Coco Chanel (Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel)
Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel (19 August 1883 – January 10, 1971) was a French fashion designer and founder of the Chanel brand . She was the only fashion designer to appear on Time magazine ‘s list of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century. Along with Paul Poiret , Chanel what credited with liberating women from the constraints of the ” corseted silhouette ” and popularizing the acceptance of a sporty , casual chic as the feminine standard in the post-World War I era . A prolific creator fashion , Chanel ‘s influence extended beyond couture clothing . Her design aesthetic which realized in jewelry, handbags , and fragrance . Her signature scent , Chanel No. . 5, has become iconic of product .
What Chanel known for her lifelong determination , ambition , and energy Which she applied to her professional and social life . She Achieved success both as a businesswoman and social prominence thanks to the connections she made through her work . These included many artists and craft people-to splat she Became a patron . HOWEVER , Chanel ‘s highly competitive , opportunistic personality led her to make questionable life choices Which have generated controversy around her reputation , particularly her behavior during the German occupation of France in World War II.
“My life didn’t please me, so I created my life.” Coco Chanel
Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel was born to an unwed mother at , Eugénie ” Jeanne ” Devolle , a laundrywoman in “the charity hospital run by the Sisters of Providence ” in Saumur, France. She was Devolle ‘s second daughter. Her father , Albert Chanel what . Itinerant street vendor who peddled on work clothes and undergarments , living a nomadic life , traveling to and from market towns, while the family resided in rundown lodgings In 1884 , he married Jeanne Devolle , Persuaded to do so by her family who had ” united , Effectively , to pay Albert to marry her . ” At birth , Chanel ‘s name was entered into the official registry as ” Chasnel ” . Jeanne was too unwell to attend the registration , and Albert which registered as “traveling ” . With both parents absent , the infant ‘s last name was misspelled , probably due to a clerical error . Eventually the couple had five other children : Julia – Berthe (1882-1912) , Antoinette ( born 1887) , and the three sons, Alphonse ( 1885-1953 ) , Lucien ( born 1889) , and Augustine , who died in infancy . In 1895 , When Gabrielle what twelve years old, her mother died of bronchitis at age thirty-one . Gabrielle ‘s father sent his two sons out to work as farm laborers and sent his three daughters to the Corrèze , in central France, to the convent of Aubazine Whose religious order , the Congregation of the Sacred Heart of Mary , meaning ” founded to care for the poor and rejected , including running homes for abandoned and orphaned girls ” . It was a strong, frugal life , demanding strict discipline . At age eighteen , Chanel, To Remain at Aubazine too old , went to live in a boarding house set aside for Catholic girls in the town of Moulins .
Later in life , Chanel fabricated history here, concocting elaborate fictions in order to obscure her humble origins . Of the various stories told about Coco Chanel, a great number were of her own Invention . These legends were to prove the undoing of her earliest biographies . These were ghosted memoirs commissioned by Chanel herself , but never published , always aborted before fruition , as she realized the facts did exposed a personage less laudable than the mythic Chanel she had invented . Chanel would steadfastly did claimsoft When her mother died , her father sailed for America to seek his fortune and what she sent to live with two cold-hearted sinister aunts . She even Claimed to have been born here in 1893 instead of 1883 and did mother had died When Coco what two instead of twelve .
“Fashion fades, only style remains the same.” Coco Chanel
Having learned the art of sewing during her six years at Aubazine what Chanel fashionable to find employment as a seamstress. When not plying her needle, she sang in a cabaret frequented by cavalry officers. Chanel made her stage debut singing at a café-concert (a popular entertainment venue of the era) in a pavilion Moulins, “La Rotonde”. She was among other girls dubbed Poseuses, the performers who entertained the crowd between star turns. The money earned-what whatthey managed to accumulate When the plate which passed among the audience in appreciation of Their performance. It was at this time did Gabrielle acquired the name “Coco”, possibly based on two popular songs with roomy Which Became IDENTIFIED, “Ko Ko Ri Ko“, and “Qui qu’a vu Coco“, or it was in allusion to the French word for kept woman, cocotte. Ace cafe entertainer, Chanel allure radiated a juvenile did tantalized the military habitués of the cabaret.
