THE COMEBACK ~ Beige Les Exclusifs de Chanel


chanel on the stairs 3

Reflected in the prism of the descending mirrors like a painting by Marcel Duchamp, Mademoiselle Coco Chanel sat on the stairs in a beige boucle box suit with black trim.  She narrowed her eyes dropped her head slightly to peer from under the brim of her hat to the bottom of the steps. She could just see the shoes and shins of the first three people seated in the first row. Hundreds more were out of sight beyond the curve of the staircase awaiting this; her return into the world of fashion.

chanel on the stairs

“Why did I return? One night at dinner Christian Dior said a woman could never be a couturier.”  Ah yes, that quip to some American reporter was now being repeated all across Paris as the entire city and in fact the world waited to see if she still had it in her to be modern and innovative. In fact, if she was still No.1.

She could smell the freesias at the top of the stairs where the models were assembled waiting to walk down upon her command. There was also a hint of frangipani and hawthorn flowers which permeated the air like a golden honey and took her for a fleeting moment back to Chateau de Royallieu and Boy Capel. Her new line, even the beige suit she wore was really the result of, a refection of his style. If it hadn’t been for Boy: She stopped herself. It was time.

 chanel on the stairs 2

She looked up to the models. They were ready. No time left for nerves now, time to be courageous. She nodded to the first one, Marie and watched as the young woman passed her in the navy suit that would in only a few moments signify her signature look for the rest of her life and beyond. She could let herself smile just a little now as the model in black dress passed by, then the white, and then the beige, her favorite color these days.

She would prove Dior wrong, on this February day in 1954. She would show the world that she, Gabriel “Coco” Chanel was back to stay, indeed that she, a woman was a great couturier.


Beige is the new Black. It is what Bill Blass’ Basic Black wishes it could be. From Les Exclusifs collection by Chanel the very chic and smart Beige makes its entrance with the smooth glide of a legendary fashion model from the 1950’s. Suzy Parker is who I see as the perfect woman in Beige.



Jacques Polge took the idea of one of Chanel’s favorite colors (the others being black, white and navy) and turned it into a beauty of a perfume. This is what honey should smell like when done right. Not heavy or sticky and sickening but smooth and mellow with just touch of queen bee to add a bit of a sting. There is freesia here that is bright and a bit spicy adding the perfect complement to the wild honey. These two notes introduce the premier model of the show which is one of my favorite scents from years ago, frangipani. This wonderful flower also known in Hawaii as Plumeria, the most popular flower for the Hawaiian lei is invigorated with a sultry tropical beauty that gives this perfume sensuality and fullness.  Underneath the feminine curves of the honey, freesia, and frangipani is a straight forward masculine hawthorn. It really ties the four notes together and presents them with a seriously chic sophistication. Yes just four notes in Beige, simple yet elegant.


This is a perfume that stands up beautifully throughout the day. Impressive longevity but never in your face, no, this is a perfume that is great without having to be flashy or loud. It is self-contained, confident that it will always be the right choice for a woman of any age who possesses perfect taste and impeccable style.  The best part is that Beige goes with everything.

beige les exclusifs




  1. I love her look in the photo with Suzy Parker!

    • I know! Isn’t that a great photo? Thanks David for stopping by.

      • I can’t believe it, I almost missed the movie clip! Magnifique!

      • That is because it wasn’t there on your first visit! I was still editing the post LOL.

      • I feel better 🙂

  2. Adore the hawthorn in Beige. I always loved Creed Aubepine Acacia for the same note.

    • Isn’t it a wonderful touch to the perfume Mary. It really makes it special for me. I have never smelled Aubepine Acacia but now I really must. We really need another perfume event to go to. Don’t you agree?

  3. I love Beige the fragrance! Thank you so much for the review and the story. That IS a great photo of Chanel and Suzy Parker. It was a Chanel bag (not my own, just one I saw somewhere that mezmerized me with its color) that made me finally *get* the beauty of beige the color. It’s such a pretty fragrance, very wearable.

    • Yes I know what you mean. The color beige is a color one has to wake up to in order to see that is most extraordinary. And like i said it goes with everything.

  4. Beige is a great perfume. Not my favourite from Les Exclusifs but in the top 5.

    • Well that puts it right up there in the top third of the line! Thank for stopping by Lucas.

  5. “…with just a touch of queen bee to add a bit of a sting.” Perfect, Lanier. I loved this movie, I thought it was very well done. The clothes are to die for.

    • Where the heck do I get those corny lines? ha ha! I am happy you enjoyed it.

  6. Chanel and Duchamp. The way the world is going both are getting heavenly transcendend to the purest state of Art by the second. Beige, the colour, makes me think of Allure Homme Edition Blanche. Although I do like the scent it is the bottle and the cap that I really love. Why? For me it is like an object from Heaven, fallen to earth by mistake, or not, by a careless, or not, demi god. For our own good. Wondeful article, wonderful photos, wonderful Era. well, what better way to overcome the those times during the War? and of course, her own private one. Bravo. Bravo.

    • Merci beaucoup mon ami José! I do love that bottle of Allure Homme Edition Blanche too. But you know everyone says it smells like fresh Lemon Pie. I can’t smell that LOL. I am curious, what do you smell in Edition Blanche?

