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La Chanelphile

January 28, 2010

Coco Before Chanel Nominated for 12th Annual CDG Awards

Coco Before Chanel

The nominees have been announced for the 12th Annual Costume Designers Guild Awards and not surprisingly, Catherine Leterrier was nominated for her work in Coco Before Chanel. The specific category is “Excellence in a Period Film” and though I haven’t seen the other films in the category, I think she should win. It’s a very difficult task to do the costumes for the most iconic person in fashion history and I think she met the challenge. The Award ceremony will be held on Thursday, February 25, 2010 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.

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January 8, 2010

Chanel is Bringing Lipstick Back: Introducing Rouge Coco Hydrating Creme Lip Colour

Chanel is Bringing Lipstick Back: Vanessa Paradis for Rouge Coco Hydrating Creme Lip Colour

Chanel is Bringing Lipstick Back: Vanessa Paradis for Rouge Coco Hydrating Creme Lip Colour

They say lipstick sales are “recession proof” – in fact – sales usually go up. Why? Because it’s an inexpensive way to look beautiful and freshen up your look. Chanel is taking note and bringing lipstick back to a young customer base that is infatuated with lip gloss. This March, Chanel is introducing Rouge Coco Hydrating Creme Lip Colour – and bringing back the lost art of sexily applying your lipstick.

Vanessa Paradis, the French actress (and Johnny Depp’s leading lady) is the face of the campaign and this is not the first time Paradis has worked with Chanel.  Andrea D’Avack, president of Chanel Fragrance & Beauté, stated: “Vanessa has been very linked to the house over the years, and she represents a young, sophisticated woman who we also believe will be the consumer for Rouge Coco.”  Print and TV ads have been shot though it’s still unclear whether TV spots will be placed in the U.S.

The Rouge Coco line has 30 shades and each hue is named after an influential part of Coco Chanel’s life – Camelia, Mademoiselle, and Paris – to name a few.  The shades come in one of four color families Roses-Pinks; Reds-Corals; Violets-Berries, and Neutrals-Browns and will be available in different global markets.

Like many Chanel cosmetics, the packaging takes it’s cue from Chanel’s history with black and gold detailing, interlocking C’s and the Chanel name embossed into each lipstick bullet.  The Rouge Coco collection debuts in March with each lipstick retailing for $30 at fine retailers including Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdales and Chanel.com.

Chanel is Bringing Lipstick Back: Introducing Rouge Coco Hydrating Creme Lip Colour

Chanel is Bringing Lipstick Back: Introducing Rouge Coco Hydrating Creme Lip Colour

Images & Info: WWD

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October 20, 2009

Chanel N˚5 – The Biography

Chanel N˚5

Chanel N˚5

Today, the most iconic fragrance of all time, Chanel N˚5 is seeing the release of an “authorized biography” – Histoire du No.5 Chanel, Un Numéro Intemporel (in English, Story of Chanel No.5, A Timeless Number).  The bio is written in French, by François Ternon, and is releasing today in France, Belgium and Switzerland.  The book takes us through the development of Chanel N˚5, and includes a discussion of the scent’s 2 creators Gabrielle Bonheur “Coco” Chanel and Ernest Beaux.  The best part?  The house of Chanel supplied 32 illustrated pages – I wonder if they include some of Coco’s original sketches?  No word yet on if, and when, this will release stateside so for now, I guess I’ll have to learn French!

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October 13, 2009

New Chanel Boutique on the Shanghai Horizon

Left: Rendering of the Chanel Shanghai Boutique (WWD); Right: Coco Chanel in her apartment with her beloved comorandel screens

Left: Rendering of the Chanel Shanghai Boutique (WWD); Right: Coco Chanel in her apartment with her beloved comorandel screens

Each year Chanel produces my favorite collection of the year – the “métiers d’art” collection – where Karl Lagerfeld takes on his magic carpet to the magical places that inspired Mlle. Chanel and whose ready-to-wear line features embellishments “with the couture ateliers Chanel owns.” Two years ago it was London, and last year it was Moscou. This year, the collection is called “Paris-Shanghai” and is, you guessed it, inspired by Shanghai, China. The collection will also include a short film directed by Uncle Karl himself.

To coincide with the collection, Chanel is opening a boutique in Shanghai on December 3, 2009. The boutique will be housed in the chic Peninsula Hotel on the riverfront and will be filled with commissioned art. French artist “Jean-Michel Othoniel, … created a giant, swirling strand of glass pearls, echoing the founding designer’s necklaces.”