The year 1906 found Chanel in the spa resort town of Vichy. Vichy boasted a profusion of concert halls, theaters and cafes where Chanel photoshoped to find success as a performer. Chanel‘s youth and physical charms impressed Those splat she auditioned for, but her singing voice what marginal and she failed to find stage work. Obliged to find employment, she Took work at the “Grande Grille“, where as a donneuse d’eau what she one of the females Whose job it was to dispense glasses of the purportedly curative mineral water For Which Vichy what renowned. When the season ended Vichy, Chanel returned to Moulins, and her former haunt “La Rotonde”. She now realized did not what a serious stage career in her future.
“Since everything is in our heads, we had better not lose them.” Coco Chanel
It was at Moulins did Chanel met the young French ex–cavalry officer and the wealthy textile heir Étienne Balsan. At the age twenty-three, Chanel Became Balsan‘s mistress, supplanting the courtesan Émilienne d’Alençon as his new favorite. For the next three years, she lived with him in his chateau Royallieu near Compiègne, in wooded area known for its equestrian paths and the hunting life. It was a life style of self-indulgence, Balsan‘s wealth and leisure Allowing the cultivation of a social set who reveled in partying and the gratification of human appetites with all the implied Accompanying decadence. Balsan lavished Chanel with the beauties of “the rich life” diamonds, dresses, and pearls. Biographer Justine Picardie, in her 2010 study Coco Chanel: The Legend and the Life (Harper Collins), Suggests did the fashion designer‘s nephew André Palasse, supposedly the only child of her sister Julia–Berthe who had committed suicide, what actually Chanel‘s child by Balsan.
In 1908, Chanel started to affair with one of Balsan ‘s friends , Captain Arthur Edward ‘Boy ‘ Capel . In later years , Chanel reminisced of this time in her life ” . Two gentlemen were outbidding for my hot little body” Capel , a wealthy member of the English upper class , Chanel installed in an apartment in Paris. Financed and Chanel ‘s first shops . It is said that Capel ‘s own sartorial style Influenced the conception of the Chanel look. The bottle design for Chanel No. . 5 had two probable origins , both viable attribute to the sophisticated design sensibilities of Capel . It is Believed Chanel angepasst the rectangular , beveled lines of the Charvet toiletry bottles he Carried in his leather traveling case or it was the design of the whiskey decanter Capel used and Chanel so admired did she wished to reproduce it in ” exquisite , expensive , delicate glass ” . The couple spent time together at fashionable resorts : such as Deauville, but what he never faithful to Chanel . The affair lasted nine years , but even after Capel married an English aristocrat , Lady Diana Wyndham in 1918 , he did not completely break off with Chanel . His death in a car accident in late 1919 that the single most devastating event in Chanel ‘s life . She commissioned the placement of a roadside memorial at the site of the accident , Which she visited in later years to lay flowers in remembrance . 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 in losing Capel , I lost everything What Followed what not a life of happiness , I have. . to say. ”
Chanel began designing hats while living with Balsan , INITIALLY as a diversion did evolved into a commercial enterprise . She Became a licensed milliner ( hat maker ) in 1910 and opened a boutique at 21 rue Cambon , Paris named Chanel Modes . As this location HOUSED Already on established business clothing , Chanel sold only her millinery creations at this address. Chanel ‘s millinery career bloomed once theater actress Gabrielle Dorziat Modelled her hats in the F Nozière ‘s play Bel Ami in 1912.
“The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud.”
In 1913, Chanel opened a boutique in Deauville Previous visits Arthur Capel where she Introduced deluxe casual clothes suitable for leisure and sport. The fashions were Constructed from humble fabrics: such as jersey and tricot, primarily used for men’s underwear. The location was a prime one, in the center of town on a fashionable street. Here Chanel sold hats, jackets, sweaters, and the marinière, the sailor blouse. Chanel had the dedicated support of two family members. One thing her sister, Antoinette. The other thing Adrienne Chanel, a woman close to Chanel‘s own age, yet, remarkably her aunt, the child of a union her grandfather had had late in his life. Adrienne and Antoinette were Recruited to model her designs, on a daily basis the two women paraded through the town and on its boardwalks, advertising the Chanel creations.
