There are some people in history that we automatically think of as being saints and incapable of doing any wrong. They’ve contributed to societies in countless ways for the better, but their dark and abusive pasts may have been brushed under history’s rug.
Gabrielle Bonheur "Coco" Chanel was a French fashion designer and businesswoman. She was responsible for so many fashion ideas and one of the most celebrated women in history.
She was a highly esteemed woman who for many represents a model of female independence, success and good taste. but she was a horrible person. Either people did not want to know or chose not to deal with it.
The founder and namesake of the Chanel brand, she was credited in the post-World War I era with popularizing a sporty, casual chic as the feminine standard of style, replacing the "corseted silhouette" that was dominant beforehand.
A prolific fashion creator, Chanel extended her influence beyond couture clothing, realizing her design aesthetic in jewellery, handbags, and fragrance. Her signature scent, Chanel No. 5, has become an iconic product. She is the only fashion designer listed on Time magazine's list of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century.
Chanel herself designed her famed interlocked-CC monogram, which has been in use since the 1920s.
Rumors arose about Chanel's activities during the German occupation of France during World War II, and she was criticized 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.
After the war, Chanel was interrogated about her relationship with von Dincklage, but she was not charged as a collaborator due to intervention by Churchill. After several post-war years in Switzerland, she returned to Paris and revived her fashion house.
In 2011, Hal Vaughan published a book about Chanel based on newly declassified documents, revealing that she had collaborated directly with the Nazi intelligence service, the Sicherheitsdienst. One plan in late 1943 was for her to carry an SS peace overture to British Prime Minister Winston Churchill to end the war.
The Chanel brand today bears almost none of the stigma assigned to other brands often associated with Nazi complicity as the young generation continue idolising and buying Chanel products. Coco Chanel is an icon, an idol in France never mind the details of her life, her anti-Semitism and her dealings with the Nazis.