A little girl in the middle of France is put in an orphanage with her sister. She waits in vain every Sunday for her father to come and get her. She becomes a café singer, with a weak voice, who puts up each night with an audience of drunken soldiers. Next she's a little seamstress destined to fix hems in the back of a provincial tailor's shop. From there she becomes a trainee courtesan, her body too thin, who finds refuge with her protector Etienne Balsan, among the other women plying her trade and all the revellers. She's a lover who knows that she'll be "no one's wife," not even Boy Capel's, the man who loves her as much as she loves him. She's a rebel whom the conventions of the time prevent from breathing, and who dresses in her lovers' shirts. This is the story of Coco Chanel, who embodied the modern woman before inventing her.