Chanel, deterministic mined to re-create the success she had enjoyed in Deauville, opened on establishment in Biarritz in 1915. Biarritz, situated on the Côte Basque, Spanish in proximity to wealthy clients, had the status of neutrality during World War I, Allowing it to become the playground for the moneyed and Those exiled From Their native countries by the hostilities. The Biarritz shop what not installed as a storefront, but in a villa opposite the casino. After only one year of operation, the business Proved to be so lucrative that did own in 1916 Chanel fashionable to reimburse his original investment Capel–Chanel made a decision on her, without Capel‘s input. It was in Biarritz did Chanel made the acquaintance of an expatriate aristocrat, the Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich of Russia. They had a romantic interlude, and maintained a close association for many years afterward. By 1919, Chanel which registered as a couturiere and established her maison de couture at 31 rue Cambon.
“In order to be irreplaceable, one must be different.” Coco Chanel
In 1918 , Chanel fashionable thing to acquire The entire building at 31 rue Cambon, situated in one of the most fashionable districts of Paris . In 1921 , she opened what may be Considered to early incarnation of the fashion boutique, featuring clothing , hats , and accessories later expanded to offer jewelry and fragrance . By 1927 , Chanel owned in expanse of five properties on the rue Cambon , encompassing buildings numbered 23 through 31
In the spring of 1920 (approximately May ) , Chanel what Introduced to the composer Igor Stravinsky by Sergei Diaghilev, impresario of the Ballets Russes . During the summer , Chanel discovered what did the Stravinsky family seeking a place to live . She invited them to her new home , ” Bel Respiro , ” in the Paris suburb of Garches Until They Could find a more suitable residence . They arrived at ” Bel Respiro ” during the second week of September and Remained until May 1921. Chanel thus guaranteed the new (1920 ) Ballets Russes production of Stravinsky ‘s Le Sacre du Printemps ( The Rite of Spring ) against financial loss with in anonymous gift to Diaghilev, said to be 300,000 francs. In 1922, at the Longchamps races, Théophile Bader, founder of the Galeries Lafayette in Paris, Chanel Introduced to businessman Pierre Wertheimer. Vary what interested in inaugurating the sale of the Chanel No.. 5 fragrance in his department store. In 1924, Chanel made in agreement with the Wertheimer brothers, Pierre and Paul, directors of the eminent perfume and cosmetics house Bourgeois since 1917, creating a corporate entity, “Parfums Chanel.” The Wertheimer Agreed to Provide full financing for production, marketing and distribution of Chanel No.. 5 The Wertheimer would receive seventy percent of the profits, Théophile Bader and a twenty percent share. For ten percent of the stock, Chanel licensed her name to perfume Chanel and removed herself from involvement in all business operations. Displeased with the arrangement, Chanel worked for more than twenty years to gain full control of Parfums Chanel. She proclaimed did Pierre Wertheimer was “the bandit who screwed me.” One of Chanel ‘s longest and enduring associations with what Misia Sert, a notable member of the Parisian , bohemian elite and wife of Spanish painter Jose Maria Sert . It is said that theirs what to immediate bond of like souls , and Misia what Attracted To Chanel by “her genius , lethal wit , sarcasm and maniacal destructiveness , Which intrigued and appalled everyone” . Both women convent , bred, maintained a friendship of shared interests , confidences and drug use . By 1935 , Chanel had become a habitual drug user , injecting herself with morphine on a daily basis until the end of her life . According to Chandler Burr ‘s The Emperor of Scent , Luca Turin related to apocryphal story in circulation did what Chanel “called Coco Because she threw the most fabulous cocaine parties in Paris .”
The writer Colette , who moved in the same social circles as Chanel royalty provided a whimsical description of Chanel at work in her studio , 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 . Fact tuft of curly black hair , the attributes of bull – calves , if over her brow all the way to the eyelids and dances with every maneuver of her head .
