Chanel Misia ~ perfume review

Chanel Misia, brand banner

Misia did not create anything, but, through the people she met throughout her life and her magnetic presence alongside artists of the time, she became a muse, a patron and an arbiter of taste for several decades. — Musée d’Orsay

My intention for this fragrance wasn’t so much to recapture Misia herself, but her role as a turning point in the life of Gabrielle Chanel. Misia introduced Gabrielle to a number of new things. With this fragrance, I wanted to convey the atmosphere of the Ballets Russes [of which Misia was a patron] and the smell of makeup from that time. — Olivier Polge1

Misia is the latest from the Les Exclusifs collection at Chanel, and the first release from perfumer Olivier Polge. You may remember that Polge has been named as the successor to his father, Jacques Polge, who has been the Chanel house perfumer since 1978. The fragrance was named for Misia Sert, a friend of Coco Chanel, but I am not going to belabor the backstory — Misia Sert was fascinating, but really “Ballets Russes” and “the smell of makeup from that time” tells you most of what you need to know about the fragrance…

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Not a Chanel flower

"If there is a bunch of tuberose in the room it’s either the bouquet or me," says the Frenchman with a smile and a shrug. "It has an invading crudeness. The same with mimosa. It’s very strong. And it’s not a Chanel flower."

— Perfumer Jacques Polge, quoted in The making of Chanel No.5 at The Telegraph.