coco chanel


  • Years later, Diana Vreeland, editor of Vogue, would insist that “the passionate, focused and fiercely-independent Chanel, a virtual tour de force,” and the Prince “had a great
    romantic moment together”.

  • Dincklage purportedly said, The Abwehr had first to bring to France a young Italian woman [Lombardi] Coco Chanel was attached to because of her lesbian vices …[8]: 163–64
    Unaware of the machinations of Schellenberg and Chanel, Lombardi was led to believe that the forthcoming journey to Spain would be a business trip exploring the potential for establishing Chanel couture in Madrid.

  • [24]: 95  Later, unhappy with the arrangement, Chanel worked for more than twenty years to gain full control of Parfums Chanel.

  • [34] The writer Colette, who moved in the same social circles as Chanel, provided a whimsical description of Chanel at work in her atelier, which appeared in Prisons et Paradis
    (1932): If every human face bears a resemblance to some animal, then Mademoiselle Chanel is a small black bull.

  • [21] In later years, Chanel reminisced of this time in her life: “two gentlemen were outbidding for my hot little body.

  • At the time of the French liberation in 1944, Chanel left a note in her store window explaining Chanel No.

  • Working as a spy, Chanel was directly involved in a plan for the Third Reich to take control of Madrid.

  • When the Nazi occupation of France began, Chanel decided to close her store, claiming a patriotic motivation behind such decision.

  • However, when she moved into the same Hotel Ritz that was housing the German military, her motivations became clear to many.

  • [4] Her couture house closed in 1939, when the German occupation of France during World War II began; Chanel stayed in France, and was criticized during the war for being
    too close to the German occupiers to boost her professional career; one of Chanel’s liaisons was with a German diplomat, Baron (Freiherr) Hans Günther von Dincklage.

  • [24]: 103  The couple spent time together at fashionable resorts such as Deauville, but despite Chanel’s hopes that they would settle together, Capel was never faithful to

  • [7] When the war ended, Chanel moved to Switzerland, returning to Paris in 1954 to revive her fashion house.

  • [37] World War II, specifically the Nazi seizure of all Jewish-owned property and business enterprises, provided Chanel with the opportunity to gain the full monetary fortune
    generated by Parfums Chanel and its most profitable product, Chanel No.

  • [15][16] Personal life and early career Aspirations for a stage career[edit] Having learned to sew during her six years at Aubazine, Chanel found employment as a seamstress.

  • [8]: 5  Later in life, Chanel would retell the story of her childhood somewhat differently; she would often include more glamorous accounts, which were generally untrue.

  • [32] During the summer, Chanel discovered that the Stravinsky family sought a place to live, having left the Russian Soviet Republic after the war.

  • [24]: 150 [33] During the period directly following the end of World War II, the business world watched with interest and some apprehension the ongoing legal wrestle for control
    of Parfums Chanel.

  • [24]: 150 [33] She wrote: I have an indisputable right of priority … the profits that I have received from my creations since the foundation of this business … are disproportionate
    … [and] you can help to repair in part the prejudices I have suffered in the course of these seventeen years.

  • In closing her couture house, Chanel made a definitive statement of her political views.

  • [40] World War II[edit] In 1939, at the beginning of World War II, Chanel closed her shops, maintaining her apartment situated above the couture house at 31 Rue de Cambon.

  • [8]: 80–81  According to Chandler Burr’s The Emperor of Scent, Luca Turin related an apocryphal story in circulation that Chanel was “called Coco because she threw the most
    fabulous cocaine parties in Paris”.

  • She said that it was not a time for fashion;[30] as a result of her action, 4,000 female employees lost their jobs.

  • A review of her correspondence reveals a complete contradiction between the clumsiness of Chanel the letter writer and the talent of Chanel as a composer of maxims … After
    correcting the handful of aphorisms that Chanel wrote about her métier, Reverdy added to this collection of “Chanelisms” a series of thoughts of a more general nature, some touching on life and taste, others on allure and love.

  • [9]: 14 [10] She was Jeanne’s second child with Albert Chanel; the first, Julia, had been born less than a year earlier.

  • She is the only fashion designer listed on Time magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century.

  • [33] In 1924, Chanel made an agreement with the Wertheimer brothers, Pierre and Paul, directors since 1917 of the eminent perfume and cosmetics house Bourjois.

  • While many women in France were punished for “horizontal collaboration” with German officers, Chanel faced no such action.

  • [8]: xix [5][6] In late 1943 or early 1944, Chanel and her SS superior, Schellenberg, who had a weakness for unconventional schemes,[5] devised a plan to get Britain to consider
    a separate peace to be negotiated by the SS.

  • They left the costumes in Europe and were re-made, according to Dali’s initial designs, by Karinska.

  • [8]: 101  Her biographer Hal Vaughan suggests that Chanel used the outbreak of war as an opportunity to retaliate against those workers who had struck for higher wages and
    shorter work hours in the French general labor strike of 1936.

  • After one year of operation, the business proved to be so lucrative that in 1916 Chanel was able to reimburse Capel’s original investment.

  • Interested parties in the proceedings were cognizant that Chanel’s Nazi affiliations during wartime, if made public knowledge, would seriously threaten the reputation and
    status of the Chanel brand.

