While “classic” might be the first word that comes to mind now when describing Chanel No. 5, when the iconic perfume made its grand debut in the 20s, the fragrance embodied the look, feel and spirit of modernity. From the pared-down bottle to a name that conjures labs rather than rolling fields of jasmine (though the formula contains the fleur), the perfume remains emblematic of a movement concerned with, as [Dr. Jessica] Murphy put it, “simplifying form, getting to the essence, getting to a more universal material through shape, looking at form in function.” As the driving force behind the Chanel brand and ethos, Coco Chanel embodied the modern spirit throughout her life. In an ad featuring Chanel, it states that she is “above all else an artist in living” — a characterization that Murphy posited fits Kahlo as well. “They are very complex, very independent women, who crafted public images that were shocking and very successful,” said Murphy of Kahlo and Chanel, who never met.
— Our own Dr. Jessica has hosted a couple Frida Kahlo: A Perfumed Portrait events in conjunction with the Brooklyn Museum's exhibit Frida Kahlo: Appearances Can Be Deceiving. You can read Gillian Edevane and Britt Stigler's account at Beyond the Canvas: Five Fragrances Worn by Frida Kahlo at All*Arts.
Great stuff. I can’t ever recall seeing the color photographs before.
I’d love to see this exhibit in person!