Coco Chanel inside mansion
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Inside Coco Chanel's Abandoned Mansion: A Look Into the Fashion Icon's Life and Secrets

Stories

| LAST UPDATE 12/15/2022

By Kayla Black

Deep in the Scottish countryside sits a mysterious, abandoned mansion that was once home to Coco Chanel and the Duke of Westminster. The manor holds some of Coco's oldest treasures and gives a glimpse into her intriguing adventures.

Finding Love at Rosehall Estate

During the 1920s, Coco Chanel fell madly in love with Hugh "Bendor" Grosvenor, the second Duke of Westminister. The couple spent most of their time in their magical home in the Scottish countryside, known as Rosehall Estate.

Rosehall Estate Coco ChanelRosehall Estate Coco Chanel
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Coco was in the process of building a fashion empire, while the Duke was already one of the richest men in the world. Coco decorated the entire mansion herself, and it's been abandoned for over 50 years now, with remnants from the couple's luxurious lifestyle.

"Money Is the Key To Freedom"

Before becoming Coco Chanel, the fashion mogul was born Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel. She grew up in Saumur, France, in a one-bedroom apartment with her parents and siblings. Her parents worked extremely hard to support their children; Her mother was a laundrywoman, and her father was a vendor.

Coco Chanel childhood storyCoco Chanel childhood story
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By the age of 12, Chanel came to the realization that "Without money, you are nothing, that with money you can do anything." She revealed, "I would say to myself over and over, 'Money is the key to freedom.'" Overall, her family lived a simple and low maintenance life, but unfortunately, things didn't get any easier just yet.

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Grew up in an Orphanage

When Chanel was 11-years-old, she was devastated to learn that her mother passed away from bronchitis. A year later, her father, Albert, sent all of his children away; The girls went to an orphanage while the boys spent the remainder of their childhood working on farms.

Coco Chanel childhood orphanageCoco Chanel childhood orphanage
Bettmann / Contributor via Getty Images

Chanel's childhood certainly wasn't easy, but her experiences growing up as an orphan made her stronger in the long run. The nuns at the orphanage taught the girls how to sew, and Chanel even found inspiration in the required black and white wardrobe. The color scheme later inspired the aesthetic of her remarkable brand.

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From Gabrielle To Coco

When Chanel was 18-years-old, she left the orphanage and started working at a tailor's shop. When she wasn't working with clothing, she spent her nights singing at a cabaret called Moulins. She sang with her aunt, Adrienne, who was about a year older than Chanel. It was an excellent way for them to earn some extra money.

Coco Chanel orphanageCoco Chanel orphanage
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Whenever Chanel performed, the audience cheered her on by yelling, "Coco! Coco!" which was a French term for a child or kept woman. She wasn't exactly sure which meaning was implied for her, but ultimately, the name stuck. Coco had no idea that one particular audience member would soon change her life for the better.

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Introduced To a Lavish Lifestyle

Singing at Moulins brought Coco a lot of attention, and men threw themselves at her left and right. She didn't find any of these men worth her time, except for one, named Etienne Balsan. Etienne was a French ex-cavalry officer and textile heir, and eventually, Coco's newest boyfriend. 

Coco Chanel lavish lifestyleCoco Chanel lavish lifestyle
REPORTERS ASSOCIES / Contributor via Getty Images

Balsan helped Chanel get her business off the ground, and she started by making and selling women's hats. Balsan was well connected in society, so he introduced her to influential individuals and gave her a taste of the lavish lifestyle she'd always dreamed of. However, after three years, the relationship became quite rocky.

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Discovering True Love

In 1908, Balsan introduced Chanel to Captain Arthur Edward 'Boy' Capel, a charming English man, who Chanel was immediately drawn to. "He was one of the most important people in her life, if not the key person," writer and biographer Lisa Chaney explained.

Coco Chanel Arthur ChapelCoco Chanel Arthur Chapel
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Arthur helped Coco with her business's financial side, but his design technique was what really intrigued the young fashionista. It was suspected that Arthur's use of atypical fabrics in his men's clothing line, which combined fashion and comfort, was inspired by his romance with Coco.

