Exploring a Cultural Text – Coco mademoiselle Chanel – The Film 2011


Kiera Knightly – Coco mademoiselle Chanel 2014

This cultural text can be analysed from many different angles, I have chosen to explore how the woman protagonist is portrayed as a sexualised character seducing the other male characters. Perfume adverts seen today, for example, 2014 ‘You’re the one I want’ by Chanel and 2014 ‘Euphoria’ by Calvin Klein’ have a lot of power content and references that shows the consumer how, when you buy this ‘perfume’, you become invincible. This could also be seen as this is the only way women, or men, can become ‘powerful’.

The perfume ‘Coco mademoiselle’ was first released in 2001 for younger Chanel consumers. The 2011 advert, staring Keira Knightly shows a day in the life of a young model waking up to Coco mademoiselle and needing that to start her day. The main protagonist is dressed in a tight, beige biker suit, riding a matching motorbike. Her pose is very provocative on the motorbike giving a stereotypical image of a beautiful woman. The colour of the bike gear also gives a seductive air as it suggests she is wearing little clothes. This compared to the three men wearing black bike suits, who catch up with her at the traffic lights, gives the impression the main character is forever being looked at and followed. This thought of a woman being watched by a male gaze is similar to the quote ‘spectator is always assumed to be male and the image of woman is designed to flatter him’ by John Berger, Ways of Seeing 1972.

The male gaze is seen again when the protagonist arrives at her destination and is received by a male photographer on a scene of a bedroom photo-shoot. This has been criticised as being ‘overly sexual’ Lisa Niven, Vogue 2013 and should be banned from playing on television during Children’s programming. The argument against this was the actress was being ‘playful and sensual’ and the photographer was only ‘helping the actress remove her boots’ Chanel, 2013.

The soundtrack to the film, ‘It’s a man’s, man’s, man’s world’ by James Brown performed by Joss stone, enhances my view on the film being shot in a ‘man’s world’ and how a woman needs to be provocative to have power, as seen in the last scene, the actress seduces the male then leaves.


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