Power Flower

By Jo Phillips

This simple flower is usually made up of open lying or low petals against glossy dark green leaves from evergreen shrubs but this mid-sized flower belies its importance when just viewing it. With somewhere around 3000 hybrid species the Camillia flower although has no real scent is much prized in tea making and now in skincare. Native to south-eastern, eastern Asia and the Indian subcontinent it is mainly seen in three key colours White, Pink and Red.  The pure White simplicity was the favourite flower of Coco Chanel and emblematic of the brand and it is because of her love of the particular breed Chanel the company, has explored the flower for over ten years to extract its healing beauty qualities. Meet the N°1 DE CHANEL line based on a global vision of beauty that incorporates three dimensions: skincare, makeup and a fragrance mist here in Power Flower. Image Harry Stonhill.

The Camellia flower is synonymous with the company Chanel  It is a motif that appears on packaging, bags, clothing, jewellery and shoes. It was Coco Chanel’s favourite flower and was supposedly given to her by her lover, Boy Capel and from then on she pinned silk versions onto her lapels, and in her hair.

Some Camellia varieties bloom during the winter and others in the spring, but all of them bloom during cooler weather and are evergreen the rest of the year. Its meaning differs culturally, from romantic love and devotion, adoration and care, and even desire, romance, and passion. Camellias represent the number 11 and in Brazil’s abolitionist movement they used the Camellia as a symbol of their fight against slavery during the Imperial Era of the country. Whilst one cultural use of white Camellia flowers, in particular, was to symbolize the women’s suffrage movement in New Zealand, a symbol of the fight for the vote for women in 1893. A plant with many layers of meaning.

It may be little known but for over 20 years CHANEL has been cultivating the riches of nature, by carrying out scientific research on its skincare products with its own four open sky laboratories, established in different climate zones worldwide to create the noblest effective ingredients.

However, the history of skincare from the brand goes all the way back to 1927, when the company first introduced a variety of skin-care products, including toners, creams, lotions, and soaps.

These present-day open sky laboratories are the result of an exemplary approach, on an environmental and territorial scale, that values the land through a virtuous agroecological approach, using innovative farming practices.

So in the South-West of France, in the heart of Gaujacq village, CHANEL has since 1998, a project of an exceptional scale around the camellia. Created 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. 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 by.   

In this 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 (an applied science that studies ecological processes applied to agricultural production systems) and agroforestry (use management system in which trees or shrubs are grown around or among crops or pastureland) 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 plants, earth and water, while increasing the plants’ resistance to disease.

This dynamic approach earned the farm High Environmental Value (HVE) level 3 certification, which is the highest of all agricultural environmental certifications, as well as an “organic farming conversion” label. Farms are optimized to reduce pressure on the environment to a minimum.

So it was at the end of nearly ten years of experiments carried out in collaboration with researchers from the Department of Biotechnology and Ageing at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences in Vienna, the research revealed a key mechanism involved in cellular vitality, called senescence. This is a particularly promising scientific field that provides previously unseen perspectives in addressing the signs of skin ageing.

In biology, senescence is a process by which cells age and permanently stop dividing but does not die. Over time, large numbers of old (or senescent) cells can build up in tissues throughout the body. This is exciting science for skincare and also for disease.

CHANEL’s specific skincare research has observed that the damage caused by internal and external aggressors accumulated in the heart of cells, accelerates these cells’ entry into senescence. They then cease dividing, without however being eliminated, and can represent up 50% of the total skin cells. They disrupt the smooth functioning of other active cells, which is translated by the look of premature ageing and the appearance of signs of age.

This program on skin senescence was initiated by CHANEL in 2012, and thier own experts accessed models that reproduced the different stages of senescence for the first time and tested the effectiveness of the most promising ingredients.

What stood out to the team was the standout results obtained with the red camellia extract. 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. Their performances were clinically evaluated according to rigorous protocols; meet the products in the new  No.1 de CHANEL range which comprises nine items.