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Gave People a Taste of Glitter, Fame, and Interesting Wits

Before she knew it, Coco's designs were getting national recognition, and she opened three boutiques in Paris. She found herself surrounded by a mix of artists and aristocrats and living in "two worlds that are… mutually exclusive: the world of society… and… of the artist," Chaney explained.

Coco Chanel Paris designerCoco Chanel Paris designer
Photo 12 / Contributor via Getty Images

Coco combined these two universes at her gatherings and gave people a taste of "the most glittering, famous, and interesting wits," said film director Luchino Visconti. Coco was caught up in the glamour and the high fashion world, but everything would soon change for this passionate designer.

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Coco's World Turned Upside Down

Chanel and Boy certainly shared a deep connection; "He was my father, my brother, my entire family," said Coco. However, in 1918, he married Diana Wyndham, the daughter of a Lord, but Arthur and Coco maintained their friendship. In December of 1919, tragedy struck, and Arthur passed away in a car accident.

Coco Chanel Arthur deathCoco Chanel Arthur death
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"His death was a terrible blow to me," Chanel revealed. "I lost everything when I lost Capel. He left a void in me that years have not filled." Coco mourned over the great loss for months and used her work as a coping mechanism. Ultimately, Arthur's passing sparked the inspiration for Coco's future designs.

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The Iconic Logo Was Born

The following year, Coco was introduced to Ernest Beaux, a French-Russian perfumer who helped her create the world-class perfume, Chanel No. 5. This product's launch was essentially the introduction of the iconic interlocking "Cs," which is the Chanel logo to this day.

Coco Chanel perfume logoCoco Chanel perfume logo
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The logo first appeared around 1924, and there were many theories about what could've inspired it. Some suspected that the two "Cs" represented Capel and Chanel as a way to keep Capel's memory alive. Chanel's recognizable logo was put on earrings, necklaces, and handbags, and in the midst of this, Coco met her next great love.

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Member of High Society

Being a well-respected designer, Coco was a part of Europe's high society and often found herself interacting with societal icons, such as Picasso and Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich, the grandson of Tsar Alexander II. "Society people amuse me more than others," Chanel explained. "They have a wit, tact, a charming disloyalty."

Coco Chanel high societyCoco Chanel high society
STILLS / Contributor via Getty Images

She was intrigued by their arrogance and said, "They know how to arrive at the right time and to leave when necessary." During the 1920s, Coco became a member of the highest level of the British aristocracy. Little did she know that she'd end up spending most of her time in the Scottish countryside with an extraordinary man.

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The Duke Fell for Coco

Coco had certainly come a long way since growing up in poverty, as she now socialized with members of British royalty, such as the Prince of Wales and Winston Churchill. On a trip to Monte Carlo in 1923, Chanel met Hugh Richard Arthur Grosvenor, the Duke of Westminster.

Coco Chanel Duke relationshipCoco Chanel Duke relationship
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He was one of the richest men in the world, and he was mesmerized by Coco. They became romantically involved, and the Duke showered his girlfriend with lavish gifts, including jewelry and world-renowned art pieces. The gifts that stood out most to Coco were the homes that Grosvenor gave her.

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Life With the Richest Man in Britain

As the Duke of Westminister and the richest man in Britain, Coco's significant other was known by virtually everyone in high society. He'd been married twice before meeting Coco and had two daughters. The Duke and Chanel lived a luxurious lifestyle, hosting and attending extravagant parties regularly.

Coco Chanel Duke relationshipCoco Chanel Duke relationship
Hulton Archive / Stringer via Getty Images

This helped Coco make lasting connections that benefited her business. When the couple wasn't enjoying British aristocracy's perks, they spent time at the Duke's various properties throughout Europe. Chanel and Grosvenor felt most connected to the mysterious mansion in the Scottish Highlands.

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An Ancient Love Nest

The Duke's unique Scottish property, called Rosehall Estate, was made up of 700 acres of land. It was initially built in 1820 but started to get a lot more use when Chanel came into the Duke's life. The lovebirds spent plenty of private time at the estate and occasionally hosted close friends and family.

