After watching the life story of legendary fashion designer Coco Chanel, it's hard to find a place to begin a response. This romantic, historical and fashionable Chanel film stars actress' Shirley MacLaine, as older coco, and Barbora Bobulova, as young coco. Together, the two actress' displayed the true magnificence of the successful female designer. Gabrielle Coco Chanel was, in my opinion, the world's greatest fashion icon!!!
Coco Chanel was born and raised in Paris France in 1883; though she liked to claim that she was born in 1893, which would make her 10 years younger then she already was. Coco, along with her 5 siblings, were split up from each other and sent away after their mother passed. At the age of 6, Coco and her younger sister were sent to a catholic Monastery by their father who then went to America. There at the Monastery, Coco helped with the church seamstress.
So her story begins...an amazing woman that stood for what she believed in, and not what others believed she was.
When Coco turned 18 she left the Catholic Monastery to work for a well known seamstress. She started singing the famous french song "coco" at cafes and concert halls. It was then that she adopted the name Coco from the local soldiers who came to watch her sing. The cafe was also a place where Coco fell in love with one of the wealthiest officers France had to offer. It wasn't to long after meeting him she left her job to live with the man she loved.
It was her time spent with the love of her life that inspired her to start to make her own beautiful hats made out of woven straw. Not like your regular over sized hats, but more along the lines of a male size "porkpie" hat. Her unique design in hats included beautiful floral embellishments which made them truly a decadent work of art.
In 1910 she left her life with the officer and moved to Paris to open her own store. She struggled, but with the help of a wealthy industrialist, who Coco claimed, till this day, was the actual "love of her life."
She was able to have her own millinery shop selling her self made hat collections and in 1920 aimed to target another market. She started to design a more relaxed style of clothing for women using Jersey material which was originally used to make men's underwear. It wasn't long till her unique eye for fashion became a popular demand for her clients.
Now, that Mademoiselle Gabrielle Coco Chanel had been extremely successful with her clothing line and hat collection, She decided that she wanted to do a fragrance line. She had a choice from 7 fragrances, and picked the 5th one. This being her first ever from her signature fragrance line, Chanel No 5. She then claimed that 5 would be her lucky number. After World WarI Chanel had two years of total success with her fragrance line. Pierre Wertheiner became her business partner and took over 70% of the Chanel fragrance business and they still continue to control her perfume business till this day. It didn't take Chanel long to open two more stores while being in Deauville and Biarritz, taking over 6 floors of the building.
Gabrielle Coco Chanel has overcome many obstacles in her life. Chanel went from being an orphan, falling in love, to loosing the love of her life. Let's not forget the rejection she experienced from designers, and the fashion industry itself. She continued to make fashion designs based on what she loved , and how she wanted to be viewed in the public eye; which was not how the media viewed her. Her charismatic personality, really intrigued people to get to know Chanel, and her designs. It was the rejection from her fellow rivals that gave her more of a reason to leave a mark in the industry, and become the big name she was then, and still is today.
Chanel's designs of the post war period caused a sensation in the United States which ultimately maintained her unrivaled position in the fashion world for over 2 decades. She then died at the age of 88 in 1971. Karl Lagerfield continues to be the chief designer of the Chanel fashion house since 1982. Chanel's exquisite taste, and delicate designs continue to make a lasting impression on the runway and paved the way for designers today. Gabrielle Chanel is tremendously inspiring.
This is written as a response to the first Coco Chanel movie as well as to remember Mademoiselle Chanel as she has made such a big impact on the fashion industry.
I enjoyed the film but others were not as satisfied so filmmakers have recreated the Chanel movie to star Audrey Tatou. Don't forget to check out the new Coco film when it comes out! Here is a trailer!
Written by: Alisha Hanif.