Pe r fumes have al­ways oc­cu­pied an ex­alted po­si­tion in Chanel’s her­itage. In 1921 Chanel was the first fash­ion house to cre­ate and launch its own fra­grance: the su­per icon No. 5, and it’s had a string of hits since then, from Ego­iste to Chance to Coco Made­moi­selle, the top-sell­ing Chanel scent in Asia and the Philip­pines.

Per­son­ally I’ve al­ways loved No. 5 for its soapy-clean fresh­ness: it in­spires me to dress up to match its level of so­phis­ti­ca­tion, and Chanel’s mas­cu­line fra­grance An­taeus is like a lens that makes any man look hand­some, in my opin­ion. The girly Chance Eau Ten­dre is an­other fa­vorite, but it’s been a while since Chanel’s is­sued an iconic scent in the vein of N5.

“The last time Chanel launched a pil­lar fra­grance was 15 years ago — the orig­i­nal Chance cre­ated by Jac­ques Polge,” says Jean Loy, Chanel Sin­ga­pore’s fra­grance ex­pert.

That’s about to change, be­cause for hol­i­day 2017, Chanel has some­thing as special as Chance and No. 5 — so special it bears the first name of the lady of the house, Gabrielle, and is the first cre­ation by in-house per­fumer Olivier Polge, son of Jac­ques, who was Chanel’s head per­fumer from 1978 to 2015.

Chanel buffs will re­call that Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel had a hum­ble child­hood grow­ing up in an or­phan­age: “If you were born with­out wings, do noth­ing to stop them from grow­ing,” she once de­clared.

But through her cre­ativ­ity, in­ge­nu­ity

and style “she made her­self who she was in the early 1900s, and that’s a very em­pow­er­ing mes­sage for women to­day,” Loy says. “The root name of Gabrielle means strength.”

To cap­ture the spirit of such a woman Polge couldn’t use just one flower, which is why he de­cided to cre­ate a “dream flower — not just one flower but four very em­blem­atic flow­ers: or­ange blos­som from Tu­nisia, ylang-ylang from the Co­moros Is­lands, jas­mine ab­so­lute, and tuberose from Grasse,” Loy says. “These flow­ers are not shy flow­ers, they’re very ex­pres­sive.”

On their own, the or­ange blos­som smells happy and up­lift­ing, crisp and fresh; the ylang-ylang’s ex­tra-su­pe­rior ex­trac­tion lends it a fruity pear note; jas­mine, a flower used in al­most ev­ery Chanel fra­grance, pro­vides a sweet­ness like jam and honey; while tuberose, mak­ing its first ap­pear­ance in Chanel’s fra­grance pal­ette, gives creami­ness and full­ness.

The sub­se­quent blend is a lu­mi­nous flo­ral that is un­abashedly wom­anly, so­phis­ti­cated (there’s that word again) and state­ment mak­ing, just like Gabrielle her­self.

“Why flow­ers when she’s so strong? She would still choose to be a woman and wouldn’t have it any other way, so it’s a cel­e­bra­tion of fem­i­nin­ity,” Loy says.

Special men­tion must be made of the glass bot­tle, the walls of which are so thin and fine it took Chanel five years to re­search and cut in Bo­hemia, Cze­choslo­vakia, which spe­cial­izes in fine glass­work. The re­sult is a jewel of a fla­con wor­thy of en­cap­su­lat­ing the ode to Gabrielle in­side.

Ac­com­pa­ny­ing this new icon is the eter­nal sig­na­ture, Chanel No. 5. Last year Chanel launched a fresher ex­pres­sion of N5, No. 5 L’Eau. This year, L’Eau comes in a travel- and eco-friendly set of 20-ml purse spray in the house col­ors, matte black and white, along with two re­fills.

This year’s lim­ited edi­tion is an­other N5 col­lectible that will lit­er­ally leave you sparkling for the hol­i­days: Frag­ments d’Or (Gold Frag­ments), a shim­mer­ing gold scented body gel that ab­sorbs very quickly into the skin, leav­ing it silky, fra­grant and flecked with gold. Loy said clients in Sin­ga­pore loved Frag­ments d’Or so much it was com­pletely sold out in three weeks. A CHANEL RED FOR EV­ERY WOMAN

Makeup-wise Chanel con­tin­ues tar­get­ing a younger mar­ket with Le Rouge Crayon de Couleur, a com­pletely new for­mat for the house: it’s a por­ta­ble lip crayon in shades from nude to fuch­sia with a but­tery texture that melts into your lips.

