When I think of Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel, words that come to mind are iconic, innovator, influential, elegant, timeless, nonconformist… I could go on.
Today’s post is dedicated to my sister, who told me that seeing film portrayals of Chanel’s life such as Coco Chanel (2008) and Coco Before Chanel (2009) helped her be even more inspired by Chanel’s vision, style, and modernist philosophy.
The world of fashion was a man’s business, but it was Chanel’s revolutionary designs that defined style and elegance for generations of women everywhere. Before her, women were constrained in their clothes. She once said, “luxury must be comfortable, otherwise it is not luxury.” So she got rid of corsets and emphasized casual elegance and comfort, at first by using a lot of jersey and drawing inspiration from menswear.
Coco Chanel was certainly the most influential fashion icon of the 20th century. She was the only couturier to make Time’s 100 Most Important People of the Century. In her article for Time, Ingrid Sischy said “She was shrewd, chic and on the cutting edge. The clothes she created changed the way women looked and how they looked at themselves.”
I’m sure you can all imagine the challenge and pressure that was involved in costuming the two films I’m featuring here. It takes a lot more than the incredible research that I’m sure everyone involved had to do. The costumes of Coco Chanel were designed by Stefano De Nardis and Pierre-Yves Gayraud and Coco Before Chanel’s Costume and Wardrobe Department included Céline Collobert (wardrobe mistress), Camille Janbon (assistant costume designer), Eudald Magri (costumer), Karen Muller Serreau (assistant costume designer), Laurence Nicolas (set costumer, Sylvie Néant (crowd dresser), and Fréderic Tournat (costumes coordinator).
Coco Before Chanel (2009) Haut et Court, Ciné@, Warner Bros. | Directed by Anne Fontaine, starring Audrey Tautou as Chanel.
Coco Chanel (2008) Lux Vide, Pampa Production, and Alchemy Television | Directed by Christian Duguay, Starring Shirley MacLaine and Barbora Bobulova as Chanel.
For my sister, Coco Chanel is a reference and role model who has inspired her to seek a timeless style and to think outside her “21th century-female box.” And I couldn’t agree more.
© 2011 – 2015, Louise Junker.