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[Tidbits] Coco

Or better yet. A Whimsy for Coco. Or even better. Coco’s Eye.

They will all work. And so…

The following is as I understand it.

She was one interesting lady this Coco Chanel. She was born to one
Eug?nie Devolle, an unwed mother and a laundry woman, in a charity
hospital. Her father was a street vendor. He peddled work clothes and
undergarments. Her name real name was Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel. Her
mother died when she was twelve. And she went to live in a boarding
house for Catholic girls.

But she was ashamed of her humble beginnings. So she made up stories
of her past as she went along. Re: When her mother died, her father
set sail for America to seek fame and fortune and she had to live
with two cold-hearted aunts. She reduced her age by ten years and
claimed to have been only two instead of twelve when her mother

She became a seamstress for a while. And she sang at a Cabaret in
her spare time. The cavalry officers that frequented to place were
tantalized by her allure. She was sometimes referred to as a “Kept
Woman”. Now listen carefully here folks. I’m going to tell you how
rumor has it she got her name. Three main choices. 1: The French word
for Kept Woman is “Cocotte”. 2: One of the popular songs she sang at
the Cabaret was “Ko Ko Ri Ko”. 3: Another song she frequently sang
was “Qui qu’a vu Coco”. There is a fourth choice which came later in
live but is not true. and that referred to the fact that she was
addicted to Cocaine and became Coco for short.

When she was twenty three she began an affair with 'tienne Balsan. a
wealthy textile heir. At twenty five she began an affair with one of
Balsan’s friends. a Captain Arthur Edward Capel.

In later life she referred to this moment as “two gentlemen were
outbidding for my hot little body.” She was clearly aware of her

She was known for her genius, her lethal wit, her sarcasm, and her
maniacal destructiveness. You see folks. Great talent does not come
easy. By age fifty two Coco Chanel was known for throwing the most
fabulous cocaine parties in Paris. Colette referred to Chanel’s face
as resembling that of a small black bull because of the tuft of curly
black hair that fell over her brow to her eyelids.

However. for all her talent. there is a great sadness that envelopes
Ms. Chanel’s personality. for she was an outspoken anti-semite and
had no shyness in expressing her homophobia. Her statements in that
area are not for these pages.

She was a Nazi sympathizer and in 1941 she wrote to the German
government in an effort to gain proprietary ownership of her Parfums
Chanel which she claimed was part of the property of Jews which had
been abandoned. She did not win her claim. but later settled with
the Wertheimers who controlled the Chanel perfumes. Her settlement:
Some nine million dollars plus a two percent return on all Chanel
No. 5 sales worldwide. That came to twenty five million dollars a

Then there’s the Eye I speak of. It’s a whimsical piece of costume
jewelry. The retina has her CC entwined logo in the center of the
eye. It is made of gold plated metal. It is set with pasties. It was
made in France in the 2000’s. It was then worth $400. I saw it
recently on the web for $900. It is most interesting.

So now. to my home page at lower left side of menu.
click on Tidbits. and voila.

And there ya have it. That’s it for this week folks.
Catch you all next week.
Benjamin Mark

Coco Chanel famously remarked that a woman ought to wear lots of
jewels and it doesn’t matter if they’re false.

This eye is very pretty. Of course, with the pendant tears it
forcibly reminds one of Dali’s famous “Eye of Time” brooch.

Elliot Nesterman