The Surprising Thing You Probably Didn't Know About Coco Chanel

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Courtesy of Chanel

There are a lot of things that come to mind when you think of Chanel: timeless handbags, cap-toe shoes, iconic perfumes. The legacy of Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel — also known as Coco Chanel, the founder and namesake of the French fashion house — is one that will go down in history as one of the greats. The designer has left her mark on nearly every corner of the world the fashion industry has touched — including film. And once you watch Chanel’s new video “Gabrielle Chanel and Cinema,” you’ll see just how deep her connection to cinema goes.

“Gabrielle Chanel and Cinema” offers a detailed look into the designer’s involvement with and influence on the entertainment industry. The short film highlights her time as a stylist and costume designer on films such as The Rules of the Game and Port of Shadows, using archive footage of Chanel at work. And though Chanel turned away from the Hollywood glamour of the American film industry, emerging French designers still looked to her designs to dress the women in their films. Eventually, the designer became a mentor, introducing directors to each other and spotting new talent to showcase her pieces like actresses Elizabeth Taylor, Jane Fonda, Romy Schneider, and Jeanne Moreau.

Chanel’s new video comes as the latest chapter of its video series, Inside Chanel, which takes a deep dive into the history and iconographies of its founder as well as the brand. “Gabrielle Chanel and Cinema” is the second installment of the section focusing on the designer’s relationship with the arts, following “Gabrielle Chanel and the Arts”. Other videos in the series will highlight Chanel’s involvement with dance, literature and poetry, and music.

Whether it’s in the form of costumes on the silver screen or as custom-made gowns for the red carpet, there’s no doubt Coco Chanel has left an imprint on the film industry — and she continues to do so as both cinema and fashion go on. From the French New Wave to avant-garde cinema and Hollywood’s golden age, Chanel’s timeless designs remain to be iconic parts of modern culture.

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