Daily Archives: August 15, 2009

Coco avant Chanel


I enjoyed it much more than I thought. Though I love Audrey Tautou, I couldn’t help thinking it might turn out to be another “Devil Wears Prada” that wasn’t saved by Meryl Streep.

But then Anne Hathaway has never been an actress with any flair in my book, in the same way that I never empathise with any Keira Knightley characters, who was actually offered the role. I wouldn’t have bothered to spend £3.20 if she’d accepted.

The film covers life for Gabrielle Chanel aka  Coco before she becomes the fashion designer we now have embedded in our subconscious. I remember Hello magazine from when Princess Diana was alive and her wearing a red and pink dress, which I was morbidly against. Now I might have only been 10 years old, but if I had to hazard a guess I would have told my friends, for elaboration, that the dress was a Chanel.A410AZDCAZUVOM0CALQ902RCAW3N3YJCAKWKIOOCACTWIO8CAJY0LX0CAXZM12MCAZNJYHGCAWVZ8HNCAHNV1S5CA80AL0SCAIRN8ETCAZ34GK3CATYVY60CA5E2FFICAK4M2FYCAYI5WIRCAYYRK04

The two symbols that have become emblematic of the brand, are far from the bland Coco that we see in the film, her style was geeky, shapeless and carried with flair away from the frou frou of the tea cake tarts.

Chanel markets herself on the fact that it ain’t luxury if it ain’t comfortable.

I loved the portrayal in the film of Coco’s relationships with men, Balsen and Boy, though Boy annoyed me immensely. I wish he hadn’t bothered to utter any English, for me it took away from the beauty of the film, it seemed a sloppy  token gesture.

Some things I’ve learnt about Coco:

  • Coco was born in 1883 and died in 1971 so she had a pretty good innings
  • Her name was mis-spelt Chasnel when her birth was recorded, this made things tricky for biographers (I did not learn this from the film)
  • In 1913 Coco introduced sportswear into her boutique in Deauville (I did not learn this from the film)
  • not to be confused with Coco Channel, which seperates the coco islands and the North Andaman islands

I liked the film and find Coco an interesting character, I’d be tempted to check out some of the other films about different eras of her life even though they don’t star Tautou, and so far not Knightley.

I won’t be buying the perfume, not until I’m 67 and going on a cruise anyway.


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