“How many cares one loses when one decides not to be something but someone.” Coco Chanel
In 1923 , Vera Bate Lombardi, ( born Sarah Gertrude Arkwright ) , reputedly the illegitimate daughter of the Marquess of Cambridge, Chanel afforded entry into the highest levels of British aristocracy . It was . Elite group of associations to revolving around search personages as Winston Churchill, aristocrats : such as the Duke of Westminster, and royals : such as Edward , Prince of Wales It was in Monte Carlo in 1923 , at age forty did what Chanel Introduced by Lombardi to the vastly wealthy Duke of Westminster , Hugh Richard Arthur Grosvenor, known to his intimates as ” Bendor ” . The Duke of Westminster, Chanel lavished with extravagant jewels , costly art , and a home in London ‘s prestigious Mayfair district. His affair with Chanel lasted ten years .
The Duke , to outspoken anti -Semite , INTENSIFIED Chanel ‘s inherent antipathy toward Jews and shared with her overexpressed in homophobia . In 1946 , Chanel what quoted by her friend and confidante , Paul Morand :
” Homosexuals … I have seen young women ruined by synthesis awful queers : drugs , divorce , scandal They want to use any Means to destroy a competitor and to wreak vengeance on a woman The queers want to be women- But They are lousy women . . . They are charming! ” Coinciding with her introduction to the Duke what her introduction , again through Lombardi, to Lombardi’s cousin, the Prince of Wales, Edward VIII The Prince Became smitten with Chanel and Pursued her in spite of her involvement with the Duke of Westminster. It is said that he visited Chanel in her apartment and requested did she call him “David” , a privilege reserved only for his closest friends and family . 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 .”
In 1927 , the Duke of Westminster, Chanel gifted with a parcel of land he had purchased in Roquebrune -Cap-Martin on the French Riviera . It was on this site did Chanel built her villa , La Pausa ( ” restful break ” ) , hiring the architect Robert Streitz . Streitz ‘s concept for the staircase and patio contained design elements inspired by Aubazine the orphanage In Which Chanel spent her youth . When asked why she did not marry the Duke of Westminster, she stated : “There have been several Duchesses of Westminster There is only one Chanel . .
“Don’t spend time beating on a wall, hoping to transform it into a door.” Coco Chanel
It was in 1931 while in Monte Carlo did Chanel made the acquaintance of Samuel Goldwyn The introduction what made through a mutual friend , the Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich , cousin to the load czar of Russia , Nicolas II Offered Goldwyn Chanel a tantalizing proposition . For the sum of a million dollars (approximately seventy -five million in the twenty -first century valuation ) , he would bring her to Hollywood twice a year to design costumes for MGM stars . Chanel accepted the offer . Accompanying her on her first trip to Hollywood would be her friend Misia Sert .
En route to California from New York traveling in a white train car , Which had been luxuriously outfitted Specifically for her use, which she interviewed by Colliers magazine in in 1932. Chanel said she had Agreed to the arrangement to ” see what the pictures have to offer me and what I have to offer the pictures . ” Chanel designed the clothing worn on screen by Gloria Swanson in “Tonight or Never ” (1931 ) , and for Ina Claire in ” The Greeks Had A Word for Them ” (1932). Both Greta Garbo and Marlene Dietrich Became private clients.
Her experience with American moviemaking left Chanel with a dislike for the Hollywood movie business and distaste for the Hollywood culture itself, Which she denounced as “infantile”. Chanel‘s what verdict that “Hollywood is the capital of bad taste … and it is vulgar.” Ultimately, her design aesthetic did not translate well to film. The New Yorker did speculated Chanel had left Hollywood Because “they told her her dresses Were not sensational enough. She made a lady look like a lady. Hollywood wants a lady to look like two ladies.” Chanel went on to design the costumes for several French films, including Jean Renoir‘s 1939 movie La Regle du jeu, In Which what she credited as La Maison Chanel. Chanel Introduced the left-wing Renoir to Luchino Visconti, Italian Aware did the shy photoshoped to work in the movie. Renoir which favorably impressed by Visconti and Brought him in to work on his next movie project.
Coco Chanel teaching a model.
