Another film about Chanel! (But Karl n’est pas amusé!)

14 June 2010

It doesn’t seem long since we were all marvelling at the sight of Audrey Tautou as Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel in the blockbuster Coco Avant Chanel. The film did so spectacularly well that Tautou is associated with the designer in many people’s minds as well as critics, who announced she’d pulled off the role she was born to play. But now there’s a new biopic on the scene. (screen?)

Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky  is already out in the states and stars Anna Mouglalis as Mademoiselle and Mads Mikkelsen as the avant-garde composer. The film tells the story of their extremely passionate love affair. (The story is taken from a novel, and is a ‘partly fictional account’) Anna is a particularly apt fit for the part of Chanel because she previously worked as the brand’s ‘spokesmodel’ after Karl Lagerfeld himself talent spotted her eight years ago.

She spent years modelling for the company the designer founded before turning to acting full time. “In the house of Chanel, there’s always a link to Gabrielle Chanel, so I’ve been gathering information for years,” says Mouglalis. “I took naps on the same couch that she took naps on. We probably had the same dreams.”

There is one person, though who isn’t too happy with the latest artistic interpretation of founder of the iconic fashion house, and that is Kaiser Karl. According to Mouglalis, “For Karl, it was not his vision at all of Chanel,” said the starlet. “Not at all.”

The film certainly isn’t the most flattering look at Lagerfeld’s predecessor, who passes her days making vigourous amour to the composer while his wife and four children are in the same house: “It’s a lot for someone who [Lagerfeld remembers] as full of humour to be shown as cold and dark,” says Mouglalis.

Karl himself was loathe to criticise one of his beloved muses, though and responded “[Anna] followed all the instructions from her director for this ‘character,’” he says. “But this role has no relation to her talent for other roles.” (Although Lagerfeld did contribute costumes to the film and also allowed shooting in the Chanel salon so he can't have been entirely opposed.)

Ooh la la! Quilted chain strap handbags at 10 paces!

- Naomi Attwood


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