1957 Les Exclusifs de Chanel Eau de Parfum drew inspiration from a few events. The year 1957 saw Gabrielle Chanel receiving the Neiman Marcus Award for distinguished service in the Fashion Arena.
It was also the year in which her classic, still coveted and exhaustively copied two-toned ballet flats were introduced.
Bestowed upon her by Stanley Marcus, the award was yet another public affirmation of her creativity and a celebration of her successful comeback after her hiatus/retirement. But this fragrance isn’t only named for that standout year when Chanel was being lauded in America.
Part of the Les Exclusifs de Chanel fragrance collection, 1957 Eau de Parfum signifies a number of things including the number 19, for Chanel’s birthday which is August 19th, along with the opening of Chanel’s largest American store on 57th Street in New York’s Manhattan.
Created by Chanel’s longstanding perfumer Olivier Polge, 1957’s scent notes rest upon white musks, iris, neroli, bergamot, cedar and a hit of honey.
I got a generous sample of this over Christmas and really didn’t give it much thought at first. Once the season started to wind down, I finally took notice of it and started wearing it frequently, and with each wear, I paid closer attention to the notes that made it to my nose first, which I interpreted to be the scent of very fresh leaves closely followed by a mix of champagne, premium honey and petals.
Something about 1957 satisfies a visceral need that I can’t name, simply because I don’t know what that need is. But there’s something soothing about this fragrance.
Don’t look for it to necessarily announce your arrival before you enter a room, as 1957 is regarded as a ‘skin-scent’, an experience primarily for the wearer .
It’s possible to forget you’re wearing it but it will be there, imprinted on your clothes after you remove them. 1957 also has a creaminess to it, though some have described it as powdery, which is also accurate.
The aldehydes are also unmistakable, and are very much a Chanel fragrance signature. It’s that ‘sparkling’ accord, where your nose tells you the fragrance notes are in motion, shimmering almost.
Pinning down the number of hours a fragrance remains evident is always tricky as it can vary so much from person to person. But what I can say is that I’m still able to pick up the scent the next day if I apply it in the early afternoon the day before, as an example.
I also noticed the fragrance notes intensified during exertion, specifically during a treadmill test. The muskiness and powdery notes became more assertive, making for a heady, balanced mix I found soothing in the midst of exertion.
Les Exclusifs de Chanel fragrance collection currently has a number of classics that are totally new to the Maison or were revitalised by Olivier Polge. Each scent is a representation of key events and people in Gabrielle Chanel’s storied life. Take for instance the scent ‘Boy‘, named for Arthur ‘Boy’ Capel, one of her life loves or ‘Coromandel‘, named for the Chinese lacquer screens in her Paris apartment, or La Pausa, for her house in the Côte d’Azur.
While I wouldn’t classify 1957 as youthful, it also certainly isn’t exclusively a mature person’s scent, similar to the way some people classify Chanel No. 5, which I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing [here]. 1957 Les Exclusifs de Chanel is also available as pure parfum, the most concentrated expression of fragrance.
*1957 award reference sourced from the book Mademoiselle: Coco Chanel and The Pulse of History by Rhonda K. Garelick