notoriously wore to bed, I was instantly sold. While the original is too astringent, harsh and, dare I say it, a notch too old-lady for me, Eau Premièr strikes a softer note – a perfectly filtered Instagram lens cast over the grand dame of all perfumes to give a more flattering effect.
So there I was, happily pootling along with my favourite fragrance, and nothing was going to knock it off its perch (trust me, the Bazaar beauty desk groans under the weight of perfume releases, but no amount of spritzing could tempt me away from my avowed signature scent), until Polge senior’s son Olivier stepped into the breach as creator of Chanel fragrances and conjured up the house’s new iteration, Nº5 L’Eau. Not available until September, when it will be launched with an advertising campaign starring Lily-Rose Depp, my treasured advance bottle has already edged Eau Première off its long-standing position on my dressing table.
Chloë Sevigny in Chanel's rose fields
Perfectly described in the publicity materials as being like ‘sun-drenched honey’, Nº5 L'Eau references picnicking in a shady glade under dappled sunlight amid baskets of fresh fruit laid out on fresh cotton throws. If it were a colour, it would be green. The green of backlit summers and magical forests. Not literally, but in spirit. And for a scent where citrusy orange is the overriding first impression, it settles down to emit a much warmer, skin-like breath, which suits me perfectly. Ultimately I want to smell like a woman – albeit a woodland nymph of a woman – not chocolate or fruit or, necessarily, flowers. And Nº5 L’Eau achieves that.
Chanel Nº5 L'Eau is available from September, Dhs485 for 50ml; Dhs687 for 100ml