AHEAD OF TIME EXPERIMENTALLY
Taking inspiration from nature is not something that can be improvised. With the creation of N°5, the House of CHANEL has, for 100 years, built up a unique expertise in cultivating flowers, the key raw materials in its perfumes. The production and use of may rose and jasmine from Grasse are therefore some of the traditions that CHANEL has protected and developed over the years, including a partnership with the Mul family since 1987. Preserving expertise, maintaining the quality of raw materials and having control over supply lines enables the House of CHANEL to give free rein to the heart of its legacy: Creativity.
For over 20 years, CHANEL has been applying the same production rules to its skincare products, by cultivating and observing the riches of nature, and by carrying out scientific research in its four open sky laboratories, established in different climate zones worldwide to create the noblest effective ingredients. The veritable birthplace of CHANEL skincare, these open sky laboratories are the result of an exemplary approach, on an environmental and territorial scale, which values the land through a virtuous agroecological approach, using innovative farming practices.
And so it is, that in the South-West of France, in the heart of Gaujacq village, CHANEL has been leading since 1998, a project of an exceptional scale around the camellia, Mademoiselle Chanel’s emblematic flower.
It was established in collaboration with Jean Thoby, an international camellia expert, who has, for several decades, been cultivating an incomparable botanical conservatory garden, in this little village in the Landes region. Dedicated to plant conservation, the garden contains 2,000 camellia varieties collected worldwide, among which are two mother plants of Camellia japonica ‘Alba Plena’. They were the starting point for establishing the CHANEL crops 10 years ago, and more recently, for the camellia farm, situated close to this exceptional garden. The farm also includes a phyto-analysis laboratory, which enables close-up observation of the plants in their natural environment, in order to study them, analyse them and identify the most promising ones. There is also a pre-transformation center that prepares the flowers for the extraction of beneficial molecules, immediately after they have been picked.
In the Gaujacq open sky laboratory, camellias are grown in the ground, using demanding agricultural practices that respect the environment, without chemical input. Experimental cultivation techniques using agroecology and agroforestry have been set up to help preserve and value the plants’ natural qualities. This permanent symbiotic cultivation aims to enrich the soil, in order to strengthen the ecosystem between plant, earth and water, while increasing the plants’ resistance to disease. This approach earned the farm a High Environmental Value (HVE) level 3 certification, which is the highest of all agricultural environmental certifications, as well as an “organic farming conversion” label. Combined, they help ensure that the agricultural practices used on the entire farm are optimized to reduce pressure on the environment to a minimum.
AHEAD OF TIME BIOLOGICALLY
This was the unique expertise that led CHANEL Research to reveal the remarkable properties of a red camellia flower extract, from ‘The Czar’ variety of Camellia japonica, thus named in the early 20th century in tribute to its imperial beauty. This highly delicate odourless flower is a force of nature, as neither water nor cold have the slightest effect on its petals.
With its winter blooms and evergreen leaves, this plant is remarkable in more than one way, and is a genuine botanical treasure. For the Camellia japonica ‘The Czar’ is a flower unlike any other. At the heart of its petals, it contains a concentration of protocatechuic acid, a powerful molecule previously unseen in the camellias analysed by CHANEL scientists. This flower is capable of helping to protect skin vitality by addressing the first stage of skin ageing.
AHEAD OF TIME SCIENTIFICALLY
Within the Research program on skin senescence established by CHANEL in 2012, House experts accessed models that reproduced the different stages of senescence for the first time and tested the effectiveness of the most promising ingredients. The results obtained with the red camellia extract were exceptional at the first stage. It supports skin vitality, thereby enabling skin to remain healthy looking for a longer period of time.
Naturally rich in antioxidants, it also helps protect skin from the consequences of stress and helps improve quality for a skin that looks radiantly youthful.
That is what led to the creation of N° 1 de CHANEL, a new generation of anti-ageing skincare that preserves the look of skin’s vitality.
AHEAD OF TIME, SUSTAINABLY
Nature influences us and in return, we also have an influence on it, for which we are responsible. For several years, the House of CHANEL has been incorporating environmental evaluation criteria into its product design in order to limit its impact at every step in the life cycle.
One of CHANEL’s priorities is to develop formulas with a high percentage of raw materials that respect the environment and are sustainably sourced. With an approach of continued improvement, CHANEL systematically evaluates the environmental footprint of its ingredients by analysing their origins and their production process. The N° 1 de CHANEL formulas honour ingredients of natural origin that are renewable and have reduced environmental impact. They contain up to 97% ingredients of natural origin, without compromising on effectiveness, safety or the sensoriality. These formulas also include up to 76% of camellia derivatives, with petals, seeds and yeasts used in order not to waste any of the plant. Indeed, red camellia extract provides revitalizing properties, camellia water is refreshing, red camellia oil, obtained by pressing the seeds, preserves moisture in the skin, and an extract of Pichia type yeast, from the camellia microbiota, helps strengthen its barrier function. Lastly, the seed shells are used for their strength in the Revitalizing Cream packaging.
The full range of packaging for the N° 1 de CHANEL is eco-designed. The weight of the jars and bottles has been reduced, through a streamlined design, by minus 30% on average for the entire N° 1 de CHANEL line, and up to minus 50% for the Revitalizing Cream glass jar. The use of recyclable materials was valued: 80% of the products in the range are made of glass. The cream jar is refillable and patented. Refilling the Revitalizing Cream twice, therefore allows its greenhouse gas emissions to be reduced by half. The use of plastics was limited, especially single use ones. Cellophane and paper leaflets have been removed. The inks used to decorate the glass bottles are all organic. On the lids, inks have been replaced by the use of engraving in the production moulds. Lastly, all the product line lids contain recycled or bio-sourced materials. In addition, the Revitalizing Cream lid incorporates camellia seed shells. This innovation is the result of a collaboration that begun in 2018 between the CHANEL Fragrance and Beauty Packaging Innovation Department, and Finnish start-up SULAPAC. Composed of 90% bio-sourced materials stemming from renewable resources, FSC™ certified wood shavings (by-products of the paper industry) and camellia seed shells, this new-generation lid was a genuine technological challenge, at every step of its design, and is the object of several patent applications pending6. Faithful to the House of CHANEL’s exacting standards, every detail was considered at length, including: the sensorial qualities of the material, its resistance to heat variations, the unique sound of the jar closing, how it feels in the hand and the depth of the matte satin finish engraved with the iconic double C.
All the formulas were developed to create optimal affinity with the skin and provide unequalled effectiveness and sensorial feel. Their performance was clinically evaluated according to rigorous protocols incorporating the five major concerns of women who want to preserve the look of beautiful and youthful skin: lines and wrinkles, pores visibility, loss of elasticity, lack of comfort and radiance.
We cannot foresee the future but we can prepare for it. we do not seek to surpass nature’s intelligence. On the contrary, we take the time to examine the need for a partnership. CHANEL endeavours to never forget this by using nature’s intelligence in its creative approach that is built on the eternal rule that ethics and aesthetics are two terms with the same sole objective. There can only be true beauty if the road that leads to it is beautiful.
Images: Courtesy of CHANEL