She once famously quipped that the best roles for actresses were either hookers, victims, or doormats, so Shirley MacLaine must have been pleased when Lifetime offered her the chance to play a woman who was none of the above: fashion icon Coco Chanel.
The design pioneer behind the Chanel cardigan jacket, Chanel No. 5 perfume, and the “little black dress,” among many others, Coco revolutionized fashion for women in the early 20th century, doing away with corsets and ornate clothing in favor of what has been popularly described as “expensive simplicity.” Her hot streak was interrupted by World War II, when the German occupation of France disconnected Paris from the rest of the world; it also led to her affair with a Nazi officer, which resulted in a post-war fall from grace for Chanel.
It’s this part of the story that the two-part Lifetime miniseries will focus on; specifically, Chanel’s reinvention — and subsequent comeback — in the 1950s, when Coco was in her 60s. As director Christian Duguay tells Variety:
“We’ve worked hard with it, and turned it into something that is meaningful and worth making an event miniseries. There’s no point in doing it if it won’t educate people and entertain, but in an original way. It’s a love story, it’s a rags-to-riches story, it has some strong social statements about women and about how the world has changed.”
Duguay, who is directing from a script by Enrico Medioli, says Chanel’s Karl Lagerfeld has given his blessing to the project, and the design label is working with the production. The miniseries is scheduled to air at some point in 2008.