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Atlanta Ballet’s Coco Chanel: Where Couture Meets Controversy

Atlanta Ballet’s Coco Chanel: Where Couture Meets Controversy

Atlanta Ballet: Coco Chanel

Atlanta Ballet’s latest production, “Coco Chanel: The Life of a Fashion Icon,” grips you from the very beginning, as it delves into the complicated and inspiring success story of the sartorial legend herself. From the minimalist yet significant set design to the thought-provoking wardrobe, Chanel’s influence was immortalized in every little detail of this two-act show.

Belgian-Colombian Choreographer Annabelle Lopez Ochoa’s original narrative ballet premiered February 9 at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center. On opening weekend, attendees could be seen donning their favorite Chanel (and Chanel-adjacent) pieces, with even some young children dressed head-to-toe in the fashion house’s early designs.

Ochoa’s story was inspired by the real-life events and people that helped shape the young designer’s future, as well as some dramatized and fictionalized details. The audience watched along as Shadow Chanel guided her younger self through decades of love affairs, the invention of her groundbreaking Chanel No. 5 perfume, a Parisian exile and the overall rise of the House of Chanel from the ground up.

For those unfamiliar with the deep history behind Chanel, the Parisian fashion house is known for breaking the barriers of the fashion industry by experimenting with typically masculine styles made into elegant and functional couture for women, much like the revolutionary Chanel Suit. Chanel was known for creating some of the most famous silhouettes in Europe at the time, something that was later modernized in Karl Lagerfeld’s Fall 1991 collection, when he acted as the brand’s creative director.

Photo courtesy of Tony Luk – Hong Kong Ballet

Best Self had the pleasure of attending the preview party where we stole a rare peak of the ballerinas in their never before seen Chanel-inspired costumes. Set and costume designer Jérôme Kaplan evokes the essence of the infamous double C logo as well as the original Chanel No. 5 perfume both in the circular winding staircases and the time-accurate costumes sprinkled through the different phases of Chanel’s life. Kaplan specifically wanted not to recreate Chanel’s looks, but design costumes that elicit the same feeling as her clothing. “I wanted to create something timeless, something that will last for many years to come,” he shared.


Read more about the synopsis here.

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