Chanel to Open a Boutique in Shanghai

Chanel to Open a Boutique in Shanghai

The layout of the boutique, designed by architect Peter Marino, echoes Coco Chanel’s apartment on 31 Rue Cambon and will also include an “ultra luxe” salon (don’t worry, if you can’t make it to Shanghai, you can visit the Chanel Ultra Luxe Boutique in Las Vegas).

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September 30, 2009

“Coco Avant Chanel” Exclusive Box Set & “Mini Karl”

"Coco Avant Chanel" Exclusive Box Set at Colette

"Coco Avant Chanel" Exclusive Box Set at Colette

Coco Avant Chanel (Coco Before Chanel in the U.S.) finally hit stateside last week as it makes its way across the globe. You didn’t think that a film about one of France’s most celebrated icons would come and go without Colette doing something special did you?

"Coco Avant Chanel" Exclusive Box Set at Colette

"Coco Avant Chanel" Exclusive Box Set at Colette

To celebrate the release, Colette has put together a beautiful Coco Avant Chanel Exclusive Box Set with only 100 produced. The box itself is a hat box containing a boater hat from La Maison Michel, a limited edition picture of Gabrielle Chanel, a book of quotations from Coco Chanel, a dvd of the movie Coco Avant Chanel and a Blue Ray collector edition including a booklet depicting the making-of the movie. I want this now! The Coco Avant Chanel Box Set costs €150 and is available on the Colette web shop.

Mini Karl by Simone Legno

Mini Karl by Simone Legno

While you’re there, you’ll probably want to pick up your own “Mini Karl” – doesn’t every Chanel girl need one? Designed by Simone Legno, of Tokidoki fame, “Mini Karl” is almost adorable as the real thing. Mini Karl costs €129 and is available on the Colette web shop.

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August 19, 2009

Happy Birthday Mademoiselle Chanel!

Happy Birthday Mademoiselle Chanel

Happy Birthday Mademoiselle Chanel

Mademoiselle Chanel’s birthday is today, August 19th, and all the ladies (and gentleman) at M.I.S.S. wish Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel Joyeux Anniversaire.  She may not be here to celebrate herself, but we can commemorate her style and spirit.  Tonight I’ll be raising a glass of champagne to Coco and thanking her for all the beauty she bestowed upon us.  Joyeux Anniversaire Mademoiselle!

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Filed under: Chanel Culture — Tags: , , , , — Miss Interns @ 5:03 pm

August 14, 2009

“Coco Before Chanel” Review

"Coco Before Chanel" Official Poster & Movie Stills

"Coco Before Chanel" Official Poster & Movie Stills

My life is the story – often the tragedy – of a woman on her own, her miseries, her grandeur, her uneven and fascinating struggle against herself, against men, attractions, weaknesses, and dangers that arise from all sides.

-Gabrielle Coco Chanel

Coco Avant Chanel premiered in France earlier this year and now the eagerly anticipated Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel biopic is hitting stateside this Fall. In English speaking countries, the film is dubbed Coco Before Chanel, and like the title indicates, the feature focuses on the formative years that made Coco Chanel the fashion icon that she is today.

The movie opens up with Gabrielle Chanel being dropped off at an orphanage by her father – a glimpse into the sadness and betrayal that she felt from a very early age. Rather than knocking her down, young Gabrielle knew that the world had much to offer, and her resilience and cleverness made her successful, though the road to success was paved with obstacles.

I have always found Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel inspiring. Fashion influence aside, I am most impressed with what she was able to achieve in the time period that she lived. She was born in 1883, during the Belle Époque when corsets and show-piece hats ruled the day.  Your family determined your wealthy, social status and whom you could marry.  While men could make some efforts to advance through work, at this time, women of status didn’t work.  So what’s a girl to do? Chanel did not let her poverty get in her way.  Her fierce determination and ambition is what got her ahead – in a time when it was unheard of for women to do so – is what I find most inspiring about Mademoiselle Chanel.

Anne Fontaine, the director of the film,  does an excellent job of showing us that it was not an easy road to success.  By focusing on her early life and rise to fame, Fontaine helps us understand the woman behind the myth.  I think that the director herself is a woman helped bring a sensibility to the portrayal of Chanel’s life that I don’t think a man would have been able to grasp.  She elaborates, “It was not so much the fashion as the characteristics of this exceptional woman that interested me.  I had been particularly touched by the fact that she was a self-made person.”

Audrey Tautou plays Coco Chanel and I can’t think of anyone that would do the character more justice.  A French woman herself, Tautou transforms into Gabrielle Chanel and the resemblance is remarkable.  She breathes life into the designer at once being fragile and robust, vulnerable and determined.

