Textiles students at Cardiff School of Art and Design (CSAD) have been given a rare insight into iconic fashion brand Chanel.
Alex Rees, a Fragrance Specialist at Chanel London, visited Cardiff Met's state-of-the-art School of Art and Design, after meeting Sally Grant, CSAD's Senior Lecturer in Textiles and Fashion at the Chanel Exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery at the end of last year.
Alex was invited to host an interactive fragrance session with lab swabs and the oils that go into the composition of Chanel's iconic No. 5 fragrance, for 20 CSAD students.
Sally said: "We run a pathway on the Textiles course which has a huge focus on fashion branding, so the story behind the Chanel brand was very insightful for our students. Chanel No. 5 is a particularly iconic brand that has stood the test of time and really blazed a trail by being the first fragrance to have a woman's name on the packaging. It is the human connection that draws people in and attracts them to a brand.
"Chanel continues to use British textiles in their fashion lines, like Linton tweeds for suits. I have a research interest in the Cistercian monastic order and Coco Chanel herself grew up in an orphanage in Aubazine, France, which was founded by Cistercians, and which I visited two summers ago.
"Cistercians valued the importance of numerology, which it seems is why Chanel's first fragrance was a number. Visiting Aubazine, it is clear how a lot of the Chanel look was also influenced by the Cistercian aesthetic.
"The Cistercians were also botanists and were using aromatherapy and holistic medicine throughout the 12th century. Tintern Abbey is one of five Welsh Cistercian abbeys, so there were lots of interesting links for our students to make."
Alex Rees added: "The concept behind the Mademoiselle Prive exhibition at Saatchi's was to create an immersive experience around the origins and sources of Chanel's most important creations; Haute couture, jewellery, fragrance - in particular the iconic No5. It is a creative, sensory and enticing vision of Chanel's inspirations and Karl Lagerfield's take on the codes, symbols and icons of Chanel".
Chanaley Alleyne, who is a first year Textiles student and a fashion blogger, said:
"It was incredible! I am totally blown away by the experience and it's given me a great insight into the brand Chanel!"