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Audrey Tautou stars as Coco, becomes new face for Chanel

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Opening tonight at the Ragtag is a French film on the early life of Coco Chanel, probably the most well-recognized fashion designers of the 20th century.

Amélie star and most recent Chanel face, Audrey Tautou, plays the young designer before she achieved fame in Coco Avant Chanel.

Chanel created a name and style for herself by wearing and creating clothes that were dark, chic and not filled with flowers or frills. She is now seen as an early feminist, creating clothes for a more modern and on-the-go woman.

Born into poverty and trained as a seamstress, the young Chanel began work at a small tailor shop. While there, she met and became the mistress of a French millionaire, Étienne Balsan, who showered her with money and gifts.

Chanel soon left Balsan for Paris, where she opened her first fashion boutique. At first, this shop failed. Yet, the young Chanel kept sewing her unique and contemprary designs–with a new lover, Balsan’s former best friend, she was able to open another shop in Brittany, France.

Actresses, then aristocracy, began wearing her designs. Soon, the name Chanel became famous, forever holding connotations of style and modernity.

There is hardly an actress more qualified to play the young Chanel than Tautou. The actress, who is well-loved in both Europe and the States for her quirky look and understated (yet skilled) acting, even looks quite similar to the French icon during her early life.

In an interview, director Anne Fontaine told BrightestYoungThings that Tautou was her first and foremost choice to play the role: “I don’t think another French actress could do the part…at this age. Later, it’s another thing.”

Coco Avant Chanel runs at the Ragtag tonight through Thursday, November 19. Tonight the show begins at 6:45 p.m. The film is in French with English subtitles.

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Written by Katie Davis

November 9, 2009 at 7:18 pm

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