Film & Fashion: Coco Before Chanel
AT: I think it was determinative in her life. He might be the one who revealed to her that her singularity was a strength, and that she had this talent and she had to be confident with it and trust it. He was the first man—and that's important, because then, without a man, a woman was nothing—to consider her. And financially, he invested in her—he gave her some money to get started—which was very important. You can imagine that if he had married her—because she would have loved to marry him—we don't know if she would have worked and been creative. She said that when she was in love, she really didn't want to go to work. It was something very—not boring, but she didn't have the same passion for it. She was a real lover, in a way. So it's incredible to realize that her destiny was on such a thin thread. Life is always like that with amazing destiny.
Q: Early in the film, Chanel is disdainful of love, saying, "A woman in love is helpless like a baying dog." Would she say that later on in the story, after she meets Boy Capel?
AF: It's ironic, no? She's a whore [when she says that]. She knows that her mother always suffered because her father was awful—drunk, with other women. ... So she saw an image of woman like this—alienated—and of course she was afraid to fall in love because she was afraid to lose control. But she loved Boy Capel, because he believed in her before she believed in herself. And after he died, of course she had many other lovers, but the first one as you know is the strongest in the construction of a life, and she felt very lonely. All her life, she never married or had children—she had a complex relationship with love. She was very lonely by the end of her life. She wanted to control everything; she was a control freak—and [I wonder how] she managed to have an interior life. Was she happy sometimes? I am not sure she was very happy.