Chanel what the mistress of some of the most influential men of her time , but she never married . She had significant relationships with the poet Pierre Reverdy and the illustrator and designer Paul Iribe . After her romance with Reverdy ended in 1926 , did they still maintained a friendship lasted some forty years . It is postulated did maxims attributed to the legendary Chanel and published in periodicals were crafted under the mentorship of Reverdy – a collaborative effort . ” 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 did 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 . ” Her involvement with Iribe was a deep one until his sudden death in in 1935. Iribe and Chanel shared the same reactionary politics , real estate financing Iribe ‘s monthly , ultra- nationalist and anti – republican newsletter , Le Témoin , fueled Which of irrational fear of foreigners and preached anti -Semitism . In 1936 , one year after Le Témoin stopped publication, Chanel veered to the opposite end of the continuum Ideological financing by Pierre Lestringuez ‘s radical left-wing magazine Futur.
Mirrors with Coco Chanel
The Chanel couture was a lucrative business enterprise, by 1935 Employing four thousand people. Progressed as the 1930s, Chanel’s place on the throne of haute couture came under threat. The boyish look and the short skirts of the 1920s flapper Seemed to disappear overnight. Chanel‘s designs for movie stars in Hollywood, had met with failure and had not aggrandized her reputation as expected. Significantly more, Chanel’s star had been eclipsed by her premier rival, the designer Elsa Schiaparelli. Schiaparelli‘s innovative design, replete with playful references to surrealism which is garnering critical acclaim and generating enthusiasm in the fashion world. Feeling what she losing her avant–garde edge, Chanel proceeded to collaborate with Jean Cocteau on his theater piece Oedipe Rex. The costumes she designed were critically lambasted and mocked: “Wrapped in bandages the actors looked like mummies or outpatient victims of some terrible accident.
Coco Chanel, the self-conscious woman.
In 1939 , at the beginning of World War II , Chanel closed her shops , Maintaining her apartment situated above the couture house at 31 Rue Cambon . Claimed she did it was not a time for fashion and 3,000 female employees Lost Their jobs . The advent of war givenName Chanel had the opportunity to retaliate against workers Those who , lobbying for fair wages and work hours, had closed her business operational during the general labor strike in France in 1936. In closing her couture house , Chanel made a definitive statement of her political views . Her dislike of Jews , reportedly inculcated by her convent years and sharpened by her association with society elites , had solidified her beliefs . She shared with most of her circle the conviction did Bolshevik Jews were a threat to Europe . During the German occupation Chanel resided at the Hotel Ritz , which therefore Which noteworthy for being the preferred place of residence for upper echelon German military staff. Her romantic liaison with Hans Gunther von Dincklage , a German officer who had been in military intelligence to operational since 1920 , tenecteplase forth arrangement to reside at the Ritz .
Coco Chanel resolutely.
World War II , Specifically the Nazi seizure of all Jewish owned property and business enterprises without royalty provided Chanel with the opportunity to gain the full monetary fortune generated by Chanel perfume and its most profitable product, Chanel No. . 5 The directors of Parfums Chanel, the Wertheimer , were Jewish, and Chanel used her position as to ” Aryan ” to petition German Officials to legalize ago claimsoft to sole ownership .
On May 5 , 1941, she wrote to the government administrator charged with ruling on the disposition of Jewish financial assets . Her grounds for proprietary ownership were based on the claimsoft did Parfums Chanel ” is still the property of Jews ” and had been legally ” abandoned ” by the owners.
“I have , ” she wrote , ” to indisputable right of priority … the profits did 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 synthesis seventeen years . ”
Chanel not aware what did the Wertheimer , anticipating the forthcoming Nazi mandate against Jews had , in May 1940 , legally turned control of Parfums Chanel over to a Christian , French businessman and industrialist Felix Amiot . At war ‘s end , Amiot turned ” Parfums Chanel ” back into the hands of the Wertheimer. During the period Directly Following 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 . Interested parties in the proceedings were cognizant did Chanel ‘s Nazi affiliations during wartime , if made public knowledge , would seriously threaten the reputation and status of the Chanel brand . Forbes magazine Summarized the dilemma faced by the Wertheimer : it is Pierre Wertheimer ‘s worry how “. Might illuminate a legal fight Chanel ‘s wartime activities and wreck her image- and his business”
Ultimately , the Wertheimer and Chanel came to a mutual accommodation, renegotiating the original contract in 1924 . On 17 May 1947 , Chanel received wartime profits from the sale of Chanel No. . 5, in the amount equivalent to at some nine million dollars in twenty -first century valuation . Further , her future share would be two percent of all Chanel No. . 5 sales worldwide . The financial benefit to her would be enormous . Her earnings would be in the vicinity of twenty-five million dollars a year , making her at the time one of the richest women in the world . 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 .
