Shelved Dolls: Coco Chanel – Was She A Nazi?

But, no, there were actually other men, though Coco never obsessed too much over romance. One of my favorite quotes of hers is that “if [a man] is titled, rich, very rich, one becomes fair game, a quarry; a hare, a fox. Those English ladies are great hunters; they are forever hunting. I have never imagined thinking, here is a man I want; I’ll get him – where is my gun.”

Maybe that’s why she was so successful with men. Despite the fact that every movie depiction suggests she spent the rest of her life mourning Boy Capel . . . no, she didn’t. She did have this amusing caricature to remember their time together, though!

chanel capel

She had a ten year long (on again, off again) affair with “Bendor”, the 2nd Duke of Westminster beginning in 1925. He was said to have been one of the wealthiest men in the world. Clearly when you have really smart boater hats you do not need a gun.

And women! Chanel supposedly had lesbian affairs during her time in Hollywood when she designed costumes for MGM for 1 million dollars a year. That lifestyle was fairly accepted at the time, especially in Hollywood, among the Chanel-Cocteau crowd as were, apparently, “orgies and drug use”.

You know, every time I read about orgies being commonly accepted, I always think “How did that work? How were they organized?” I mean, we have all these organizational tools at our disposal – Facebook! Paperless Post! – but I have never once been invited to an orgy. How was seemingly every era prior to this one “all orgies all the time?” I think I’m at a pretty racy party if someone disappears into a bathroom for a while to give everyone the impression that they might be doing cocaine. If someone told me, “Last weekend I was at yet another orgy”, I would say, “No, you are lying, you were at home eating Cheez-its and watching Boardwalk Empire.” And I’d be right.

I think I’m suggesting that maybe . . . oh, there wasn’t any Boardwalk Empire then. Okay. I guess that’s why there were more orgies. (Fun fact – there were Cheez-its in 1921, though.)

However, through all the orgies and romances and Hollywood escapades, Coco was known to be very apolitical. The biographer Hal Vaughan remarked:

“Chanel didn’t believe in anything, except fashion. Chanel believed in beautiful clothes, she believed in her business and rightly so.”

Though all of that was about to change.

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    • Lastango

      “In one Iribe drew a naked Coco Chanel – meant to represent Marianne (a symbol of the French state) – being cradled by Hitler who is seemingly defending her from a group of Jews. So that is where Coco formed her political views. It is amazing that you could have these opinions and be open about them and still be part of polite society.”
      Actually, openly-expressed anti-Semitic views are de rigueur in Europe today. In the UK, a parliamentary inquiry found that:

      “Anti-Jewish themes and remarks are gaining acceptability in some quarters in public and private discourse in Britain and there is a danger that this trend will be come more and more mainstream… It is this phenomenon that has contributed to an atmosphere where Jews have become more anxious and more vulnerable to abuse and attack than at any other time for a generation of longer.”
      That’s expecially true in Europe’s upper crust:

    • fionarocks

      So disappointing to hear this. But great article! You’re right, she absolutely should have known better.

    • Deb

      An interesting read is the book “Hitler’s Willing Executioners”. Describes the pervasive antisemitism of not only Germany but the entire continent pretty much.

    • MR

      You know there were a lot fascists in France. The Nazis – after they defeated France in 1940 – formed a French government around them, called Vichy France. Churchill ended any threat it posed to Britain shortly after, in Oran, Algeria, when he ordered the destruction of the (now Vichy) French Navy. I guess Coco wasn’t as much a threat as of the French Navy falling into Nazi Germany’s hands, huh? Lucky for Coco. :)

    • kj

      Well, that’s depressing. At least I don’t have to feel as bad now about not liking her clothes…………

    • Natalie

      I think this is one of those situations that is similar to the founding fathers of America. They all owned salves. That was awful. Yet, we still like them and they still founded America. Not that it is excusable that they owned salves, but we can still like America.
      So we can still like her clothes. I guess.

      • Jennifer Wright

        I mean, I own some salves myself. My skin gets pretty dry in the winter.

      • Kokos

        Yeah,me to. Got to get some slaves to rub it on me,though.

      • jjj


    • Abvilian

      Coco was a British spy, which is well known and documented fact.

    • Kokos

      Still am amazed at the level of admiration uninformed,ignorant and in most cases,desperate left women have for this person. Ladies,grab your pen and notepad: Coce=junkie+golddigger+home-wrecker+nazi+perfume&some clothes. Cheers.

    • Sammy

      After the war, many French women who had been known to “consort” with German soldiers had their heads shaved publicly. Apparently some thought that this should happen to Chanel but Churchill intervened.

    • Clarisse Thorn

      When you’re in a social circle where orgies are common, they usually “just happen,” although sometimes they are explicitly and carefully planned. You know how sometimes you’re on a date and then one thing leads to another and you’re making out and then you both make a million tiny decisions that eventually lead to you leaping into bed naked together? And the next day you’re like, “What decision? it just happened!” even though there were actually a lot of decisions and usually at least one party put a lot of effort into making sex happen? Sometimes orgies happen like that, too.

      But sometimes they really are planned through Facebook events. If you aren’t getting enough Facebook orgies, maybe you should plan one. It’s surprisingly difficult but gets easier with practice.