Coco Chanel, No. 5, and Not Very Nice Methods

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whateve

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May 10, 2010
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I have been doing some research on No. 5 because I have been trying to find out how old my perfume is. No luck on that, but I learned a lot about the production of Chanel No. 5.

After Coco had a perfumer create No. 5, she had no way to manufacture and distribute it. At first, it was only available at her boutique and there was no advertising. She had to find someone who could manufacture it, and to do that, she gave away rights to her perfumes to the Wertheimer brothers. She received 10% of the stock. The brothers successfully manufactured and sold the perfume. Coco still sold bottles of it in her boutique. She maintained ownership of her designer business, but any perfumes with the name Chanel belonged to the brothers.

The Wertheimer brothers were Jewish, and had to flee France during WW2. In order to protect their company from being taken by the Nazis, they "sold" the company to a German Aryan with the understanding that they would get their company back after the war.

This is where it gets distasteful. Coco saw her chance to regain control of the company, so she approached the government and told them that since the business was owned by Jews, they should give it to her. The only reason they didn't give it to her was because the brothers had already given the company to the German Aryan, who stayed true to the bargain and returned the company to the brothers, who had relocated to America.

When the brothers were able to resume control of their production facilities, they gave Coco $15,000 (worth about $1 million now) for her share of the profits during the war. Coco was furious because the perfume had been produced in New Jersey, although the materials had come from France. She hated the idea that average Americans had access to Chanel No. 5.

During the war, Coco had a relationship with a Nazi so after the war she was suspected of being a Nazi collaborator. A former employee also accused Coco of making things worse for her husband, who had been arrested by the Gestapo. Someone at a top level secured Coco's release from prosecution for her collaboration with Nazis. It is suspected that she knew some embarrassing details about Churchill, and that is why she was released. In the 1950's, Coco paid an arrested Nazi a large sum of money to leave her out of his memoirs.

In violation of her contract with the brothers, Coco started to produce perfumes on her own in the 1940's. She attempted to damage the reputation of Chanel No. 5. She spread the word that the quality of Chanel No. 5 was poor and that no one should buy it. If buyers wanted the original No. 5 quality, they could buy it from her. There were many lawsuits. The brothers didn't want Coco's war experiences to come to light and affect the reputation of No. 5. They were in a precarious position, because if they attacked Coco, it would be as if they were attacking their own product. In 1947, they renegotiated the contract with Coco paying her a hefty sum of money, giving her a larger percentage of worldwide sales, and the right to sell her own line of perfumes in Switzerland, where she was living at the time. Basically, her blackmail campaign worked.

So even though Coco was a fashion genius, she was not a very nice person. She was conniving and devious, and not above using any method, no matter how immoral, to achieve her ends.
 

Northergirl

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Jun 6, 2009
1,017
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What business isn't conniving and devious? My jerk off boss is conniving and a will do anything to "try" to take everybody around him down.
I'll still buy Chanel products as I personally think it's one of the best on the market.
 

chanel*liz

Member
Aug 9, 2010
3,730
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Yes the history of coco and her life is quite interesting. I knew that she had hated her perfume being accessible to anyone but thank you for the whole backstory. Quite interesting
 

1HappyHunter

1HappyHunter
Nov 18, 2011
63
1
CA
It is sad but the past is the past. It is very hard to judge someone on what they have done in the past especially during such hard times. What would you have done? Honestly, I don't think that most people would do less damage around them in our society to get what they want. Matter of fact, they do way worst. After all, we don't know what goes on in designers race to success in today's life, do we?
 

GenieBottle26

"Odi et Amo"
Sep 18, 2011
1,711
14
The Beach!!
I have been doing some research on No. 5 because I have been trying to find out how old my perfume is. No luck on that, but I learned a lot about the production of Chanel No. 5.

After Coco had a perfumer create No. 5, she had no way to manufacture and distribute it. At first, it was only available at her boutique and there was no advertising. She had to find someone who could manufacture it, and to do that, she gave away rights to her perfumes to the Wertheimer brothers. She received 10% of the stock. The brothers successfully manufactured and sold the perfume. Coco still sold bottles of it in her boutique. She maintained ownership of her designer business, but any perfumes with the name Chanel belonged to the brothers.

The Wertheimer brothers were Jewish, and had to flee France during WW2. In order to protect their company from being taken by the Nazis, they "sold" the company to a German Aryan with the understanding that they would get their company back after the war.

This is where it gets distasteful. Coco saw her chance to regain control of the company, so she approached the government and told them that since the business was owned by Jews, they should give it to her. The only reason they didn't give it to her was because the brothers had already given the company to the German Aryan, who stayed true to the bargain and returned the company to the brothers, who had relocated to America.

When the brothers were able to resume control of their production facilities, they gave Coco $15,000 (worth about $1 million now) for her share of the profits during the war. Coco was furious because the perfume had been produced in New Jersey, although the materials had come from France. She hated the idea that average Americans had access to Chanel No. 5.

During the war, Coco had a relationship with a Nazi so after the war she was suspected of being a Nazi collaborator. A former employee also accused Coco of making things worse for her husband, who had been arrested by the Gestapo. Someone at a top level secured Coco's release from prosecution for her collaboration with Nazis. It is suspected that she knew some embarrassing details about Churchill, and that is why she was released. In the 1950's, Coco paid an arrested Nazi a large sum of money to leave her out of his memoirs.

In violation of her contract with the brothers, Coco started to produce perfumes on her own in the 1940's. She attempted to damage the reputation of Chanel No. 5. She spread the word that the quality of Chanel No. 5 was poor and that no one should buy it. If buyers wanted the original No. 5 quality, they could buy it from her. There were many lawsuits. The brothers didn't want Coco's war experiences to come to light and affect the reputation of No. 5. They were in a precarious position, because if they attacked Coco, it would be as if they were attacking their own product. In 1947, they renegotiated the contract with Coco paying her a hefty sum of money, giving her a larger percentage of worldwide sales, and the right to sell her own line of perfumes in Switzerland, where she was living at the time. Basically, her blackmail campaign worked.

So even though Coco was a fashion genius, she was not a very nice person. She was conniving and devious, and not above using any method, no matter how immoral, to achieve her ends.
Very interesting!
 

Swanky

Admin
Admin
O.G.
Jan 12, 2006
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Oy. . . this is very political. Coco's history/alleged history is very well known, especially /w the littlest bit of researching.

I think this should be closed now, sorry.
 
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