TV series retrace the fascinating personalities of the greatest couturiers

TV series retrace the fascinating personalities of the greatest couturiers

In the world of fashion, brands excel in the art of scripting the first steps and successes of their creator. Todd A. Kessler, the American director of the highly anticipated series The New Look, decided to “explore the stories hidden behind the stories”, to reveal human beings under the guise of celebrity. His careful fiction, inspired by real events, nourished by seven years of research, is anchored in 1943, in Paris, then under Nazi occupation.

Christian Dior and Coco Chanel (finely interpreted by the Australian Ben Mendelsohn and Juliette Binoche), but also Lucien Lelong, Pierre Balmain, Cristobal Balenciaga, are trying to survive. Creators take different attitudes towards the diet. “Addressing the activities of stylists at this time, in mainstream productions, is unprecedented. Generally, the fashion world sets Dior’s year zero as 1947, the year of its first collection under its name. And if there are nearly 80 books on Coco Chanel, only that of the American Hal Vaughan explores head-on her collaboration with leaders of the Third Reich. It remains taboo in this environment,” notes Lucas Delattre, professor at the Fashion Institute in Paris. For his part, The b delivers a gallery of complex characters, torn between their family, their past, their aspirations and, of course, struggling with their temperament.

At the heart of this terrifying period of which they do not know its duration or outcome, everyone must make ethical choices. If the elegant series Cristobal Balenciaga by the Spanish Lourdes Iglesias, and the dynamic documentary in four episodes Karl Lagerfeld – Revelation, by French artists Guillaume Perez, Anne-Solen Douguet and Aurélia Rouvier, shed light on the personality and careers of the couturiers, the shadow of Hitler still looms large. One having kept his fashion house open during the Occupation, the other having blurred his identity all his life, including his year of birth, 1933, as if to break all links with the dark times of his native Germany .

Unforgettable attires

Christine Cauquelin, director of documentaries at Canal +, explains: “Karl Lagerfeld always dreamed of a life other than his own. His lies allowed him to emancipate himself from his past and live a fantasy existence. » For her part, Lourdes Iglesias avoided neither the faults nor the rough edges of the “master”, brilliantly played by the Spaniard Alberto San Juan. “We didn’t want to make Balenciaga more affable just to bring him closer to the public. He was like that,” she said. The result is a radical character, discreet in the extreme, driven by excessive control and… exciting.

Lately, fictions around the creators have attracted attention (The House of Gucci, The Assassination of Gianni Versace …). But Christine Cauquelin assures her: this is not the fashion vein that her channel wanted to explore with this production, the fruit of two and a half years of work. “There is no good story without a good character,” she recalls. The enigmatic Lagerfeld, who “is not easy to get around”, ticked all the boxes. Like Dior, Chanel or Balenciaga, he had the trappings of an unforgettable figure. Beyond the smoothed image of the designers whose feats of arms the public knows, these series unravel their costume to reveal their humanity, as trivial as it is touching.

Similar Posts