An Ancient Love Nest Coco ChanelAn Ancient Love Nest Coco Chanel
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The charming property was home to five outbuildings with breathtaking views of the Scottish Highlands and other aspects of nature. The Duke knew how much Coco loved Rosehall, but he wanted to give her a home that would be her own, so she could add the Coco Chanel touch to it.

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Built a Home on the French Riviera

Hugh purchased another large plot of land in 1927, but this time, it was on the French Riviera. He gave it to Chanel as a gift, which she used to build her very own villa, La Pausa. According to Bettina Ballard, Vogue editor during the 1940s, the mansion was, "The most comfortable, relaxing place."

Coco Chanel French RivieraCoco Chanel French Riviera
FPG / Staff via Getty Images

Chanel worked closely with architect Robert Streitz to bring her vision for La Pausa to life. The staircase and patio were inspired by the orphanage where Coco had grown up. She also used her design skills to bring new life to Rosehall Estate since she and the Duke frequently traveled there.

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Coco Put Her Own Touch on the Scottish Estate

One of the standout aspects of the 700-acre Scottish estate was that it was surrounded by nature. While Coco and the Duke spent much of their time taking this in, they also cozied up inside the 22 room mansion, so Coco took it upon herself to do some redecorating.

Put Her Own Touch on the Scottish Estate Coco ChanelPut Her Own Touch on the Scottish Estate Coco Chanel
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Chanel incorporated her Parisian background into the home, with a similar aesthetic to her clothing designs. "The striking simplicity, with shades of beige and basic... chimneypieces in painted timber, would have been significantly radical for its time," explained the Historic Environment Scotland.

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Spent Lots of Time With Winston Churchill

Part of Rosehall Estate's charm came from the iconic individuals who frequently stopped by. Winston Churchill spent quite a bit of time at the mansion with Coco and the Duke. "This is a very agreeable house in a Highland valley," said Churchill. "The air is most exhilarating, keen, and yet caressing."

Coco Chanel Winston ChurchillCoco Chanel Winston Churchill
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The more he got to know Chanel, the more Winston appreciated what she brought to the table. "[Chanel] fishes from morn till night," he wrote to his wife in 1927. "She is... a really get [great] and strong fit to rule a man or an empire. Bennie [the Duke] vy well, and I think extremely happy to be mated with an equal."

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Hosted Elaborate Parties That Made People Envious

While Coco certainly had many talents, one of her greatest gifts was putting together a great party to truly wow her guests. She hosted some of her more elaborate events in Paris and did everything possible to make them aesthetically pleasing, just like her clothing line.

Coco Chanel house partiesCoco Chanel house parties
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One guest said the events were "moving parties which made several people envious." Another guest revealed, "As always, she [Coco] flirted with the men... Pretending she was completely captivated, when suddenly pfft! Nobody there!... She disappeared around two in the morning, so as not to miss her beauty sleep."

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Pursued by the Prince of Wales

Chanel had first been introduced to the Duke by Vera Bate Lombardi, another well-connected British socialite. Lombardi also introduced Chanel to Edward VIII, the Prince of Wales, who was supposedly infatuated with Coco and was determined to win her over, even though she was dating the Duke.

Coco Chanel rocky relationshipCoco Chanel rocky relationship
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Vogue editor Diana Vreeland discussed the dynamic between Coco and the Prince of Wales, saying, "The passionate, focused, and fiercely independent Chanel, a virtual tour de force," and the Prince "had a romantic moment together." Eventually, Coco's relationship with the Duke got rocky, and some suspected it was because of Edward VIII.

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Said Goodbye To the Duke

During the 1930s, Coco realized that she and the Duke didn't have the same park they did at the start of their relationship. They didn't spend as much time together, and their love nest in the Scottish countryside wasn't as special. So, the Duke went on to marry magazine editor Loelia Mary Ponsonby.

Coco Chanel Duke breakupCoco Chanel Duke breakup
Hulton Deutsch / Contributor via Getty Images

Apparently, Hugh had proposed to Coco before Loelia, but she declined. Coco explained, "There have been several Duchesses of Westminster - there is only one Chanel." With that being said, the designer stayed true to herself and the empire she'd built, but her reputation would soon be jeopardized.

