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Coco Chanel in Movies and Books:
Sometimes True Life is More Fictional than Any Fiction

Loco over Coco: Renewed Craze about Coco Chanel's Life

Mademoiselle Coco Chanel, Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel by her real name (1883-1971), lived a fairytale-like life - over the thorns up to the stars, from rags to riches, an 'American' dream come true; mostly thanks to her genius, bold, avant-guarde, hardworking and dogged character... But also thanks to her lovers, friends, lucky coincidences and her luckiest number (No. 5, of course!) she became one of the three most important figures of her time, according to André Malraux. Her influence on fashion, popular culture, modernization and emancipation of women's lives is reflected also in naming her one of the Time 100: The Most Important People of the (20th) Century1. Coco is the only fashion designer to make it to the list.

The year 2008 celebrated 125th anniversary of Coco Chanel's birth and the Loco over Coco hype around it renewed a cinematic and literary interest in her fascinating, mythical life story. In a very short time span of few years, three new biographical movies had been produced (Coco Chanel, Coco Before Chanel, Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky) and also a number of books about Coco's life and work. Of course, it is always highly welcome to hear old myths and inspiring stories (anew) and draw something for yourself, be it hope, inspiration, some self-growth lessons. But the biggest beneficiary of the latest craze about Coco's legendary path is undoubtedly the giant in the shadow, Chanel S.A., probably the single most prominent fashion house in the world.

Being well aware of the enormous commercial potential2 of the craze around Coco's epic life path and probably also as the means of traditional Chanel marketing approach via maintaining the legend (idolatry?) of Mlle Coco alive, Chanel company generously helped some of the most perspective writers and moviemakers. Maison Chanel helped out with the advice and costume design, by lending the original Coco's items (attire, accessories, her other personal items) or by allowing the access to Coco's personal space - where she lived or worked.

What Is There To Say About Coco Chanel, That Wasn't Already Said ... Written ... Filmed About?

Nothing new, so let's echo; she was special just like everybody was, but she was 'more' different, more unique, more trendsetting than everybody else in her era...

Gabrielle Coco Chanel: I don't do fashion, I AM fashion. As she said: In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different.

She was so unique, because even if she didn't like the modest direction her life planned for her, she courageously chose NOT to whine about, but rather do something about this passionate, independent, genius beast inside of her that wanted to get free no matter what.

She was well aware, she wanted more... And that she could do better.

My life didn't please me, so I created my life, she also said...


Whether you start your research of Coco's life on Google, in books or through movies I am sure you'll be fascinated with her life 'plot', worth several Academy Awards - for several consecutive years, even decades... An Oscar for the Best Picture, for the Best Director, for the Best Actress in a Leading Role, for the Best Original Screenplay, for the Best Makeup, for the Best Visual Effects, for the Best Original Score... Any missing? Of course, an Oscar for the Best Costume Design, wouldn't you agree ;)?



Her eventful life was filled with thorns and stars, mysteries, lucky coincidences, chaos, great loves and losses... She was a celebrity, a living icon already while she was still alive. But even now, four decades after Coco's death, her spirit is more alive than ever - through her timeless legacy in fashion world, through the Chanel fashion brand, through her memoirs, through her quotes...

I tried very hard to describe Coco's character and personality in short - but this is almost impossible! In my opinion Coco Chanel's quotes, many of which have become legendary and ingrained into our culture, best epitomize the rainbow of her bold, untamed, visionary, timelessly modern, independent and passionate essence.

But, I can't resist describing Coco a bit more extensively; with just a FEW ;) words - pieces of mysterious puzzle called Coco Chanel: from zero to hero(ine), a woman with a plan from the beginning, rebellious, survivor, independent, self-made, charismatic, professionally & artistically realized, dominant, strong - yet fragile, fierce, meticulous, entrepreneur, businesswoman, independent, very creative, workaholic, revolutionary, daring, original trendsetter, opinion maker, avant-guard, inimitable... Femme fatale, nobody's wife, charming, spicy, temptress, fiery, untamed, wild, dangerous, passionate, never married to a man, only to her work... No children, except her creations... Beautiful, ELEGANT, glamourous, classy, diva, youthful, tomboyish, sporty. Zesty, bon vivant... Highly superstitious... An icon.

Coco was also a very enigmatic person, covering her life in mystery and lies; as Karen Karbo wrote in her book The Gospel According to Coco Chanel: Life Lessons from the World's Most Elegant Woman: "She compulsively lied about her past, and then lied about having lied, and then disavowed the lie about the lie".

One of the biggest controversies about Coco Chanel is her supposed collaboration with Nazi Germans during the Second World War, because she had a lover, who was a German Officer and supposedly took part in some kind of a intelligence plot against the British. The author of 'Coco Chanel: The Legend and the Life' book, Julie Picardie, explained in an interview (from 4:15 onwards) about this grey-black area of Coco's life. Julie Picardie also touches upon another stain on Coco's life, her opportunistic anti-Semitic action in 1941 to acquire back the sole ownership of 'Parfums Chanel' house from her Jewish business partners - the Wertheimer family. Parfums Chanel had Chanel No.5 perfume, the most profitable of all Chanel products, under its umbrella.

Depictions of Coco Chanel's Life in Movies, Books and Elsewhere

More than 40 biographies3, yet Coco Chanel remains one of the most mysterious, enigmatic and alluring luminaries of the 20th century:

Despite the work of a dozen biographers... Chanel remains an enigma. David Downie


Despite this intriguing notion, I invite you to check the links below and explore additional info about some of the recent, most memorable movie, literary and other depictions of fascinating Coco Chanel's life.
  1. Movie Depictions of Coco's Life: Coco Chanel Movies


  2. Literary Depictions of Coco's Life: Coco Chanel Biography Books


  3. Other Interesting Depictions of Coco Chanel's Life



1 Source
2 E.g., check these best selling perfume results for US.
3 Source: http://www.moviesonline.ca/movienews_17382.html


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