Time for some hot gossip from the 1940s, everybody! Twentieth-century fashion designer and 21st-century movie subject Coco Chanel was an anti-Semite who "dabbled in Nazi foreign policy" and also dabbled in sexual relations with Nazis, says a new book about her.
Written by Paris-based author and American expat Hal Vaughan, Sleeping With the Enemy: Coco Chanel's Secret War (Random House) focuses on Chanel's "long-whispered collaboration" with Nazis during World War II, including her membership and participation in the Abwehr—a Nazi military intelligence organization. The book claims that she became "fiercely" anti-Semitic well before the Nazis rose to power, and that she also hated "trade unions, socialism, Freemasons, and communism." As such, she tended to choose boyfriends who shared her beliefs, such as the Duke of Westminster—known for naming his dog "Jew", among other unlikable things. Chanel even went by the code name "Westminster" for a while, which, if you overlook that her boyfriend was a terrible person, is sweet in its way.
Vaughan's book also discusses another Coco Chanel boyfriend, Baron Hans Günther von Dincklage—who supposedly came off as an "an innocuous, English-speaking tennis player, playboy, and harmless dupe," but was actually a Nazi agent lauded by Adolf Hitler and Joseph Goebbels. Hmmm, Dincklage sounds like a gross bodily fluid—as in, "They took poor Uncle Charlie to the hospital yesterday so he could have that cyst removed, and there was some dincklage, but now he's recuperating and should be fine." Anyway: after the war, she and Dincklage had to run off to Switzerland for a few years in a sort of "exile," but then she went back to Paris at age 70 and revamped her personal brand to become a successful fashion person. And that's the Coco Chanel success story, the end.