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Coco Took on Hollywood

Following her split from Hugh, Coco took a trip to Monte Carlo with the Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich, who introduced her to Samuel Goldwyn, a notable film producer. Goldwyn offered Chanel $1 million - the equivalent of $75 million today - to go to Hollywood twice a year and design costumes for MGM.

Coco Chanel Hollywood visitCoco Chanel Hollywood visit
Shel Hershorn - HA/Inactive / Contributor via Getty Images

Coco proudly accepted the deal and began her journey to Hollywood. While traveling from New York to California in 1932, she was interviewed by Collier's magazine about her newest business venture. Chanel said she was going to Hollywood to "see what the pictures have to offer me and what I have to offer the pictures." 

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Her Designs Were Criticized by Many

Coco quickly learned that her signature designs contrasted those in Hollywood, and critics made this relatively clear. "[She] made a lady look like a lady," The New Yorker wrote. "Hollywood wants a lady to look like two ladies." Chanel also felt threatened by Elsa Schiaparelli, a designer with critically acclaimed work.

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ullstein bild Dtl. / Contributor via Getty Images

To try to maintain her reputation, Coco created a wardrobe for a Jean Cocteau theatre piece. However, not everyone was impressed. A critic wrote, "The actors looked like… mummies or victims of some terrible accident." She tried to regain her positive reputation, but the war began, and Coco soon got in over her head.

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Fashion Was No Longer a Priority

When Great Britain declared war in September of 1939, Chanel was in the middle of a collaboration with artist Salvador Dalí on a Ballets Russes de Monte Carlo production. Because of the situation, Coco went back to Paris and felt the need to close all of her boutiques, as she said it was not a time for fashion.

Coco Chanel shops closedCoco Chanel shops closed
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Closing her storefronts meant stripping 4,000 employees of their jobs, and Chanel faced harsh criticism for that. However, she continued living in Paris during the Nazi occupation of France. This led her to become involved with a prominent German officer, and many were suspicious of her relationship.

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Had Relations With a German Diplomat

During the German occupation in France, Chanel spent most nights at the Hotel Ritz, which happened to be a desirable place of residence for high-ranking staff in the German military. It was eventually discovered that Coco's stay at the Ritz had been arranged by Baron Hans Gunther von Dincklage, a German officer.

Coco Chanel Ritz hotelCoco Chanel Ritz hotel
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Hans was a German diplomat and former Prussian army officer and Attorney General and had been a part of military intelligence since 1920. Many people began to question Chanel's motives, as she'd gone from a lavish life with British socialites to an arrangement at the Ritz with a German official.

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Used the Diplomat's Connections To Her Advantage

While some people were perplexed by Coco's relationship with Hans, she appeared to be perfectly happy with him. Rather than potentially suffer the economic effects of the war, she lived comfortably at the Ritz. Dating Hans also helped Coco stay relevant in France's high society throughout the war.

Used the Diplomat's Connections To Her Advantage Coco ChanelUsed the Diplomat's Connections To Her Advantage Coco Chanel
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Hans helped Chanel with more personal matters as well, such as keeping her family safe. After Coco's nephew, Andrew, was imprisoned in a German prisoner of war camp, Hans did everything possible to get Andrew released. Chanel used her German connection to get some much-desired revenge for her business, as well.

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A Desire for Justice

Now that Coco had an army of powerful German men by her side, she was determined to find justice for a business transaction that had occurred in 1924 and had ultimately hurt her company. After creating Chanel No. 5 perfume, Coco had planned to sell the product in department stores, but only received 10% of the profit.

A Desire for Justice Coco ChanelA Desire for Justice Coco Chanel
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She was furious since her name was on the bottle, yet Pierre Wertheimer, the businessman who'd produced the perfume, took home 70% of sales profits. The remaining 20% went to Theophile Bader, who had brokered the deal in the first place. Coco had spent years fighting the matter in court.

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Determined to Destroy the Wertheimer Business

Coco made it her mission to get the justice she felt she'd deserved from Pierre Wertheimer, so she wouldn't leave his company alone until something was done. Wertheimer hired a specific lawyer to solely handle Chanel's case, but Coco tried to use her connections and the German laws to her advantage during WWII.

