Coco Chanel

It's a rainy morning on the outskirts of Paris, the sky as grey as the puddles of mud churned up outside a nondescript warehouse; but, inside, something magical is happening. Walk along several dark and grimy corridors, and suddenly you see a room inside a room – like a Chinese box or a conjuring trick – where light streams out of the windows into the cavernous gloom. Navigate a path through the cameramen and film crew, and you find yourself within the inner sanctum of Coco Chanel.
Or at least that's what it looks like on the set of Anne Fontaine's film, Coco Chanel, where an eerily accurate version of the designer's famous couture salon has been recreated down to the last detail, with a vase of white peonies on the glass-topped table, and the gleam of crystal chandeliers reflected in the mirrored walls.
An etiolated model glides across the room, wearing a silvery-grey ankle-length gown; another stalks past in an exquisite pale gold sequinned dress; and more costumes hang from a gilt clothes rail, swathed in white silk shrouds, like gossamer ghosts. And then you see her, Audrey Tautou, the star of the film; a tiny gamine, eyes as dark as her black bobbed hair, mouth slightly down-turned in a moue of disapproval, scissors in one hand, a cigarette in the other. 'Astonishing,' says a curator from the Chanel archive, who is working on the set today –part guardian to the precious vintage pieces that have been borrowed for the filming, and part adviser on period
detail. 'It's like seeing Mademoiselle Chanel in the flesh.'

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