“Coco Avant Chanel (Before Coco Chanel)” is the story of the early life of french fashion icon Chanel. Her childhood was hard – at just 7 or 8 years old, Gabrielle (played by Audrey Tautou) and her sister Adrienne, (by Marie Gillain) were left by their father at an orphanage and she spent years waiting for a weekend visit from him that never came. Fifteen years later the sisters are both seamstresses by day and cabaret performers at night. Gabrielle’s life is a series of fortunate coincidences which sees her taken in by rich and eccentric Lord Etienne Balsan (by Benoit Poelvoorde) with whom she has a relationship. Gradually the balance between cabaret work and hand-sewing changes in favour of fashion creation. She also starts to develop her preferred and classic sense of style and dress. She becomes involved in her second serious relationship, with Arthur ‘Boy’ Capel (by Allessandro Nivola), and her life is then punctuated by the influence of these two men. Throughout, she stops performing cabaret, changes locations, develops her design skills and builds fashion notoriety with the French women of society. During this period, she also evolves from the hard-luck Gabrielle into Coco – the fashion icon. As a woman, Coco is depicted as unconventional, even flighty or erratic and it seems there was very little joy in her life. It is fascinating to understand her metamorphosis and realise the impact this woman had on the world of fashion.