Thursday, December 3, 2009

Coco Avant Chanel


I watched a wonderful movie last week about Chanel's
life before her fame and fortune. I really enjoyed it.
The movie gave some insight into the early years of
Chanel's life and really hits home just how far ahead of
her time she was when it came to fashion, comfort and
easy elegance. She, was a very elegant woman.


Audrey Tautou (from the movie
Amelie) plays young Chanel.

Here's a side by side photo of Chanel and Audrey Tautou.

Some stills from the movie. Can you imagine how eccentric
people thought she was for wearing mean's clothing? You
must remember that Gabrielle Chanel was born in 1883
and became 21 years of age around the turn of the century.
Women back then did not simply strut around in men's
clothes.

Alessandro Nivola plays the love of her life who was Arthur "Boy" Capel.
Both "Boy" and Chanel had other lovers as well but Boy seemed to be the
one that Chanel loved most. Boy also financed her first shop in Paris and
she borrowed greatly from his closet for inspiration. Since 99% of the
movie is in French, Alessandro had to learn French for the movie.
Alessandro is an American actor who was born in Boston. He is very
dashing and appropriately intense in the movie.

Coco Chanel with Cecil Beaton in 1937.

This was the only real picture of Arthur "Boy" Capel
that I could find. He was an English Polo player who
was also a politician and self made businessman.

I really love this image from the movie as it
depicts Chanel so elegantly in her workspace.

This is a very old photograph of a very young Coco.

Chanel always had this way of mixing masculine
and feminine style together effortlessly.


All of her portraits are just stunning. Not in the flat out
sexy feel that Marilyn Monroe had but a true kind of
elegance, chic and just plain coolness.


Back then, it was chic to smoke and Chanel definitely
smoked A Lot. Many of her famous portraits and
photos show her with a cigarette hanging out of her
mouth - even while working and pinning models.
Now that I think about, I don't see many photos of
her without a cigarette in hand.

I love this portrait of Coco. It's a very unique angle that
shows off her profile. It was either a popular angle back
then or Chanel just really knew how to pose. I think Chanel
really knew how to pose...I'm not sure I've seen a bad photo
of her.Another photo of young Chanel.

This one with short wavy hair. She cut her hair at
a time when short hair wasn't fashionable. During
the 1930's, you had the "flappers" era of daring and
forward women who bobbed their hair and wore
short skirts. Chanel cut her hair before it had come
into fashion.

Chanel with a straw hat - straw hats that
she brought into fashion for women.

Love the netting. She crossed her arms a lot -
like a man. I don't imagine it was considered
feminine for women to do it back then.

What a cool looking pose. She's like the epitome
of cool. The female version of James Dean.


I love this candid photo of her. She just always
looked so relaxed - very much so in her own skin.



I think this this book is one of the best books about
Chanel as it combines her life story with beautiful
photographs of her, her life and and her work. It's
a bit pricey but well worth it if you're looking for an
informative and beautiful book about Chanel.

In the past, I've blogged about Coco Chanel's apartment
above her flagship store and her suite at the Ritz in Paris.
Check them out if you're interested.

Coco Chanel's Paris Ritz Suite Part I


Chanel's 2007 Campaign - Keira Knightly

Photos from the UK's Guardian, Getty
Images and various Google Image sources.



19 comments:

Irene ~ RE~VINTAGED said...

Wonderful!
I am longing to see the movie too :)
Irene x

Dagny @ Beautiful Living said...

GREAT post! Love Coco, and am kicking myself for not having seen the movie yet! Have to do so asap! Thanks!! :D

Vivian said...

Loved this Movie!!!
xoxo
Vivian
www.bibimademoiselle.blogspot.com

Interior design ideas said...
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Beds Mattress Memory Foam said...
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vicki archer said...

Loved it too ...xv

Shannon www.OldWorldCharm.info said...

Thanks so much for posting about the ultimate style maven. I love your blog! :-)

Shannon

Yoli said...

I love her. Thanks for the gorgeous photographs. There will never be another like her.

jamaica byles said...

Love this post....great photos.I too love her style and did a post of some of her beautiful gowns on my blog....she really eptomizes the style I love...ultra feminine with a masculine edge.

Kristy @ Isn't It Just Darling said...

I saw this film as well and loved it! I watched it with a girlfriend who found it to be slow as she was expecting it to be more about Chanel the famous designer, and not so much about Chanel before she was "the Coco Chanel. But I still thought it was wonderful!

She certainly had a pair of brass ovaries! LOL

I must say, it would've been interesting if they extended the story into WWII when she was having love affairs with prominent nazis! But I guess that would've been another 2 hours... and wouldn't really portray her in the best light...

ChicTip.com said...

I need to watch this movie! I love Audrey Tautou - she is a amazing actress!

babs said...

I watched the movie and loved it. Then I wanted to know more. I read this biography of Chanel: http://www.amazon.com/Chanel-Woman-her-Axel-Madsen/dp/0805016392/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1259957858&sr=8-3

You mentioned how beautiful the profile picture is and if it was her idea. It was! Cecil Beaton had been taking her portrait and she didn't think any of them would be good, so she posed one last time for him, her way. Simply stunning.

corine said...

Great post. It's nice to see image of the real coco. I was in awe of her watching the movie. To see all she has accomplished, what genius!

Anonymous said...
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so Spiffy said...

I have not seen the movie but I heard it got many Emmy nominations... I'd love to see this.. I wonder when it will be avail on DVD?

Anonymous said...
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Des said...

Audrey Tautou is an outstanding actress. She has such tremendous range.

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