PARIS — Jacques Helleu, Chanel's artistic director for more than four decades, died Friday at age 69 after a long illness.

Helleu was the driving force behind the image of the Chanel beauty business, whose No.5 fragrance remains the perennial bestseller worldwide. Helleu, who joined Chanel at age 18, was also in charge of image for the company's fine jewelry and its watch collection, for which he designed the timepieces, such as the J12.

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