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Reviewed: Chanel Misia, the Perfume That Smells Exactly Like Makeup

It’s called a “lipstick accord.”

There is Chanel No. 5 and then there is Chanel Les Exclusifs.

The latter is the brand's ultra-luxury range of perfumes, comprising 15 rare and unique scents for the true fragrance-phile. Each was inspired by an aspect of the brand's "DNA", from Coco Chanel's favourite textile (Jersey) to her favourite colour (Beige). Four were crafted by Coco herself and perfumer Ernest Beaux in the 1920s, and ten are by Jacques Polge, Chanel in-house perfumer since the 1970s.

Now, the 15th perfume in the Les Exclusifs range has arrived, and it is the creation not of Jacques, but of his son and successor, fellow perfumer Olivier Polge.

Meet Misia:

The chic white box of Les Exclusifs de Chanel.

Like all the Les Exclusifs perfumes, the packaging is TDF (to die for). With the big square bottle and double Cs on the cap, it doesn't get more stunning than this.

The ultimate in perfume packaging.

But of course, Les Exclusifs aren't really about the packaging. They're about the scent and the story—and Misia has a good one. The name comes from Misia Sert, the best friend of Coco (Gabrielle) Chanel and a muse for many artists during that period. "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 told WWD.

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From The Skincare Edit Archives

Makeup! He wanted it to smell like makeup. And it really, really does.

Finally, a perfume that smells like makeup.

In terms of notes, Misia's "lipstick accord" features iris, violet, rose, orris root, benzoin and tonka bean. It's quite powdery at first, reminiscent of old-fashioned makeup. But expensive makeup. I find it familiar and utterly comforting; it reminds me of the smell of vintage cosmetics like my grandmothers would have worn, without any of that overbearing "old lady" quality.

Once it dries down, you get more freshness and creaminess, and you really start to appreciate just how complex and well-crafted it is. For me, the violet and iris really emerge, but somehow it still don't smell typically "floral". 

This cap... you know you want it.

Misia couldn't be more different from the usual fruity mainstream perfumes out there—it's subtle, elegant, feminine and soooo unique. If you love the idea of faintly smelling like makeup, then you must check it out!

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Find Chanel Misia at

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