Starting with the:-


The skincare first is a concentrated red camellia extract that preserves the look of vitality. Formulated with 95% ingredients of natural origin*, 76% of which are derived from the camellia*, ( Proportion of natural ingredients and derivatives calculated according to ISO 16128) a transparent gel texture with a refreshing effect is immediately absorbed by the epidermis. With continued use, it visibly reduces the appearance of wrinkles and pores, improves skin elasticity and provides comfort and a radiant-looking complexion.

The next product is the


Concentrated in red camellia extract and oil, this scented whipped cream is formulated with 95% of ingredients of natural origin*, of which 70% are derived from the camellia** (

Concentrated in red camellia extract and oil, this scented whipped cream is formulated with 95% of ingredients of natural origin*, of which 70% are derived from the camellia** (Inks composed of organic molecules, which require lower heating temperatures and consume less energy than other inks). On application it visibly smooths the look of lines, adding comfort and radiance to the skin, while forming a protective barrier against urban pollution.

Next comes the


Enriched with plant-origin squalene and hyaluronic acid this pearlescent white cream hydrates, refreshes and illuminates the eyes instantly. Its fresh texture, containing 91% of ingredients of natural origin*, combines red camellia extract, which has properties that revitalize, with an anti-dark circle and anti-puffiness “light-complex”.

After that find the


Entirely new, this ultrafine powder texture will revolutionize the skin cleansing ritual. Enriched with red camellia oil, it transforms on contact with water, into a soft, light foam in order to remove impurities and pollution residue. Its formula, containing 93% ingredients of natural origin*, cleansers skin, leaving radiant skin.

After that comes the


This fresh and transparent lotion, highly concentrated in camellia water contains 99% ingredients of natural origin*, 48% of which are derived from the camellia*. Applied before serum and cream.

And finally in skincare comes the


With its bi-phase formula, the mist provides a red camellia extract that is as concentrated as the Revitalizing Serum. Sprayed on the entire face throughout the day, it effectively helps protect the skin from pollution and thereby preserves its youthful appearance. Enriched in protective red camellia oil and in refreshing camellia water, it enhances radiance in the complexion and revives makeup.

Then comes the items in this collection that cover Makeup


Coated pigments for long-wear combined with a second-skin effect film-forming duo, enable this foundation to even out skin tone and correct the look of imperfections. Enriched with red camellia oil and hydrating agents, is revitalizing formula, composed of 94% ingredients of natural origin*, also helps protect the epidermis from external aggressors, and helps preserve its youthful appearance.

And the


Enriched with red camellia oil and plant origin wax, this creamy, coloured, multi-use balm can be applied using the fingertips to lips and cheekbones to heighten their natural shade. Its smooth, non-oily texture melts instantly on the skin and provides a sensation of immediate comfort and hydration.

And finally in this dynamic collection is the Fragrance Mist


Olivier Polge used a skincare base enriched with refreshing camellia water and a revitalizing red camellia extract as the medium for this fragrance mist. The red camellia inspired him to create, in collaboration with the CHANEL Fragrance Laboratory, an original floral bouquet.

As well as caring for the soil the full range of packaging for the line has been designed with sustainability in mind. The weight of the jars and bottles has been reduced, through a streamlined design. 80% of the products in the range are made of glass. Most of the product line lids contain recycled or bio-sourced materials. The cream jar is refillable and patented (patent pending). On the lids, inks have been replaced by the use of engraving in the production moulds. The use of plastics was limited, especially single-use ones such as cellophane. The Red Camellia Crème Revitalisante lid incorporates camellia seed shell. Paper leaflets have been removed and finally organic inks** have been used to decorate the bottles.

As any gardener will tell you, the beautiful camellia’s flowers don’t really have a strong scent. In perfumery, it features more often as what’s known as a ‘fantasy’ note: a synthetic, designed to conjure up an image soft, voluptuous beauty of this winter-blossoming shrub. However outside of its lack in the scent arena is seems particularly the Red Camillia is a queen of the garden with many healing benefits to offer. This is a perfect example of where human scientific nurturing meets our natural truly meet and is caring and conscious for our precious world. Who could ask for more?

Find out more about this collection Here at Chanel.Com

If you enjoyed Power Flower why not read from Trim to Film Here

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