Fremantle and WhyNow unravel the story of fashion pioneer Coco Chanel

Fremantle and WhyNow unravel the story of fashion pioneer Coco Chanel
Fremantle has acquired the global distribution rights to Coco Chanel, the truly radical story of a woman who turned fashion on its head. The feature documentary from WhyNow Productions, founded by Gabriel Jagger, details how Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel, the original influencer, started her own couture business at the turn of the 20th century and changed how women dressed for the modern world. Coco Chanel will air on BBC Two and BBC iPlayer as part of the flagship Arena strand in the UK later this year.

Céire Clark, Senior Acquisitions Manager, International at Fremantle, said: “It’s a pleasure to share the story of this subversive entrepreneur and bold pioneer to a global audience. WhyNow have been a brilliant partner on Coco Chanel, their unique flare and eye for a compelling story make this an unmissable watch. The life of Chanel is mysterious and fascinating; she became one of the richest women in the world before women in France even had the right to vote, which fits perfectly with the powerful stories we love to tell here at Fremantle.”

Hannah Berryman, Director and Producer of the film for WhyNow, said: “Chanel is probably the most legendary designer of all time, yet there has never been a feature documentary dedicated to her. It has been thrilling to delve into her fascinating and sometimes controversial life and see how her life experience is at every turn present in her work”.

Gabrielle 'Coco' Chanel transformed women's fashion, a truly revolutionary designer whose influence is still evident today. Her designs called into question the role of women, sex and power, and ignited a whole new way of dressing. Yet her life remains shrouded in mystery.
Born into a rural peasant background in the 19th century and brought up in an orphanage run by nuns, Chanel went on to become one of the wealthiest women of her age, through a combination of grit, graft and talent, arguably becoming the first influencer ever. She defied convention in her wardrobe and her personal life, notorious for the string of glamorous lovers and yet wary of telling her story.

Interweaving her improbable and often scandalous life and loves with her innovative, paradigm-shifting fashions, this stylish documentary uses lavish archive material and compelling interviews to tell the story of a genuine revolutionary and, still today, a style icon.

Coco Chanel is a WhyNow Production, produced and directed by Hannah Berryman. Janet Lee is executive producer. The project was commissioned for BBC Arts and BBC Two and iPlayer by Mark Bell, Commissioning Editor Arena. Fremantle is handling the global distribution for the documentary.

The announcement follows news that Fremantle is also handling global distribution for blue-chip series Whale with Steve Backshall (True To Nature, Sky Studios), Islands: Nature’s Wild Laboratories (Wall to Wall Media), both airing on Sky Nature (UK) later in the year – and the landmark documentary series Evacuation (Wonderhood Studios), coming soon to British network Channel 4.