It’s a mid summer evening in Soho Central London and the great and the good turn out to the London Premiere of Jan Kounen’s silver screen adaptation/biopic of famed volatile affair between revolutionary female fashion designer Coco Chanel(Anna Mouglalis) and seminal composer Igor Stravinsky (Mads Mikkelsen). Nods to Chanel were seen in the classic quilted handbags found on arms of gorgeous girls to simple monochrome tone outfits of elegant women.
The first 20 minutes of the film are arguably the best with a fantastic depiction of audience uproar at the opening night of Stravinsky’s ballet The Rite of Spring at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris, where it was shot on location. Traditional society first taste for future modern dance and music much to their dislike but Stravinsky’s vision captured the attention of ever forward thinking designer Coco Chanel. Noticing his disillusions and despairs due to finance and misunderstood talent, Coco offers a place to sleep, eat and work for his family.
When introducing the film Anna Mouglalis was drawing strong focus on the theme of the modern female throughout the film. I have to agree that although ‘Coco Chanel and Igor Stravinsky’ narrative relies on the doomed torrid affair of its title characters it’s essentially about the roles of contemporary females in the early 20th Century. Coco Chanel relies on her intuition whether it is moving her lover’s family into her home or the final chosen scent for Chanel No5, at times she pays the price for being headstrong and a perfectionist, but she understands that she owes her success to these traits.
Stravinsky struggles with his fleeting role as father and provider to his family in the face of money and success which Chanel possesses; bringing forth feelings of resentment to what initially attracted him to her. Katia Stravinsky the bed ridden dying devoted wife who is all seeing and knowing before the affair is even cemented, she copes well despite defeat asking only for the music to maintain centre focus and towards the end her character came across the most sympathetic, she is unsure of her place in her marriage as well as the evolving world around her.
Von Von Lamunu