Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky
Paris 1913. Coco Chanel is working hard on starting her fashion boutique. One day, she goes to theatre to see the extraordinarily daring performance of the Rite of Spring from Igor Stravinsky. Impressed and admirative of the guts of the composer at the time, who stands up for his work despite the rioting audience, she will never forget it. Seven years later, after the war, they meet again as Stravinsky escaped the Russian occupation. As he and his family move into the house of Coco Chanel, now a fashion star, the two creative geniuses start a passionate affair.
With a slow and rather melancholic pace, the film takes you behind the Coco Chanel we think we know, and finally shows her true and unapologetic side: tough and complex, with Anna Mouglalis portraying the perfect ice-queen for the occasion. Mikkelsen on the other hand, is more sensitive and plays a tormanted Stravinsky, facing dilemmas.
Without sentimentality, the film focuses on the passion – and not love – story. Yet a lot is suggested rather than overtly explained. Although he only focuses on a specific time and aspect of Chanel’s life, director Jan Kounen gives here a very convincing and intimate cinematographic piece. You might think ‘Oh, not another Chanel film?!’ but I personally much preferred this intimate version to the more mainstream Coco Before Chanel.
Fashion-wise, the film has a strong black & white focus, and Chanel’s restrained to minimalistic style contrasts with that of her Belle Epoque contemporaries. All very far from Karl Lagerfeld’s 2010 Couture collection, in flamboyant silver silks and embellishments. Nevermind the fashion, both were breathtaking and the epitome of the classic house style. After all, as Coco herself wisely said: ‘Fashion fades, only style remains the same.’
Watch the great trailer here.
“Coco Chanel and Igor Stravinsky.” Chosen as the Closing Film for 2009 Cannes Film Festival, the film was released a few weeks ago in France but there is no UK release date yet.
French speakers: Check Géraldine’s interview with the film’s stylists here.