Coco Chanel transformed the vision of what it meant to be a beautiful, chic and intelligent woman during a time when women did not have a lot of freedom to express themselves. She developed style, not fashion, since “fashion is fleeting, style is forever.”
Her struggles at a young age growing up as an orphan and experiences working as a seamstress in a small tailor shop unknowingly contributed to her amazing success. She had a unique vision, was resistant to defeatism, and was very talented. Chanel’s designs were not current with the fashion of the time. Her boyish cuts, short hair and unconstructed garments created a shift, and provoked controversial discussions because they were so different from the overbearing corsets and full skirts that were in fashion (designed by top male designers).
Chanel’s designs were a direct reflection of who she was as a woman and were not created to be adored – they were created for a woman to live her life in. Her dedication to style and the vulnerability of showing herself in her brand exposed the world to a fresh look that woman were eventually happy to embrace.
Sony Pictures Classics introduces Coco Before Chanel, a movie set to release on September 25th. This film explores Chanel’s struggle to rise to the top, and shows us why her brand has remained such a compelling and important part of fashion and style throughout time. Directed by Anna Fontaine and starring Audrey Tatou as the young Coco Chanel, the story takes a look at Chanel’s interpretation of beauty and grace. She embraces her differences as a woman and develops a style based on these characteristics.
Anne Fontaine comments “She was different. Chanel turned this difference into a fundamental asset, though it must have been a terrible suffering for her. At first, she appears as a little peasant girl, unpolished with a beehive hairstyle; then, we see how her style clashes with the other women only to become, in the last part of the movie, the incarnation of French chic. Little by little, everything in her was grace, and what people looked at was Chanel. “
Images courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics.