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Coco Chanel Shacked Up With A Nazi Spy & Did Drugs, New Book Reveals

The Huffington Post   First Posted: 08/01/2011 11:18 am Updated: 10/01/2011 5:12 am

If Coco Chanel designed for liberated female customers, it may have been because she counted herself among them.

Women's Wear Daily reports that a new book entitled "Coco Chanel: An Intimate Life" contains juicy details about the couturier's exciting romantic history, which apparently included an open attitude towards bisexuality, an affair with then-married Salvador Dalí and a German boyfriend named Hans Günther von Dincklage who also might have been a Nazi spy. Biographer Lisa Chaney also chronicles Coco's drug habit (opiates, of course). Who knew?

From Penguin's summary:

Unearthing an astonishing life, this remarkable biography shows how, more than any previous designer, Chanel became synonymous with a rebellious and progressive style. [...] Drawing on newly discovered love letters and other records, Chaney's controversial book reveals the truth about Chanel's drug habit and lesbian affairs. [...] While uniquely highlighting the designer's far-reaching influence on the modern arts, Chaney's fascinating biography paints a deeper and darker picture of Coco Chanel than any so far. Movingly, it explores the origins, the creative power, and the secret suffering of this exceptional and often misread woman.

Plenty has been made of Chanel's eclectic past, including two recent movies. "Coco Before Chanel" features her romance with Arthur "Boy" Capel plus dalliances with a baron or two, while "Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky" highlights her romance with the Russian composer. She also served as the subject matter for the recently re-released "Coco Chanel: The Legend and the Life" by Justine Picardie, with illustrations by Karl Lagerfeld, who once remarked, Coco "wasn't only a designer -- she was a woman of her time."

Head to WWD.com for more details on "Coco Chanel: An Intimate Life" by Lisa Chaney.

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