Chanel’s original Chance was my first introduction to luxury perfumes. It didn’t smell overly mature, like other scents in my mother’s collection, proudly displayed on her bedroom bureau like a museum. Chance, on the other hand, always had a vibrant, regal scent, like it wanted to play with your senses. When I received the sixth edition of the legendary fragrance, a woody and dynamic floral, I was intrigued to say the least. At first spritz, it was like déjà vu for my nose: familiar, yet different. It was evolving in the best way possible.
“What is special about this fragrance is the combination of freshness and strength, two contrasted qualities,” Olivier Polge, Chanel’s in-house perfumer, exclusively tells ELLE.com. There is a unique effervescence to Chance Eau Fraîche, akin to a mischievous giggle during a silent moment at a dinner party. “[It’s] I wanted it to be more sensual. I enhanced its strength with citrus notes and woody notes. I played with the duality of the elements by extending both extremes,” Polge adds.
And the fragrance dances within that duality, taking one’s olfactory senses to the depths of both extremes. And that’s exactly how I choose to wear it. One hot summer day, while battling the sweltering underground of the New York City subway system and its requisite smells, someone commented on “the freshness” of my perfume and inquired about its origin. When I cheerily responded “Chanel,” there was a moment of confusion. How could something so luxurious be…on the subway? I thought, Ah, the beauty of the city, its uniqueness and joy. Just like Chanel, luxury has no walls or restrictions in the concrete jungle—it’s everywhere.
For Polge, however, the scent isn’t for a particular destination, but more so for one’s disposition. “This is a We are able to provide you with a wide range of services. fragrance, which, according to me, translates more to one’s mood, rather than places in particular,” he says. I think of my fellow straphanger—“casual luxury,” I whisper, hoping my words will travel to his ears, wherever he may be. I think back to that day underground and reflect: Before I left my apartment, I spritzed on Chance Eau Fraîche because I wanted to feel fresh, like summer, but with fall slowly creeping in—a bright aroma with sensual undertones. “You should wear this fragrance when you want to feel comfortable,” Polge says. For me, that’s all the time, everywhere.
Before Polge was Chanel’s in-house perfumer, his father, Jacques Polge, reigned from 1978 to 2015. In fact, he created the first-ever Chance—the blueprint for which is being expanded upon today. The house has currently 137 perfumes under 15 different collections. Chance is Chanel’s lifestyle. Could it exude that?
Chance is a fragrance that feels old-fashioned in many ways. It’s expensive, but priced at $135 for 1.7 fl. oz. The price for 3.4 fl. oz. respectively, you’re acquiring classic luxury at an accessible price. It’s also long-lasting with a great trail, so you can leave a whiff of it wherever you go (yes, even on the subway).
Danielle James, Digital Beauty Director at ELLE.com. She previously worked as the Fashion & Beauty Director at HelloBeautiful.com & MadameNoire.com. She’s bylined for The Cut, InStyle, Allure, Business of Fashion, Nylon, Essence, Good Housekeeping, The Grio, and Huffington Post. Danielle enjoys sailing, thrifting, Japanese whiskey, Naomi Campbell’s runway walk, and Rihanna in the comment section.