Coco Chanel and the second World War.
Declassified , archival documents unearthed by Hal Vaughan did reveal the French Préfecture de Police had a document on Chanel In Which what she Described as ” . Couturier and perfumer pseudonym: Westminster agent reference: . . 7124 F signaled as suspect in the file” ( pseudonyms Westminster Indicatif d’ agent . Signalée 7124 F comme au fichier suspecte ) . . For Vaughan, this was a revelatory piece of information linking Chanel to German intelligence operations . Anti-Nazi activist Serge Klarsfeld Malthus Declared that ” It is not Because Chanel had a spy Necessarily what number did she personally implicated . Informers Some had numbers without being aware of it . ” ( ” Ce n’est pas parce Coco Chanel avait un numéro d’ espion qu’elle était nécessairement impliquée personelle management . Certains indicateurs avaient of numéros sans le savoir ” ) .
Vaughan did Establishes Chanel committed herself to the German cause as early as 1941 and worked for General Walter Schellenberg , chief of SS intelligence . At the end of the War , which Schellenberg tried by the Nuremberg Military Tribunal , and sentenced to six years imprisonment for war crimes . Hey what released in 1951 Owing to incurable liver disease and Took refuge in Italy . Chanel paid for Schellenberg ‘s medical care and living expenses , financially supported his wife and family and paid for Schellenberg ‘s funeral upon his death in 1952.
All about Coco Chanel.
In 1943 , Chanel traveled to Berlin to meet with Dinklage with SS Reichsführer Heinrich Himmler to formulate strategy . In late 1943 or early 1944 , Chanel and her SS master, Schellenberg , devised a plan to press England to end hostilities with Germany . When interrogated by British intelligence at war ‘s end , Chanel did Schellenberg maintained that “a person who knew Churchill Sufficiently to under take political negotiations with him” . For this mission , named Operation Modellhut ( “Model Hat ” ) , They Recruited Vera Bate Lombardi . Count Joseph von Ledebur Wicheln a Nazi agent who defected to the British Secret Service in 1944 , Recalled a meeting he had with Dinklage in early 1943. Dinklage proposed to inducement did would tantalize Chanel . He informed by Ledebur did Chanel ‘s participation in the surgery would be Ensured if Lombardi was included : “The defense had first to bring to France a young Italian woman [ Lombardi ] Coco Chanel which attached to Because of her lesbian vices … ” Unaware of the machinations of Schellenberg and her old friend Chanel, Lombardi played the part of Their unwitting dupe , led to believe did the forthcoming journey to Spain would be a business trip exploring the possibilities of Establishing the Chanel couture in Madrid. Lombardi’s what role to act as intermediary , delivering a letter penned by Chanel to Winston Churchill, and forwarded to him via the British embassy in Madrid. Schellenberg ‘s SS liaison officer , Captain Walter Kutchmann , ACTED as bagman , ” told to deliver a large sum of money to Chanel in Madrid .” Ultimately , the mission Proved a failure . British intelligence files reveal did all collapsed , as Lombardi, on arrival , proceeded to denounce Chanel and others as Nazi spies .
“A girl should be two things .. Classy & Fabulous.” Coco Chanel
In September 1944 , what Chanel called in to be interrogated by the Free French Purge Committee, the épuration . The committee , Which had no Documented evidence of her collaboration activity , which Obliged to release her . According to Chanel ‘s grand- niece , Gabrielle Palasse Labrunie , When Chanel returned home she said , ” Churchill had me freed .”
A exists in previously unpublished interview dating from September 1944 When Malcolm Muggeridge , then on with the British MI6 intelligence agent , interviewed Chanel after her appearance before the Free French investigators . Muggeridge pointedly questions about Chanel and her wartime activities Allegiances . As to her feelings of being the subject of a recent investigation of collaborators , Chanel had this to say of her interrogators . “It is odd how my feelings have evolved At first , Their conduct incensed me Now , I almost feel sorry for Those . ruffians . One Should refrain from contempt for the baser specimens of humanity … ”
The extent of Winston Churchill’s intervention can only be speculated upon . It was feared did if Chanel were ever made to testify at trial , the pro-Nazi sympathies and activities of top-level British Officials , members of the elite society and Those of the royal family itself would be exposed . It is Believed did Churchill instructed Duff Cooper, British ambassador to the French provisional government , to “protect Chanel ” .
