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Coco avant Chanel - 'Coco before Chanel'

Gabrielle Bonheur “Coco” Chanel is a fashion legend; A pioneer that changed the way that we dress, a woman with undeniable talent, and with an empire that still lives on.

It seems some-what fitting given her contribution to the world of fashion, that a film be made about her life.  This year has seen the release of this movie, one in which movie goers can journey through the life that was Coco Chanel; from her birth in 1883 (in rural France) through to the fashion legend that she became. 

So, what are the critics saying about the film to date?  Well, firstly, it’s worth mentioning that it’s not a true documentary, based instead on the book  L’Irrégulière, ou mon itinéraire Chanel by Edmonde Charles-Roux.  The “…broad outline of alliances, influences, lucky breaks and tragedy rings true… ” says Lisa Nesselson, Screendaily,  who also higlights the fact that “… the screenwriters have taken liberties with chronology that may upset fashion purists…” 

But for those who are just keen to get a glimpse into the life of Chanel, the woman (not just the name), the movie is said to be well worth seeing.

Audrey Tatou (Amelie, 2001) plays Chanel, and is said to have done a brilliant job in portraying her.  Suzy Menkes, NY Times has said that “Coco avant Chanel brings fashion’s famous Mademoiselle to life, thanks to… Audrey Tautou, who is alternately charming, cheeky, stubborn and determined.”

The film is soon to show at the New Zealand International Film Festival, and I for one can’t wait to see it.

If you get the chance to see the movie, I’d love to hear what you think of this portrayal, and I hope to give you my views very shortly too

If you’d like to see the movie trailer first, click here:


Readers' comments (1)

  • hi there, I did a radio review with the fashion editor of the Irish Times and designer Peter O'Brien. If you want to listen go to and get the link to the podcast.

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