      • For me, if AH Edition Blanche were a song, it would have been done by Phil Spector, I mean, it would be a “wall of scent”. It is a solid air fragrance, now I am talking like a Yes song. EB is the most delicious mixture of citrus and pepper, red red pepper and vanilla, but what makes me almost nut/ hypnotise is tonka bean, together with sandalwood is like a slice of paradise on one’s skin. A firend of mine, a woman, wears it as well, and please don’t tell her, she almost also smells divine. But it is a man’s scent all the way. Also, I think it is very similar to Lalique pour Homme Lion EDP, sure you do remember, after all you made me make up my mind. It was tough becasue I gave up Dior Homme Intense, that would look nice side by side with the other Dior Hommes. Nowasdays in fragrantica I look for some reviewers opinion, like yours and a couple of ohter people, for some don’t even have a bottle and say something like Prada Amber pour Homme smells like insect repelent. Santa Madonna di Nuova York.

  7. Ah, Chanel and the old days of her love for Boy Capel, then the difficulty days of the 1950s…. You really captured that latter period and all the questions surrounding her, whether she was passé or would be there to stay.

    As for the perfume, I haven’t tried it but from all that I’ve heard, I doubt it would be my cup of tea. And that’s even apart from the fact that beige is perhaps the colour I hate the most. Well, beige and its kissing cousin, taupe. A scent that epitomizes all that is beige in the world? Noooooooooooooooo. 😉 But I will try it for myself and see if Chanel can overcome my colour loathing. 😀

    • I woke up at 3 am and thought “Beige! I have to do beige!” funny how that works. For me the only beige color wise I really love is the beige that borders on ivory. I also think it is a great backdrop for black coats and slacks and accessories like diamonds.Maybe it will help when you test the Beige to “Think Pink!”

  8. Bravo Coco and Bravo Monsieur L

    I felt as though I were on that stairwell with Gabrielle as her hopes and doubts and defiance descended to be exposed on the catwalk.

    Many others seem to warn away from this Exclusif – I am now convinced by your honeyed words to come down from my ivory tower and dip my toe into the ever-so-slightly-tropical sea of beige.

    A delight as always.

    Yours ever
    The Perfumed Dandy

    • Be sure to wear your water wings and bathing cap for I may sneak up behind you and push you into the pool! Thank you Dandy I do hope you like it. I know you will let me know.

      • Now M. L I have images of Esther Williams – nay visions, and that is hardly likely to assist the Dandy in getting to sleep…!

      • I just hope it is only Esther and that Red Skelton doesn’t show up! Sweet dreams!

  9. How in the world have I never seen this movie? I went to a fashion show this afternoon to see what the Kid had been assisting on and the young designer there had the same serene smile as Coco in the film but he confessed that his heart had been pounding all day… Another beautiful story, and I just couldn’t wait until tonight! xox, V

    • Dear one… MUST put Coco Avant Chanel on your must rent list. It is so good that I own it. It reference it also in my Coco Noir review. See the film first then read that review. It will add to it.
      I would have loved to have seen that fashion show today with you.

  10. Maybe I can stream it tonight, I’ll see… You would have loved this young designer’s show, elegant, sculptural, slightly futuristic, very draped – except for the one leather bustier 😉 I’ll send you pix! xoxox, V

  11. As always, enjoyed your story. Thank you.

    Beige was my first favorite from the Exclusiffs line. Now it moved to the third position but I still like to wear it from time to time. I think it fits many occasions – elegant, simple, pleasant.

    • Elegant, simple and pleasant is right! Undina what supplanted it in first and second place?

      • Cuir de Russie (my first full bottle from the line) and Bois des Iles (my future full bottle – once I decide if I want to go with the extrait or will be fine with an EdT version).

      • Small world! Cuir de Russie was my first full bottle too! And just this weekend I got a sample of Bois des Iles! Really lovely!

  12. You have lured me back to my sample of Beige! “Beige is the new Black”–copyright that! Love the photos, too.

    • “Beige is the new Black” oh I don’t think that is original to me LOL.
      Hope your revisit to beige proves to be lovely.

      • I suppose “[x] is the new black ” can’t be claimed, but it works so much better with “beige” than any other color. I like the way you use it as a lead-in to the Black perfume name.

  13. Loved the story, and am a CHANEL Couture fan but I have tried Beige twice and it hasn’t thrilled me Lanier. Sorry. I liked it but it just didn’t seem me.
    Portia xx

    • Thank you sweetie I am so glad the story was a good fit for you even if the perfume isn’t. Well that’s how the cookie crumbles, perfume wise.

  14. Michael,

    Beautifully written…..makes me want to smell it!

    See you later, Hilary

  15. Another lovely post, Lanier. You shared the perfect clip from a film I so enjoyed! Aways a pleasure stopping by, especially when you’re talking Chanel 🙂

    • I know that Chanel is a favorite with you. It is with me too! So I am thrilled you popped in for a little Chanel party.

  16. Good timing. I’ve never tried this but I’m reading a book called The Gospel According to Coco Chanel. I love Chanel.

  17. In raptures of heavenly delight with the frangipani accents and can’t wait to see that glorious film in all its detail. You truly do spoil us dear Lanier!

    • It is so much fun to spoil all of you! I hope you love Coco Avant Chanel and that you can try Beige too.

Comments RSS TrackBack Identifier URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

  • Blog Stats

    • 283,247 hits