A few leading ladies have had the honor of playing Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel, but so far only one of them has gotten to be directed by the current creative director of the house. That honor goes to Keira Knightley, a longtime spokesperson for the brand, who stars in “Once Upon a Time…,” Karl Lagerfeld’s upcoming short film.
The film sees Chanel and a cast of well-heeled characters, from aristocrat Lady de Grey (Stella Tennant), to the writer Vita Sackville-West (Saskia de Brauw), in 1913 Deauville at the first Chanel boutique, which was re-created for the film.
WWD nabbed a spot on set and it sounds like Lagerfeld’s filmmaking methods are not exactly what Knightley is used to (even if she is pretty accustomed to making period films).
According to the trade, Lagerfeld gave Knightley and the rest of the cast (the aforementioned models plus Tallula Harlech and Lindsey Wixson) their lines moments before shooting began and encouraged them to improvise. “Do it your way, huh?” said Lagerfeld. Knightley apparently thought it was a silent film before she arrived on set, which makes sense as it’s something Lagerfeld’s done before.
In addition to dialogue issues, Lagerfeld’s film may also include some harmless factual inaccuracies. The designer calls it “invented reality.”
And if Lagerfeld’s last short film for Chanel is any indication, the plot may not make a whole lot of sense.
Not that any of that matters. As long as Lagerfeld shows beautiful clothes on beautiful people against beautiful sets, with a hint of humor–something he’s never failed to do with a film or a fashion show–we’ll be happy.
The film debuts May 8 at Chanel’s Cruise collection event in Singapore–and on chanel-news.com. Watch the teaser below.