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Among my favorite, bizarre revelations - Hitler planned to restore Nazi-loving King Edward VIII and his wife, Wallis Simpson, to the British throne when he conquered Britain.Hal Vaughan’s meticulously researched and documented book provides a view of the life of Gabrielle (Coco) Chanel.
Although long known that Coco Chanel lived through WWII in luxury with her German lover at the Paris Ritz and that Winston Churchill interceded on her behalf at the end of the war to protect her from prosecution as a collaborator, Vaughan's book researches recently de-classified documents that show Chanel was in fact an Abwehr agent recruited by the Nazis through her spymaster (and 13 years younger) lover, Baron von Dincklage.By the 1920s, Chanel employed more than two thousand people in her workrooms, and had amassed a personal fortune.But at the start of the Second World War, Chanel closed down her couture house Coco Chanel, high priestess of couture, created the look of the chic modern woman: her simple and elegant designs freed women from their corsets and inspired them to crop their hair.He traces her life from her early years as an abandoned child who was raised in an orphanage, to a life of luxury as the world famous designer of women’s haute couture clothing and perfume.But most intriguing is his documentation of her activities and associations during World War II in France.There's a billion names, and sometimes the author refers to someone by their full name, sometimes by their last name, sometimes by a nickname, sometimes by an alias - you need a chart.
WWI - WWII is an era full of big things happening and complicated intrigue, of course, but sheesh. She was a rabid anti-Semite even by those day's standards. She displayed many behaviors besides that that made me actively dislike her.
I unabashedly adore Chanel's clothes and I have a huge bottle of No. But if she was alive, benefiting from my money, would I buy her products? A very easy read (especially with the help of a narrator like Susan Denaker) detailing the life of Coco Chanel, one of the most famous designers in the world, especially during the WWII era, during which she was a Nazi sympathizer and collaborator.
It doesn't surprise me to learn that she did what she did in order to get by; we're talking about the rich and powerful, people who routinely rubbed shoulders with leading politicians and the like. My mind drew a A very easy read (especially with the help of a narrator like Susan Denaker) detailing the life of Coco Chanel, one of the most famous designers in the world, especially during the WWII era, during which she was a Nazi sympathizer and collaborator.
I could feel a little sympathy for her, in part - she had an awful childhood (that very likely contributed a great deal to her biases) and was used and underestimated by the men around her.
Out of necessity, she looked out for herself first and foremost. The book, for me, raised a question I often struggle with (Orson Scott Card, I'm looking at you): where do we separate the creator from the creation?
But at the start of the Second World War, Chanel closed down her couture house and went to live quietly at the Ritz, moving to Switzerland after the war.