The Secret of Chanel No. 5: The Intimate History of the World's Most Famous Perfume (Paperback)

The Secret of Chanel No. 5: The Intimate History of the World's Most Famous Perfume By Tilar J. Mazzeo Cover Image

The Secret of Chanel No. 5: The Intimate History of the World's Most Famous Perfume (Paperback)

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“Who knew that such a tiny bottle housed so many secrets?” — Michael Tonello, author of Bringing Home the Birkin

“Here is the life of one of the 20th century’s most interesting and deeply complicated women, a fascinating cultural history, and the story of an extraordinary perfume.” — Chandler Burr, New York Times scent critic and author of The Perfect Scent

Tilar J. Mazzeo, author of the New York Times bestseller The Widow Clicquot (an Amazon Best of the Month book in October 2008) returns with a captivating history of the world’s most famous, seductive, and popular perfume: Chanel No. 5. Mazzeo’s sweeping story of the iconic scent (known as “le monstre” in the fragrance industry) stretches from Coco Chanel’s early success to the rise of the seminal fragrance during the 1950s to the confirmation of its bestseller status in today’s crowded perfume market.

Tilar J. Mazzeo is the author of numerous works of cultural history and biography, including the New York Times bestselling The Widow Clicquot, The Secret of Chanel No. 5, and nearly two dozen other books, articles, essays, and reviews on wine, travel, and the history of luxury. The Clara C. Piper Associate Professor of English at Colby College, she divides her time between coastal Maine, New York City, and Vancouver Island, British Columbia.


Product Details ISBN: 9780061791031
ISBN-10: 0061791032
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Publication Date: September 6th, 2011
Pages: 320
Language: English
Series: P.S.

“[Mazzeo] explores interconnections between designer and perfume, teasing out the relationship with delicacy.” — New York Times Book Review

“[In] the skilled hands of cultural historian Mazzeo, [the perfume] becomes a magnificent window through which to understand [Coco Chanel] and her milieu... Impeccable research and crafting make a seemingly narrow topic feel infinitely important.” — Kirkus Reviews

“This is one case where historical fact eclipses the legend and lore of the object itself—there’s much, much more than meets the nose to discover in these pages.” — Booklist

“Engaging.” — Wall Street Journal

“Mazzeo’s lush prose...never bogs down in the details—despite the extensive research showcased in the bibliography—and a smooth pacing keeps it moving along at a fast clip. This work is definitely recommended to lovers of 20th-century cultural history, Coco Chanel, and, of course, the world’s best-selling perfume.” — Library Journal

“Mazzeo has written an account of the rarest of things-an international olfactory icon-that fairly rushes off the pages. Here is the life of one of the 20th century’s most interesting and deeply complicated women, a fascinating cultural history, and the story of an extraordinary perfume.” — Chandler Burr, New York Times scent critic and author of The Perfect Scent

“Told in a light and graceful style that is just right for its subject…. [I]t’s a fascinating trip, made even more so by Ms. Mazzeo’s charming cameo appearances as a kind of tour guide…. This example of Barbe-Nicole’s voice is exceptional…an intoxicating business biography.” — Julia Flynn Siler, Wall Street Journal

“The true brilliance of The Secret of Chanel No. 5 is Tilar Mazzeo’s ability to take a subject one would never have thought possible to think very deeply about and then cover it so captivatingly. Who knew that such a tiny bottle housed so many secrets?” — Michael Tonello, author of Bringing Home the Birkin

“Anyone who’s ever dawdled in front of a perfume counter will love Tilar Mazzeo’s fascinating history of the perfume known simply as No. 5; her rich and witty account is as compelling as the fragrance itself. ” — Karen Karbo, author of The Gospel According to Coco Chanel

“The Widow Clicquot, Tilar J. Mazzeo’s sweeping oenobiography of Barbe-Nicole Clicquot Ponsardin, is the story of a woman who was a smashing success long before anyone conceptualized the glass ceiling.” — New York Times Book Review

“Tilar J. Mazzeo’s informed and enlightening biography of Madame Clicquot, the widow and, more important, the businesswoman, retrieves her vintage story as if looking for a rare bottle in one of the Champagne region’s deepest caves.” — Newsday

“A miraculous feat of organization, one worthy of a doctoral thesis…. [I]n its moments of action, this is actually a gripping story. And while the book appears to be a feminist history/business biography, it’s also the appealing story of the author’s odyssey.” — Austin Chronicle

“If you like champagne, “The Widow Clicquot” by Tilar J. Mazzeo is definitely worth a drink.” — Lisa Ko, author of The Leavers

“An enticing stew of biography and history.” — USA Today