Determined to Destroy the Wertheimer Business Coco ChanelDetermined to Destroy the Wertheimer Business Coco Chanel
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Chanel was determined to put the Wertheimer family out of business, but they weren't going to let that happen. The family sold the majority of their company to a third party to avoid losing everything they'd worked for to Chanel. Coco's German connections would eventually cause suspicion about her integrity.

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Police Thought Chanel Was a Spy

After the war ended, Coco was interrogated by French authorities about her relationship with Hans. It was later discovered that the French police kept a folder on Chanel, which described her as "Couturier and perfumer. Pseudonym: Westminster. Agent reference: F7124."

Coco Chanel French authoritiesCoco Chanel French authorities
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Evidently, the police had assigned the fashionista a spy number and assumed she had ulterior motives. Coco was never charged as a collaborator, supposedly because of an intervention by Winston Churchill. Shortly after the interrogations, Chanel fled to Switzerland, without a clue of what would soon happen in Rosehall Estate.

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Tragedy Struck the Scottish Estate

Chanel lived a lowkey and secluded life in Switzerland and had no idea that her former lover, Hugh Richard Arthur Grosvenor, was fighting for his life at age 74. He was suffering from severe health issues, and in 1953, passed away inside Rosehall Estate, a place where he and Coco had made so many memories.

Tragedy Struck the Scottish Estate Coco ChanelTragedy Struck the Scottish Estate Coco Chanel
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After Grosvenor passed away, the mansion remained empty and abandoned. Future footage revealed that the house was surrounded by overgrown grass, and the walls had become cracked with tons of damage. No one entered the estate for years, but some of Coco's greatest treasures were still there, waiting to eventually be discovered.

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Reintroducing Coco Chanel

After the war, Coco stayed in Switzerland for nine years before deciding to return to Paris. In 1954, she reopened her couture house, determined to make a comeback in the fashion industry. It had been 15 years since she'd closed all of her stores, so Coco needed to be strategic.

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Chanel introduced her signature comeback collection, hoping for positive feedback, but the French press were weary about the designer after she'd [previously collaborated with their enemy. Unfortunately, Chanel passed away on January 10th, 1971, at age 87, after spending her last years rather isolated.

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Discovering the Abandoned Mansion

After Chanel's death, Rosehall Estate remained abandoned for about another 50 years. Until one day, when Matt Nadin, an urban explorer, entered the manor and was in disbelief at what he'd just discovered. "Some of the rooms were absolutely massive," he explained. "Some of the windows must have been 15 feet tall."

Discovering the Abandoned Mansion Coco ChanelDiscovering the Abandoned Mansion Coco Chanel
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"But it was riddled with damp, and the walls were full of cracks," he added. Nadin claimed he felt the energy of former residents, saying, "It was fascinating wondering which room Coco Chanel would have slept in and the wild parties that would have gone on." In every room, he came across treasures that had once belonged to Chanel.

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Coco's Hidden Treasures

As Nadin walked through the mansion, he came across all sorts of old furniture and keepsakes that likely belonged to Chanel. One item that stood out to him was a dusty old chaise lounge, which he imaged Coco relaxing in. There was also a horse-drawn fire-engine cart with a working hose.

Hidden Treasures Coco ChanelHidden Treasures Coco Chanel
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The mansion also had multiple cast iron fireplaces surrounded by ornate furniture that hadn't been touched for decades. Some items included beds, wardrobes, and a roll-top bath. It was just a matter of time before the mansion was purchased by a new owner and restored to its original charm.

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The Mansion Was Meant To Become a Hotel

Because of its historical significance, the mansion was protected by multiple business and estate agencies. However, it was later put in RE/MAX's hands, a London-based real estate agency, and listed for approximately $3.9 million. The property stayed on the market for over four years and was finally sold for an undisclosed amount.

The Mansion Was Meant To Become a Hotel Coco ChanelThe Mansion Was Meant To Become a Hotel Coco Chanel
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Plans had been drawn up to transform the manor into a boutique hotel, where guests could stay in the same quarters that Coco Chanel and her elite friends once resided in. Perspectives of the mansion eventually changed, though, as it was revealed that channel was indeed a German spy.