  • Placement in the orphanage may have contributed to Chanel’s future career, as it was where she learned to sew.

  • Hollywood wants a lady to look like two ladies.

  • They had a romantic interlude, and maintained a close association for many years afterward.

  • [37] In 1943, Chanel travelled to the RSHA in Berlin—the “lion’s den”—with her liaison and “old friend”, the German Embassy in Paris press attaché Baron Hans Günther von Dincklage,
    a former Prussian Army officer and attorney general, who was also known as “Sparrow” among his friends and colleagues.

  • In addition, Pierre Wertheimer agreed to an unusual stipulation proposed by Chanel herself: Wertheimer agreed to pay all of Chanel’s living expenses—from the trivial to the
    large—for the rest of her life.

  • The New Yorker speculated that Chanel left Hollywood because “they told her her dresses weren’t sensational enough.

  • [11]: 42  Adrienne and Antoinette were recruited to model Chanel’s designs; on a daily basis the two women paraded through the town and on its boardwalks, advertising the
    Chanel creations.

  • Chanel introduced the left-wing Renoir to Luchino Visconti, aware that the shy Italian hoped to work in film.

  • Chanel immediately sought refuge in the deluxe Hotel Ritz, which was also used as the headquarters of the German military.

  • [38] Her experience with American moviemaking left Chanel with a dislike for Hollywood’s film business and a distaste for the film world’s culture, which she called “infantile”.

  • [9]: 306  Significant liaisons: Reverdy and Iribe[edit] Chanel was the mistress of some of the most influential men of her time, but she never married.

  • [45] Operation Modellhut[edit] In late 2014, French intelligence agencies declassified and released documents confirming Coco Chanel’s role with Germany in World War II.

  • She also claimed to have been born a decade later than 1883 and that her mother had died when she was much younger than 11.

  • [28] Twenty-five years after the event, Chanel, then residing in Switzerland, confided to her friend, Paul Morand, “His death was a terrible blow to me.

  • “[36] During Chanel’s affair with the Duke of Westminster in the 1930s, her style began to reflect her personal emotions.

  • However, due to Britain’s declaration of war on 3 September 1939, the ballet was forced to leave London.

  • Chanel had the dedicated support of two family members, her sister Antoinette, and her paternal aunt Adrienne, who was of a similar age.

  • [8]: 205–07  Suspicions of Coco Chanel’s involvement first began when German tanks entered Paris and began the Nazi occupation.

  • [29] As this location already housed an established clothing business, Chanel sold only her millinery creations at this address.

  • At age eighteen, Chanel, too old to remain at Aubazine, went to live in a boarding house for Catholic girls in the town of Moulins.

  • It was at this time that Gabrielle acquired the name “Coco” when she spent her nights singing in the cabaret, often the song, “Who Has Seen Coco?”

  • [37] After the liberation, she was known to have been interviewed in Paris by Malcolm Muggeridge, who at the time was an officer in British military intelligence, about her
    relationship with the Nazis during the occupation of France.

  • Forbes magazine summarized the dilemma faced by the Wertheimers: [it is Pierre Wertheimer’s worry] how “a legal fight might illuminate Chanel’s wartime activities and wreck
    her image—and his business.

  • For ten percent of the stock, Chanel licensed her name to Parfums Chanel and withdrew from involvement in business operations.

  • [8]: 78–79 [9]: 300  In 1936, one year after Le Témoin ceased publication, Chanel veered to the opposite end of the ideological continuum by financing Pierre Lestringuez’s
    radical left-wing magazine Futur.

  • [10] She said that when her mother died, her father sailed for America to seek his fortune, and she was sent to live with two aunts.

  • Her future share would be two percent of all Chanel No.

  • [11]: 49  Obliged to find employment, she took work at the Grande Grille, where as a donneuse d’eau she was one whose job was to dispense glasses of the purportedly curative
    mineral water for which Vichy was renowned.

  • She said that she had agreed to go to Hollywood to “see what the pictures have to offer me and what I have to offer the pictures.

  • Chanel’s designs for film stars in Hollywood were not successful and had not enhanced her reputation as expected.

  • [24]: 152–53  Chanel was not aware that the Wertheimers, anticipating the forthcoming Nazi mandates against Jews had, in May 1940, legally turned control of Parfums Chanel
    over to Félix Amiot, a Christian French businessman and industrialist.

  • Chanel’s youth and physical charms impressed those for whom she auditioned, but her singing voice was marginal and she failed to find stage work.

  • She often liked to say the nickname was given to her by her father.

  • Chanel built a villa here, which she called La Pausa[citation needed] (‘restful pause’), hiring the architect Robert Streitz.

  • [10] Albert Chanel was an itinerant street vendor who peddled work clothes and undergarments,[11]: 27  living a nomadic life, traveling to and from market towns.

  • One of the most prominent missions she was involved in was Operation Modellhut (“Operation Model Hat”).

  • One plan in late 1943 was for her to carry an SS peace overture to Churchill to end the war.

  • Gossip had it that he visited Chanel in her apartment and requested that she call him “David”, a privilege reserved only for his closest friends and family.


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Photo credit:’]