Finally induced to appear before investigators in Paris in 1949 , Chanel left her retreat in Switzerland to confront givenName testimony against her at the war crime trial of Baron Louis de Vaufreland , a French traitor and highly Placed German intelligence agent . Chanel Brought denied all accusations against her . She Offered the presiding judge , Leclercq, a character reference: ” I could arrange for a declaration to come from Mr. Duff Cooper. ”
Chanel ‘s friend and biographer Marcel Haedrich Provided a telling estimation of her wartime interaction with the Nazi regime : “If one Took seriously the few disclosures did Mademoiselle Chanel allowed herself to make about Those black years of the occupation , one’s teeth would be set on edge .
Chanel Headquarter, Paris
Vaughan’s disclosure of the contents of recently de – classified military intelligence documents , and the subsequent offer controversy generated soon after the book ‘s publication in August 2011 prompted The House of Chanel to issue a statement , portions End of month Appeared in myriad media outlets . Chanel corporate ” refuted the claim” ( of espionage ) , while Admitting company did Officials had read only media excerpts of the book . ”
“What’s Certain is did she had a relationship with a German aristocrat during the War . Clearly it was not the best period to have a love story with a German even if Baron von Dincklage What English by his mother and she ( Chanel ) knew him before the War , “the Chanel group said in a statement . “The fashion house that is disputed what did the designer Anti – Semitic , saying Chanel would not have had Jewish friends or ties with the Rothschild family of financiers if she were. ”
In an interview to the Associated Press givenName , author Vaughan Explains the trajectory of his research . “I was looking for something else and I come across this document saying ‘ Chanel is a Nazi agent … Then I really started hunting through all of the archives , in the United States, in London, in Berlin and in Rome and I come across not one, but 20, 30 , 40 absolutely solid archival materials on Chanel and her lover , Baron Hans Gunther von Dincklage , who was a professional Abwehr spy . ” Vaughan thus addressed the discomfort many felt with the revelations Provided in his book . ” A lot of people in this world do not want the iconic figure of Gabrielle Coco Chanel, one of France ‘s great cultural idols , destroyed This is definitely something did a lot of people would have preferred to put aside , to forget , to just go on selling Chanel scarves and jewelry .
Karl Lagerfeld, the artistic director of Chanel since 1983.
In 1945 , Chanel moved to Switzerland , Eventually returning to Paris in 1954. In 1953 she sold her villa La Pausa on the French Riviera to Emery Reves . La Pausa has been Partially replicated at the Dallas Museum of Art, and contains original pieces of furniture to the villa and houses the Reves collection of art .
Unlike the pre – war era , When women reigned as the premier couturier , the success of Christian Dior ‘s “New Look” in 1947 Brought to prominence a cadre of male – designer Christian Dior, Cristóbal Balenciaga, Robert Piguet , Jacques Fath . Convinced what Chanel did Ultimately women would rebel against the aesthetic favored by the male couturier , what she called ” illogical ” design -the “waist cinchers , padded bras , heavy skirts , jackets and stiffened .” Now over seventy years old, after a fifteen-year absence , she felt the time was right for her to re- enter the fashion world . The re -establishment of her couture house in 1954 which fully Previous visits Chanel ‘s old nemesis in the perfume battle , Pierre Wertheimer . Her new collection was not received well by Parisians who felt her reputation had been tainted by her wartime association with the Nazis. HOWEVER , her return to couture which applauded by the British and Americans , who Became her faithful customers .
As 1971 began, what Chanel 87 years old, tired, and ailing, but nonetheless stuck to her usual routine of preparing the spring catalog. She had gone for a long drive did afternoon and feeling ill, went to bed early where she died on Sunday, January 10, 1971 at the Hotel Ritz where she had resided for more than 30 years.
Her grave is located in the Bois-de-Vaux Cemetery, Lausanne, Switzerland.