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Confirmation that Chanel Was a German Spy

In 2014, long after Chanel had passed away, post-WWII documents held by French intelligence became declassified, and the public was finally able to take a look at them. These documents confirmed that Chanel was directly involved with German intelligence and had helped Germany in its attempt to control Madrid.

Coco Chanel confirmed spyCoco Chanel confirmed spy
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Chanel's grand-niece, Madame Gabrielle Labrunie, explained, "You know… these were very difficult times, and people had to do very terrible things to get along." Coco's reputation may have taken a hit after people discovered that she was a German spy, but her brand still thrived.

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Agent F-7124's Mission

The declassified WWII papers revealed that Chanel had worked for the Germans to save her nephew, who had been kept in a German prisoner of war camp. Gunther von Dincklage connected Coco to another German intelligence official, Baron Louis de Vaufreland, who ultimately made a deal with Chanel to release her nephew.

Coco Chanel Berlin missionCoco Chanel Berlin mission
De Agostini Picture Library / Contributor via Getty Images

Vaufreland promised Chanel that he would help free her nephew in exchange for her service to Berlin, which she agreed to. This was likely why Coco became registered as Agent F-7124 and then traveled to Madrid in 1942 to assist Louis with a mission disguised as a business trip.

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Chanel Was Repaid for Her Service

During her business trip with Vaufreland, Chanel was instructed to obtain specific political information from acquaintances and colleagues inside the Spanish capital. She was expected to use her expert networking ability to benefit German intelligence, without blowing her cover, of course.

Coco Chanel paid spyCoco Chanel paid spy
Twitter via @HistoryInPics

According to American author Hal Vaughan's book, Sleeping with the Enemy, Chanel met with old friends and close colleagues in Madrid. She maintained casual conversation over dinners and meetings while secretly digging for information. Her cooperation worked in her favor; Her nephew was released, and she was assigned another mission.

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Operation Modellhut

Germany began losing power and dominance in 1943, so Chanel was given another mission, which was more complicated than her previous task. General Walter Schellenberg of the SS specifically selected Chanel to embark on "Operation Modellhut," German for "model hat."

Operation Modellhut Coco ChanelOperation Modellhut Coco Chanel
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At this point, Winston Churchill, who was an old friend of Chanel, had become Prime minister of England, so Coco was instructed to use her personal relationship to her advantage. She was told to pass along the message that many SS officers were looking to end the war, which led to unexpected events.

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Coco's Cover Was Nearly Blown

Chanel used her international connections to get Vera Lombardi, a friend of hers and Churchill's, released from an Italian prison. Once Lombardi was freed, she joined Chanel and Gunther von Dincklage's mission to Madrid, but things didn't go as smoothly as planned.

Cover Was Nearly Blown Coco ChanelCover Was Nearly Blown Coco Chanel
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Vera was given a letter to give to Churchill, containing a message from the Germans. However, she denounced Chanel as a German spy, and Coco had to use her connections to return to Paris immediately. Lombardi was taken back into custody, but this wasn't Chanel's last time risking her identity.

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Kept Her Involvement With Germany a Secret

Even after the war ended, Chanel kept her involvement with Germany a secret. According to Sleeping with the Enemy, Coco did everything in her power to hide her identity as a spy, especially her involvement in Operation Model Hat, as Churchill had been a crucial part.

Kept Her Involvement With Germany a Secret Coco ChanelKept Her Involvement With Germany a Secret Coco Chanel
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When Chanel heard that Schellenberg, the officer who'd assigned her to Operation Modle Hat, was publishing a post-war memoir, she worried that her entire cover would be blown. However, the officer was quite ill at the time, so Chanel paid his medical bills in hopes of persuading him not to frame her in the book.

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Left Her Mark in London

Chanel was relieved when she discovered that Schellenberg did not mention her in his memoir, and she never faced ramifications for her involvement in the war. The fashion guru also left her mark on European streets, keeping her legacy alive even after passing away.

