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The most recent addition to the Les Exclusifs de Chanel collection is inspired by the lion, an animal which was of great importance to Gabrielle Chanel. It is not only the zodiac sign of the designer, who was born on August 19, 1883, but the lion is also repeatedly seen as her kindred spirit. Photographed in Bandar Al Khairan, Oman.

Gabrielle Chanel is said to have been quite superstitious. The world of symbols were an important part of her life and have been unmistakably incorporated into her work. Emblems and figures of the lion can be found all over her apartment on Rue Cambon in Paris and became a recurring motif in her creations. Old Chanel buttons are often embossed with a lion’s head, closures of her bags are decorated by the silhouette of the lion, as well as high jewelry.

When her love Boy Chapel died in 1920, she visited Venice for the first time, a city which also stands under the sign of the lion. Gabrielle fell in love with Venice and experienced a kind of rebirth through the visit on which she was accompanied by her friends José-Maria Sert and his wife Misia. Venice’s Byzantine style between Orient and Occident, the vibrant energy of the city as well as its artistic and fashionable atmosphere fascinated her and shaped her work since then.

A guardian figure of the city that captivated and inspired her, the feline symbol of courage and renewal was everywhere. Gabrielle, an enlightened lover of random coincidences, considered the lion not only an emblem, but her talisman, for it seemed to accompany her from the beginning. From now on lions made of marble, bronze or wood were found in her home. Standing on tables, as paperweights or sculptures that seemingly watch over their home like guardians. Bold and instinctive, she cultivated the strong and independent character that compared her to the lion, surrounding herself with its benevolent presence.

Le Lion de Chanel was created by the main perfumer Olivier Polge. During the creation process, he was more interested in the emblematic Chanel lion than the animal itself. These multiple visions of the lion, whether as a silhouette for a button or as a decoration in the apartment of Gabrille Chanel, are united by one thing: a certain idea of power, but always associated with sophistication. Polge used an essence of labdanum, a resin, to enhance the velvety and leathery facets and added vanilla from Madagascar, bergamot and sensual sandalwood. The result is an oriental fragrance. Opulent, deep and radiant.


The Exclusifs de Chanel collection is the noblest in the range of the French luxury house. No limits are set on the ingredients and the manufacturing process by in-house perfumer Olivier Polge. Each fragrance is inspired by the heritage of the house and each one is dedicated to a theme from the life of Gabrielle Chanel. COROMANDEL references the paravents in her living spaces, SYCOMORE was named after the tree of the same name and refers to her childhood in Auvergne, BEL RESPIRO was the name of her spring residence outside Paris. This range of fragrances is placed in a sleek monolith of transparent glass, topped by a black magnetic closure with the iconic double C. A simple look that focuses on the essential: the fragrance.

shot on location at BANDAR AL KHAIRAN, OMAN