You won’t find Chanel No. 5 under the tree just yet. But in New York City on Friday, the iconic fragrance and fashion brand took over Rockefeller Center for an exclusive debut party of “Chanel No. 5 In the Stars,” a new outdoor installation which celebrates the iconic fragrance’s 100th year anniversary.
Arriving in cashmere sweaters and classic Chanel tweed on a cold New York City night, guests like Jemima Kirke, Ella Hunt, Brittany O’Grady, Lily Allen, Lauren Ridloff, Broadway’s Reneé Rapp, and a host of New York City socialites and Chanel ambassadors encircled 30 Rock’s ice-skating rink, stamped with an instantly recognizable “No. 5,” and over drinks watched Mary J. Blige, a surprise guest, perform under the prometheus scale of Rockefeller Center.
Beloved since Marilyn Monroe revealed it’s all she wore to bed, Chanel No. 5 was launched in 1921 by couturier and founder Coco Chanel. It was the first perfume to be created by a woman and, over its 100-year tenure, has remained among the most well-known fragrances in the world.
“I’m not one of those people who wears a lot of perfume, but damn, I love a woman who does,” said Kirke, who arrived on the red carpet in an ecru cashmere Chanel cardigan and wool pants. “I love that characteristic,” she said, “a woman who wears the same scent every day. It’s glamorous and classic. It’s old Hollywood. It’s Chanel No. 5.”
At the party on Friday, a private affair before the outdoor exhibition opened to the public on Sunday, the celebration met the perfume’s classic opulence. Closed to the public, guests, dressed in the latest Fall and Winter collection, roamed around Rockefeller Plaza like tweed swans above the rink. Cocktails in hand, the plaid black and white figures, elegant yet dressed to cut through the streets of midtown at any moment, brought together Chanel’s brand ethos, luxurious and timeless.
“It’s been a crazy year for me, coming into fame,” O’Grady, just off the whirlwind summer sensation of HBO’s “The White Lotus,” said on the red carpet, wearing a black and fuchsia viscose and cashmere cardigan. “And Chanel is a brand I feel like I can come into my womanhood with.”
“When I wear the perfume,” said Ridloff, whose Marvel film “Eternals” premiered Friday, “I have dreams of Marilyn Monroe, and that’s how the perfume makes me feel.”
Absent the Hollywood starlight, Mary J. Blige proved just as exciting for the New York crowd, as office workers in 30 Rock opened their windows and peered out to catch the concert.
Blige arrived on the carpet wearing a silver sequin Chanel jumpsuit and, after Canadian figure skater Elladj Baldé performed a routine to “Uptown Funk,” emerged on the ice rink stage wearing a black and silver cashmere jumpsuit, singing “Real Love.”
“We’ve all been through a whole lot,” she said from the platform before 30 Rock’s iconic bronze statue, dwarfed by the soaring building behind her. “And we’re probably going to go through a whole lot more of this mess. But I’ll tell you one thing. At the end of the day, if we just take care of ourselves, I guarantee you that everything is going to be ‘Just Fine.’”
Blige also performed “I Can Love You” and “Family Affair,” offering the tribute to Chanel, the women who wear it, and the stars.