Left Her Mark in London Coco ChanelLeft Her Mark in London Coco Chanel
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In the Westminster neighborhood of London, many black lampposts were decorated with what appeared to be Chanel's iconic logo, of two interlocking "Cs." There was suspicion that the Duke of Westminster had his former lover's initials put onto the posts to leave a reminder of the designer's impact on the world.

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Coco's Romance With the Duke Inspired Fashion

While the streets of London are indeed filled with remnants from Coco's romance with the Duke, this magical relationship also impacted the world of fashion. Believe it or not, Grosvenor gave Chanel a great deal of inspiration for her clothing designs, including the iconic tweed suits.

Coco Chanel Duke inspirationCoco Chanel Duke inspiration
Pascal Le Segretain / Staff via Getty Images

These stunning suites, which are an essential part of Chanel's brand today, were influenced by clothing the Duke had worn while fishing and hunting. Coco's deep love for Grosvenor, fishing, and Scotland's natural beauty also inspired fair isle sweaters, which appeared in Chanel's 2019 collection, proving her designs are timeless.

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Little Black Dresses for Everyone

Chanel's legacy lived on even after her death, as the world became even more in love with her designs. Her passions and hobbies had a significant impact on her clothing, and some of her designs revolutionized aspects of the fashion industry, including the "little black dress" (LBD).

Coco Chanel black dressCoco Chanel black dress
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The term LBD was coined by Vogue in 1926, all thanks to Chanel. After one particular dress was created, it referred to as "the frock that all the world will wear." At the time, black was considered a color strictly for mourning, but Chanel's impeccable fashion sense changed it to be viewed as stylish and chic. 

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Revolutionized Handbags

When Chanel decided to make her grand comeback after World War II, she needed to wow the world of fashion since she'd faced some harsh criticism. During the 1950s, many women carried their purse in their hands, so Chanel found a way to change that trend.

Revolutionized Handbags Coco ChanelRevolutionized Handbags Coco Chanel
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So, in February of 1955, Coco released the never before seen 2.55 Chanel Shoulder Bag, made from quilted leather and a beautiful gold chain as the strap. Women could finally wear a bag on their shoulder, rather than having to hold it. Even after she passed, Chanel kept her legacy alive, and the brand continued to thrive.

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Keeping Her Legacy Alive

After Coco passed away in January of 1971, her brand faced many struggles, as her assistants tried everything possible to continue bringing the late designer's designs to life. Nearly 12 years after Coco's death, Karl Lagerfeld stepped in as Chanel's creative director and brought stability to the iconic brand.

Karl Lagerfeld Chanel brandKarl Lagerfeld Chanel brand
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Lagerfeld certainly thought outside of the box, as he planned exquisite fashion shows that blew people's minds, using things like spaceships and carousels. He was sure to maintain Chanel's aesthetic of muted colors, gold chains, and quilted leather. As the creative director, Karl faced some unexpected individuals.

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The Wertheimer Family Took Over

After the war ended, the Wertheimer family, who Coco had tried to put out of business, regained ownership of what they'd invested in Chanel. The family even contributed to Coco's return to the fashion industry during the 1950s. They still own the brand today, under the watchful eye of Lagerfeld as the creative director.

Wertheimer grandchildren Chanel legacyWertheimer grandchildren Chanel legacy
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The family who had been Chanel's most prominent rival turned out to be a large part of her post-war success and continued to help the brand grow. Today, Chanel is owned by Pierre Wertheimer's grandchildren, Alain and Gerard. Ultimately, Coco's legacy has lived on far beyond boutiques and runways.

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Chanel's Influence on the World

With her one of a kind aesthetic and signature patterns, Coco Chanel revolutionized the fashion industry. From working as a spy to reinventing everyday fashion, the iconic designer undoubtedly left her mark on the entire world, and her fascinating life events intrigued many people.

Coco Chanel fashion impactCoco Chanel fashion impact
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Since Coco died, numerous films were made about her life, including Coco Before Chanel in 2008 and Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky in 2009. They gave viewers a closer look into the design mogul's personal and professional life, but it's hard for any film to beat Chanel's real-life romances and life-or-death missions she faced.

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