Famous for her trademark petite black dress, elegant suits, and the infamous Chanel No. 5, the world-renowned fashion icon Coco Chanel is arguably the most influential fashion designer that has ever lived. Her brilliant designs and ideas built one of the world’s most sought after brands when it comes to haute couture.
But would you believe that Coco Chanel has worked as a secret agent for the Nazis at some point in World War II? Apparently, she did according to some of the French government’s declassified documents.
How she entered the fashion industry and the military
Born to an underprivileged family in 1883 and placed to the care of a children’s home when she was 12 years old, Chanel managed to overcome all the challenges before her. She started making her exemplary women’s wear by World War I. Since then, she became very popular and has gathered loyal patronage from Europe’s most affluent and prominent people. Some of her acquaintances and connections include Pablo Picasso, Winston Churchill, Serge Diaghilev, and the Duke of Westminster’s lover.
It was her prominence and connections that helped her stand up on her own again during that critical time. It was also that time when Adolf Hitler is starting to form his forces by the late 1930s. As soon as the Nazis infiltrated Paris in 1940, Chanel dated Baron Hans Günther von Dincklage. Dincklage was an officer in the German army intel agency called Abwehr. This allowed Chanel to live comfortably at the Hotel Ritz, while still retaining her elite status.
How she turns out to be a secret agent
Chanel’s lover introduced her to one of Abwehr’s finest agents, Baron Louis de Vaufreland. Vaufreland was said to make a promise to her that her nephew, Andre Palasse, would be freed. However, Chanel should serve Berlin. That is why in 1941, Chanel was registered as Agent F-7124 while using “Westminster” as her alias.
As an undercover agent, she was tasked to gather “political information” from comrades in Madrid. She went to the Spanish capital for a couple of months in the middle of 1941. Together with Vaufreland, they pretended to do some corporate deals. It is uncertain if Chanel’s actions in Madrid became a success, but it was enough to impress the Abwehr officials, releasing her nephew.
The stylist turned secret informant tried to do one more mission. However, her cover was blown during that final mission. She appeared in a French court because of that. However, she managed to escape from trouble and even get rid of some evidence of what she has done. After her stance as a secret agent, she returned to the world of fashion in 1954. She remained in the industry of fashion designing and brought Chanel into the world’s most prominent fashion brands until she passed away in 1971.