Previously unseen documents to go on display at V&A alongside evidence of her collusion with Nazis. A major retrospective of Coco Chanel has unearthed evidence that the fashion designer was a documented member of the French resistance. The previously unseen documents will go on display, along with contradictory evidence that she operated as a Nazi agent. The documents relating to Chanel’s activities in wartime Paris strike a serious note within what is likely to be the most glamorous exhibition of the year, with more than 50 tweed suits – including a bubblegum pink set belonging to Lauren Bacall – on view at Gabrielle Chanel: Fashion Manifesto, when it opens at the V&A in London on 16 September. “We couldn’t do a show about Chanel and not address her wartime record,” said the curator, Oriole Cullen, who has expanded a show first created at the Palais Galliera in Paris in 2020 with a new curation that delves more deeply into Chanel’s links with Britain as well as her wartime activities. Previously unseen documents highlight the name “Gabrielle AKA Coco Chanel” on a list of 400,000 people whose part in the resistance is backed up by official records. “We have verification from the French government, including a document from 1957, which confirms her active participation in the resistance,” said Cullen. The museum will also display strong evidence that Chanel collaborated with the Germans in occupied Paris, including transcripts of postwar interrogation of three Nazi officials who all separately name her as a trusted source.

via guardian: Coco Chanel exhibition reveals fashion designer was part of French resistance