Smoking In Bed Is BADCoco Avant (Before) Chanel is not an arthouse movie. Its FRENCH. Its a very pretty period piece which purports to tell the tale of Coco Chanel up until the bit where she started designing clothes, ie before the INTERESTING bit of her life. Even the title is stupid. Coco Before Chanel is thoroughly incorrect, Audrey “Mr Bean” Tattou plays Gabrielle Chanel fiestily as Gabrielle, slowly gaining the Coco nickname. It should be called Chanel Before Coco.

Nevertheless we are not here to look at the films merits as a very pretty but somewhat shallow and nearly dull puff piece about a Nazi appeaser before she became a Nazi appeaser. I am not even going to judge it on it fashion chops, though frankly throwing off a corset and making a few straw hats seems an odd apprenticeship into fashion goddesshood. Instead I want to contrast the business acumen as displayed in this film compared to GI Joe and Moon. What, of course, Coco Before Chanel has going for it is that it is based on a true story which we know the business plan did work out. Chanel is still a rather successful fashion and perfume house, based on the wise business plan as espoused in the film. Which is basically play two rich blokes off of each other, then get them to help fund your hatmaking business.

There is a problem with this business plan, firstly in a Dragon’s Den self help way, and secondly in the themes of the movie. Sorry kids, if you strawberry picker cum backscratcher is really going to take off, just moving into a rich French blokes house is probably not going to work for you. Indeed following the Chanel playbook seems highly risky, bearing in mind it also seems to involve overstaying your welcome, sulking and being rude to your sugar daddy A LOT! And then skipping off with another bloke no matter how much he breaks your heart. It recomends Coco’s getupandgo that she manages to go from orphan to this position, but not in a way that is going to help any budding entrepreneur. However the biggest problem is that Coco Before Chanel tries to suggest that as a woman who built a successful business she was the first truly modern woman, breaking the mold. Which is quite possibly true, but not the conclusion you would get from the film since it seems to suggest her business only takes off when her boyfriend dies in a car accident. Robbed of a happy relationship she becomes weirdo business lady. So well done in showing how a successful business can be run in a film, albeit with somewhat hard to emulate start up cash. But X “See me” re yr feminist credentials. If Coco Chanel is an iconic female figure, then lets see her when she was doing what she was famous for.