“All the creations of our new cre­ative global makeup de­signer Lu­cia Pica are very hip and young but still in­ject the iconic, clas­sic, time­less essence of Chanel,” says Francesca Sy, Chanel Fra­grance and Beauty’s mer­chan­dise man­ager. “Le Rouge Crayon has the pre­ci­sion of a liner with no need to sharpen, lasts four hours, and with 12 shades it screams fun and free­dom.”

With­out a doubt, the star of the hol­i­day makeup col­lec­tion is the lim­ited-edi­tion Numeros Rouges col­lec­tion — four red lip­sticks (two satin, two matte) housed in equally gor­geous red tubes. “Per­son­ally, red is very clas­sic and time­less and Gabrielle Chanel was never seen with­out her own red lip­stick, which is her sig­na­ture iconic style for makeup,” Sy says.

I’ve tried time and again to find the per­fect red lip­stick but never re­ally suc­ceeded un­til I tried Numeros Rouges No. 1, which earned me a com­pli­ment the very first time I wore it. Pica used her ex­pert knowl­edge to im­bue each lip­stick with a dif­fer­ent un­der­tone so that ev­ery woman could find her per­fect red among these four.

With the bold state­ment of a red lip it fol­lows that the rest of the makeup plays a sup­port­ing role. The Cre­ation Ex­clu­sive eye pal­ette has five wear­able shades rang­ing from shim­mery nudes to a festive emer­ald green. If you pre­fer your green more sub­tle, use the nude shad­ows and line with Chanel Stylo Yeux Wa­ter­proof eye pen­cil in Leg­endary Green.

Among a trio of new Le Ver­nis nail pol­ishes the stand­out is also the dark green Fic­tion, while Celebrity is an in­tense black and Sce­nario is a flashy coral.

The Joues Con­trastes blush in So Close is a bright or­ange that reg­is­ters as a vi­brant peach on Asian skin tones. Use a light hand with this blush, as it’s so highly pig­mented that a lit­tle goes a long way.


Chanel’s pre­mium skin­care line Sublim­age is the most pop­u­lar be­cause it’s an all-in-one anti-ager. The lat­est ad­di­tion is Sublim­age Le Brume, a face mist in Chanel’s cun­ning twist-and-spray pack­ag­ing that comes in a set with three re­fills.

“It’s an in­stant pick-me-up — a re­vi­tal­iz­ing mist per­fect for very busy ca­reer women on the go,” Sy notes. “It can be worn be­fore makeup to prep skin, or over makeup to give a re­vi­tal­ized look in be­tween meet­ings, af­ter lunch if you feel sleepy, or be­fore a hol­i­day party.” It’s also the per­fect travel com­pan­ion, at 18 ml.

*** Chanel’s hol­i­day 2017 col­lec­tion is avail­able at Chanel coun­ters in Rus­tan’s The Beauty Source.

Chanel am­bas­sador Kris­ten Ste­wart is the face of Gabrielle per­fume.

Suzie Ben­itez (cen­ter), Fer­di­nand Jose, Melito Valle Cruz and the Bayani­han win the 2015 grand prize for the World Dance Fes­ti­val in Si­cily, Italy.

The per­fect red: Chanel’s hol­i­day 2017 makeup col­lec­tion in­cludes (from left) Joues Con­trastes blush in So Close, Le Ver­nis in Sce­nario, Numeros Rouges lip­sticks, Cre­ation Ex­clu­sive eye pal­ette and Stylo Yeux Wa­ter­proof in Leg­endary Green, avail­able at Rus­tan’s the Beauty Source.

New for­mat: Chanel’s Le Rouge Crayon de Couleurs tar­gets a younger mar­ket with a por­ta­ble lip crayon in 12 fun and vi­brant shades.

Travel friendly: Chanel No. 5 L’Eau comes in a 20-ml purse spray in the house col­ors of matte black and white.

In­stant pick-me-up: Sublim­age La Brume re­vi­tal­iz­ing face mist

Lim­ited edi­tion: Chanel No. 5 Frag­ments d’Or (Gold Frag­ments)

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