“Coco Before Chanel” Movie Stills

“Coco Before Chanel” Movie Stills

And the costuming!  Coco Before Chanel was produced with Maison Chanel’s blessing and the company opened up its archives, the Chanel Conservatory, so that actual original pieces could be used in the final catwalk scene (that was filmed on the actual famous mirrored staircase).  In fact, she met with Karl Lagerfeld to go over sketches.  Regarding her experience designing the costumes for Coco Before Chanel, Catherine Letterier explained:

Chanel’s [style] is instantly recognizable.  What Karl Lagerfeld did in adapting the Chanel style to the future, I did backwards towards the past.  I went back in time, designing the first models that Chanel might have created and which could have fashioned her style.  The Chanel style is distinctive in its cut, the supple hang of its fabric and the perfect simplicity of its finish.  The costumes designed for the film had to be up to the exacting standards of haute couture.

Since Chanel started her career in fashion as a milliner, they brought on the best hat makers alive today – Stephen Jones and Pippa Cleator.  Coco Before Chanel definitely does not disappoint in bringing the spectacle of fashion in all of it’s glory from the extravagant gaudiness of the Belle Époque to the simplicity of French sailor shirts.

Though the fashion in the film is spot on, a lesson in fashion history it is not.  Letterier definitely took artistic license to the extent that the film showed certain looks and pieces well before they actually became part of the Chanel repertoire.  For examples, Chanel didn’t focus in on black as a main theme until after the death of Boy Capel in 1919.  Before then, black was predominantly worn for mourning.  When she invented “the little black” dress she was rumored to have said “I’m going to put the whole world in mourning for him.”  (Chanel: A Woman of Her Own, Axel Madsen) Little did she know she was starting a trend that still hold weight today.

The men’s French sailor shirt that she appropriates doesn’t actually happen until the 1930s.  The film ends with a fashion show that is essentially a “best of” collection of a lifetime of work.  The tweed box suits that figure so prominently didn’t actually come into existence (in that form/style/silhouette) until Chanel’s comeback collection in 1954.  However, the artistic license in not conforming to a strict fashion historical time line enhances the story.  Though not historically accurate, it’s a testament to the longevity of Mlle. Chanel’s career – spanning decades and trends – as if we are watching her entire career pass us by.  The final catwalk scene exemplifies the impact of Coco Chanel, and is so timeless and classic, it looks just as chic today as it did sixty-plus years ago.

There have been several films that have come before such as Chanel Solitaire and Coco Chanel, the Lifetime made-for-television movie – all of which interestingly focus on Chanel’s early life and rise to fame.  However, none come close to capturing the true essence of Mademoiselle Chanel the way Coco Before Chanel has.  The rare combination of an artistic screenplay, sensitive director and selfless actress have made Coco Before Chanel an excellent film. I will watch this repeatedly because in some way, it will be closest I can ever come to knowing Gabrielle Chanel.  Bring plenty of tissues – the story is inspiring but if I said I didn’t shed a tear I’d be lying.  The only downside to the film?  As a former smoker, watching Coco Before Chanel made me want to run out and smoke cigarettes as elegantly as only Coco Chanel could.

Coco Before Chanel premiers in NY an LA on September 25, 2009, and in the Bay Area on October 2, 2009.

Official Trailer:

Interview with Audrey Tautou:

Coco Before Chanel – Exclusive Audrey Tautou InterviewWatch the top videos of the week here

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April 22, 2009

Chanel Sponsors Tribeca Film Art Awards

Chanel Sponsors Tribeca Film Art Awards

Chanel Sponsors Tribeca Film Art Awards

Gabrielle Chanel is known for supporting the arts.  Her close circle of friends included Stravinsky, Picasso and Diaghilev – some of the most creative and talented minds of the time.  So, it should come as no surprise that the house of Chanel still cultivates the arts.  Last year, Chanel announced the Mobile Art Container by Zaha Hadid.  Unfortunately, the project came to a halt but Chanel’s support of the arts continues.  This year, Chanel is sponsoring the Tribeca Film Art Awards.

Each year, the Tribeca Film Festival asks 10 New York-based artists to create original works – each piece serves as a filmmaker prize, awarded to the Festival’s winning film directors.  During the festival, the original works are on display to the public.  The 10 artists selected are Fritz Chesnut, SunTek Chung, Stephen Hannock, Kalp Linzy, Robert Mangold, Sr., Clofford Ross, David Salle, Tom Slaughter, Hank Willis Thomas, and Mickalene Thomas.

The Art Awards are on display at the Chanel Soho Boutique until April 29th.

Chanel Soho
139 Spring Street
NY, NY

Monday – Saturday
11 AM to 7 PM

Sunday
12 PM to 6 PM

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