Author(s): Hal Vaughan
Coco Chanel, high priestess of couture, created the look of the chic modern woman. Chanel believed in simplicity: she freed women from their corsets and inspired them to crop their hair; and created elegant trousers, trench coats and jersey sweaters. By the 1920s, Chanel employed more than two thousand people in her workrooms, and had amassed a personal fortune. But at the start of the Second World War, Chanel closed down her couture house and went to live at the Ritz, on Place Vend“me. After the war she lived in Switzerland. But for more than half a century, Chanel's life from 1941 to 1954 has been shrouded in vagueness and rumour. Neither Chanel or her biographers have told the full story. Now Hal Vaughan, in this explosive narrative - part thriller, part wartime portrait - pieces together the hidden years, from the Nazi occupation to the aftermath of the Liberation. Vaughan uncovers the truth of Chanel's anti-Semitism and long-whispered collaboration. He writes in detail of her decades-long affair with the playboy Baron von Dincklage, alias 'Spatz'. Previously explained away as a loyal German soldier but harmless dupe, Vaughan reveals him as the Nazi master spy and agent who ran an intelligence ring in the Mediterranean and reported directly to Joseph Goebbels, at Hitler's right hand. Sleeping with the Enemy tells how: Chanel became a German intelligence operative, Abwehr agent F-7124, her code name a reference to her former lover, the Duke of Westminster. It shows how and why she was enlisted in spy missions; how she escaped arrest in France after the war, despite her activities being known; and the role played by British Prime Minister Winston Churchill in her escape from retribution. And how, after a nine-year exile in Switzerland with Dinklage, and despite the French opening a legal case examining her espionage activities, Coco was able to return to Paris aged seventy and triumphantly reinvent herself - and rebuild the House of Chanel.
Hal Vaughan has been a newsman, foreign correspondent, and documentary film producer working in Europe, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia since 1957. He served in the US military in World War II and Korea and has held various posts as a US Foreign Service officer. Vaughan is the author of Doctor to the Resistance: The Heroic True Story of an American Surgeon and His Family in Occupied Paris and FDR's 12 Apostles: The Spies Who Paved the Way for the Invasion of North Africa. He lives in Paris.