Coco Chanel and Igor Stravinsky (2009)

| 18 April , 2010 | Reply

Keeva Stratton from Quip Creative

A Film by Jan Kounen
Starring Mads Mikkelsen and Anna Mouglalis

Centering on the famed affair between fashion\’s iconic female entrepreneur Gabrielle ‘Coco\’ Chanel and Russian composer Igor Stravinsky, Coco Chanel and Igor Stravinsky is a film brimming with both lust and lustre. Decadent sets and powerful performances take you head on into Paris from 1913, in all its champagne-laden glory.

The film begins at the premiere of Stravinsky\’s The Rite of Spring, which is met by a disgruntled, and at times hostile, audience, and leaves us with a disenchanted Stravinsky.

Chanel, who happened to be at the premiere, is impressed by what she sees, and seven years later, at the height of her early success, she encounters Stravinsky, who is now in exile from the war, and offers to house him and his family, which includes his sickly wife Catherine (delicately portrayed by Elena Morozova).

While composing his next piece, Stravinsky\’s creativity exerts its inexorable pull on Chanel, who is accustomed to having her desires met, and their affair begins – literally under the nose of both his wife and family.

The film is marked by an incredible performance by Anna Mouglalis as the independent figure of Chanel – this must be hailed as casting genius. Unlike the recent depiction of Audrey Tatou\’s Chanel (from the recent Coco Avant Chanel), Mouglalis is able to capture the unwavering strength of a woman who rose above her gender and her social status, as well as the elegance and creative brilliance of the mastermind that was Chanel – Mouglalis supplies an unrelenting and consistently fine performance.

The cost of Chanel\’s famous independence and steely determination is arguably one of the true tragedies of depictions of early feminism – the complete lack of empathy shown by Chanel for the harm their affair would cause to Stravinsky\’s wife and children.

The power of the film is that it leaves you torn – swept away by the excitement of the romance and the incredible artistry of both Chanel and Stravinsky, while faced with the true sadness of a family losing their father and husband to the pull of creative genius and obsession.

Adding to the authenticity and magnificence of the film, Karl Lagerfeld and the House of Chanel allowed for use of both the fashion icon\’s apartment and outfits from her collections. Lagerfeld even contributed an original dress to act as her costume in one of the closing scenes – the dress is an inspired ode to her iconic style.

The sets are rich and the clothes decadent, in a film that truly captures the Parisian rise to dominate fashion and an engrossing affair between two cultural icons. It is a must-see for lovers of fashion, as while this is a story that will divide your empathy, it will leave you with a rich sense of this leading figure of fashion and the incredible world that she created for herself.


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Category: Film & TV

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