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Monday, October 3, 2011

Best of Beauty: Hall of Fame

Think of these beloved products as the Derek Jeters and Lindsey Vonns of the beauty world: Proven winners. Here, the 10 exceptional products that have racked up more awards than any others.

 1. Chanel No. 5

17 Awards  In the summer of 1920, Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel asked perfumer Ernest Beaux to make a fragrance that would allow a woman to smell like a woman and not like a flower. "She was looking to define a new sense of modern feminine identity: overtly sexy, but with nothing dirty about it," says Tilar J. Mazzeo, author of The Secret of Chanel No. 5 (HarperCollins). Beaux reportedly based No. 5 on a perfume he'd concocted for the Russian market in 1914, called Rallet No. 1. 

"It flopped, so when Coco tapped him, Beaux developed ten different adaptations of his original formula," says Mazzeo. "The fifth sample became Chanel No. 5." Five was also Coco's lucky number: She was a Leo, the fifth sign of the zodiac. Other elements were equally personal. The square-cut bottle may have been modeled after a flask carried by a former lover. Another theory has it based on the shape of the Place Vendôme, the area outside the Hotel Ritz, where Coco lived. She originally intended to share the scent with only 100 of her best clients, and it wasn't until 1921, when the perfume's immense popularity compelled Coco to sell it in her boutiques, that No. 5 went public. "It was the first floral perfume made to evoke a bouquet rather than a single bud," says Chanel master perfumer Jacques Polge. Today, Chanel No. 5 is the best-selling perfume in the world.


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