Perhaps Lagerfeld’s greatest service to the Chanel brand was his ability to erase its negative associations, including the founder’s anti-Semitism.
Experience with an anti-Semitic high school bully wound up making her a better leader.
In her new book, “The Secret of Chanel No. 5: The Intimate History of the World’s Most Famous Perfume,” Tilar Mazzeo reveals the complicated — and often scandalous — history of the world’s bestselling perfume. Mazzeo looks at the psychology and physiology of scent, how Coco Chanel’s personal experiences made their way into the fragrance, and the perfume’s unlikely success during WWII, when production was moved to New Jersey, thanks to a deal with the Jewish Wertheimer family. The Sisterhood spoke recently with Mazzeo about her book, how the famous fragrance paved the way for the celebrity scent boom of the last decade, and Chanel’s not so subtle Jewish problem.
The designer Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel had a well-documented affair with the Nazi officer Hans Gunther von Dincklage, with whom she lived at Paris’s Ritz hotel throughout the German occupation of France. But you wouldn’t know that from watching the new biopic “Coco Before Chanel” (French-language trailer below), which portrays Mme. Chanel as an up-by-her-two-toned-ballet-flats heroine — and leaves out her wartime whereabouts altogether.