Coco Chanel- Starring Shirley Maclaine

I must admit, the fact that this movie aired originally on Lifetime shocked me after I watched it. I thought it was a wonderful movie and I really loved it–not the usual smut that Lifetime is often known for that can hook you in even though it is terrible. “Coco Chanel” features Shirley MacLaine as the “modern” Coco struggling to get out a new line in the 1940s  (I think that is correct) while flashing back on her life up until Chanel became an internationally renowned icon. Barbora Bobulova plays the young Coco and is just delightful–and headstrong–as a character.

Though I do not consider myself a fashionista, I have owned a Chanel perfume before and certainly recognize the trademark style. It was fascinating to watch her story develop and to realize that she really started with absolutely nothing beyond raw talent and determination. As an American, I love a good “pulled up by my bootstraps” story because it reminds me of the hope and promise that is still possible despite your circumstances.

The film also portrays the ways in which Chanel changed the way women wore clothes and introduced the idea of comfort and style coexisting. I can certainly thank her wholeheartedly for that. She believed that a woman should never dress for a man, but for herself and to be stylishly comfortable. She seemed to be a harbinger of women’s rights–sexually, culturally, and politically — without ever really intending to. She also, at least according to the biopic, invented the “little black dress.” I really had no idea.

It was fascinating to watch her pick her style, to design her logo, and to select the infamous Chanel No. 5 perfume that I actually have in my bedroom right now. What an immeasurable impact she had on our culture–it was truly fascinating to see.

This was a surprisingly great film and I think most women, particularly those who are interested in fashion, will also enjoy it.


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