Two movies chronicling the life of Gabrielle Chanel were slated for release in 2009.
One, Audrey Tautou's Coco Avant Chanel, opened here last September; it followed Coco from the orphanage to the atelier. The other, Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky, stars Anna Mouglalis as the designer and it's opened almost everywhere in the world except the United States.
It finally hits theatres in New York June 11th, but we went to a screening last night and it's very, very slow (and long).
Despite the exaggerated scenes and sweeping music, it's a feast for the eyes---like Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette without the pink. Coco's country house is as impeccably black and white as a tweed suit, her pearls are draped perfectly on top of every single outfit and her atelier is bright, clean and bursting with energy (or as much energy as she'd allow).
Chanel No.5 came to life during Chanel's affair with Stravinsky, and she travels to Grasse to meet with the perfumers and wade through rose petals---the only real burst of color in the film. The clothes, including Coco's slouchy suits, the Chanel shop girls' outfits, partygoers' beaded flapper dresses and the ballet's feathered headpieces and capes are beautiful.
It may be too long for the theatre, but it's the perfect film to play on silent in the background all day long.