News & Runway

Chanel Hits the Big Screen Again, and Karl Disapproves

 About two months ago I attended a screening of the latest Chanel biopic, Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky. After opening to the public recently in New York City’s Paris Theater to moderately positive reviews, wider distribution is slated for August 6.

The house of Chanel and creative director Karl Lagerfeld made the Chanel archives and collections available for use in the film, and the filmmakers were allowed access to Coco Chanel’s legendary apartment at 31 rue Rambon in Paris.

Further, Chanel lent several original garments and accessories to be worn by Anna Mouglalis, who played the designer on-screen.

The piece de resistances, however, were the specially created classic suit and embroidered evening dress that were designed by Karl Lagerfeld himself for the scene, recreating the scandalous 1913 performance of The Rite Of Spring that appears near the beginning of the film.

Unfortunately, since the film’s opening, Lagerfeld has been vocal with his criticism of the portrayal of Coco Chanel.

However, Mouglalis told Vogue UK that Karl Lagerfeld was an invaluable resource in helping shape her role as Coco. The French actress goes on to to say that when she discussed the film with Lagerfeld, the designer was very keen for her to show “Coco’s  humor – but that was something the director didn’t want to do."

"For Karl, nothing can be precise enough. This film is just one interpretation, and shows a certain point of view. I didn’t even have to ask for his help, though – he relayed anecdotes about Coco, showed me the archives, and lent me some beautiful dresses."

I personally preferred Coco Before Chanel to this more recent biopic, as it’s a meatier story.  But Mouglalis – who has worked with Chanel for eight years, and is currently the face of Chanel Fine Jewelry – brings a wealth of knowledge to her portrayal of the legendary designer. Combined with beautiful cinematography, this makes for an insightful film for die-hard fashion fans.