Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel also known as Coco Chanel was born 19 August 1883 and died on 10 January 1971. Known the world over as a liberator of women’s fashion, breaking away from corsets and introducing a more casual elegance. Her double C logo is one of the world’s easiest identifiable logos, be it genuine or a knock off. The brand Chanel has expanded so much over the last 100 years, from fashion to parfums, handbags, accessories and more. The creative genius of Karl Lagerfeld has been at the helm for some time. Celebrities crave and clamor to own and represent the distinguished brand.
Yes, it seems that the Chanel brand is tops. The problem that I see however is when Chanel herself is brought in to the folds. A recent promotional ad released by Chanel depicts a selective history of the designer and raised her image as a remarkable person and human being. (Video below)
In reality, she was a horrible human being with no soul and only cared about money. In 1939, when World War II broke out, she closed all of her stores claiming that it was “not a time for fashion.” In reality, the workers that she employed were lobbying for a raise to a livable wage, and this was an easy way to fire them all and not worry about it. 4,000 employees were fired.
Her fragrance line had been owned by the Wertheimers and Chanel attempted to use the Nazi edicts in France to her gain. Nazi’s were stealing Jewish owned businesses and she wanted to appeal to the Nazis that she was Aryan and wanted her business back. “I have,” she wrote, “an indisputable right of priority … the profits that 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 these seventeen years.” You would think she couldn’t get to be any more of a miserable human being, but there’s more. The Wertheimers were lucky and intelligent enough to transfer all of their belongings to a christian businessman named Felix Amiot. He was not going to allow this detestable person try to steal what wasn’t hers, and monsieur Amiot protected the business and employees until the War was over and he could hand over control back to the Wertheimers.
During World War II, Chanel lived very comfortably at the Ritz in Paris. Here she was sleeping with at least one Nazi Officer. She even assisted Nazis with special tasks. While the people of France were being persecuted, tortured, & killed, she was dining with Nazis. While those brave souls who joined the French resistance to fight for those who couldn’t, she was dancing and laughing with Nazis. While Rose Valland risked her very life to ensure the Jewish families who lost everything would return to a few of their precious memories, Coco Chanel tried to profit from it by working with the Nazis.
You might be asking yourself, how in the world would she have been able to live so freely once the war was over? Good question! The reality of it is that there was not enough evidence to convict her and Churchill even made sure that she was protected. The Wertheimers did not want to let the world know about her Nazi relations as their business would have suffered. So, her secrets were tucked away. Please don’t forget though, Coco Chanel was a Nazi.
I really don’t care about the brand, it is a thriving business and employees many people. I do get upset however, when she is put on a pedestal and praised as a heroine.
I think that Chanel should remove their latest ad, and create one with higher standards.