Undercover Coco

When I first read that French iconic designer Coco Chanel was romantically involved with Nazi party, I credited her for being courageously mischievous and a high-class woman with a scandalous surprise. A new book by Hal Vaughn Sleeping with the Enemy: Coco Chanel’s Secret War was released Tuesday August 16th. An expansion on this facet of Chanel’s life sheds new light on the beloved designer as more tangled up with the anti-Semitic organization than previously believed. Her lover was Baron Hans Günther von Dincklage, a Nazi master spy, who is often portrayed as a “innocuous, English-speaking tennis player, playboy, and harmless dupe—a loyal German soldier and diplomat serving his mother country and not a member of the Nazi party” in other Chanel biographies. The truth is, Chanel and her lover guiltily escaped to Switzerland after the war, and she had been recruited to the Abwehr military intelligence organization. The French courts never found her guilty of espionage and Chanel was able to return to Paris and and reconstruct  the House of Chanel as a revolutionary fashion designer. Ignorance is bliss, but the world deserves to know the truth about Coco. Women still wear her clothes and cherish her memory– is there an ethical step to take now to disassociate with the brand? Lady Gaga recently ended Target’s exclusive rights to selling her album after discovering their contributions to a Minnesota group backing a candidate who opposes gay marriage. While her decision is debated, she certainly raised awareness for same sex marriage as a public figure. Coco Chanel has been dead for decades– so what could be done now? Do we burn our vintage tweed dress suits in protest? Despite these new findings andretaliations, Coco’s posthumous controversy has only made her fashion empire more powerful and popular than ever.

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