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#TBT? Five Big-Name Fashion Designers Who Had Ties to the Nazis

As a disclaimer: a designer's political views don't necessarily have anything to do with the strength of his or her work, but that doesn't mean we should ignore the facts. And although we love fashion because it's beautiful and creative, some elements of its history are dark.

For example, a handful of the 20th century's most legendary designers were closely tied to Naziism. In some cases, this is a byproduct of the historical circumstances: During the Nazi occupation of France, which began in 1940, designers were forced either to collaborate with the Nazis (who saw immense value in the French fashion industry, and even considered relocating it to Vienna or Berlin) or close their doors*. Although it's understandable that some didn't have the courage to resist Nazi occupiers, others went out of their way to embrace the regime. 

Below, we've assembled a list of five big-name designers with ties to the Nazi party:

Image: Getty

Image: Getty

Coco Chanel

Published in 2011, Sleeping with the Enemy: Coco Chanel's Secret War exposes Coco Chanel's activities as a spy for the Third Reich. The New York Times review of the book opened thusly: 

"Gabrielle Chanel — better known as Coco — was a wretched human being. Anti-Semitic, homophobic, social climbing, opportunistic, ridiculously snobbish and given to sins of phrase-making like 'If blonde, use blue perfume,' she was addicted to morphine and actively collaborated with the Germans during the Nazi occupation of Paris."

Cristobal Balenciaga 

Some suspect that Balenciaga's success in Nazi-occupied Paris had something to do with the designer's close relationship with Hitler's ally, General Franco. According to Stitched Up by Tansy E. Hoskins, Balenciaga designed many dresses for Franco's wife prior to the start of the war and, decades later, even came out of retirement to create a wedding gown for the fascist leader's granddaughter.

However, he stood up to Hitler when asked to relocate the French fashion industry to Berlin: According to the designer himself, “Hitler wanted to transfer the French couture to Berlin. He sent six enormous Germans to see me … to talk about it. I said that he might just as well take all the bulls to Berlin and try and train the bullfighters there.”

Louis Vuitton

Louis Vuitton: A French Saga reveals that the leather goods house had strong ties to the Vichy regime in Nazi-occupied France. Louis Vuitton was the only brand allowed to operate a store on the ground floor of Hotel du Parc, which was used as the premises for France's puppet government, led by Marshal Philippe Pétain. According to The Guardian, the luxury brand also produced items "glorifying Pétain, including more than 2,500 busts, a fact not mentioned in any of its business records." 

The family's eldest son, Henry, was a regular at a popular Gestapo cafe, and "was one of the first Frenchmen to be decorated by the Nazi-backed government for his loyalty and his efforts for the regime."

Christian Dior

Although Christian Dior never professed Nazi sympathies, as an employee of Lucien LeLong during the occupation, he dressed a a clientele of wives and mistresses of high-ranking Nazi officers. Although his niece, Françoise, was vocal about her Nazi views, his sister Catherine (the Miss Dior), was a member of the Resistance.

Hugo Boss

The German designer joined the Nazi party in 1931 (Hitler came to power in 1933) and created the uniforms worn by the Hitler Youth. The company also used forced labor from Nazi prisoners in its factories. In 2011, the company issued a formal apology about its activities during the Second World War. 

[Hat tip: Stitched Up: The Anti-Capitalist Book of Fashion]


*For more about this, read Fifty Years of Fashion: New Look to Now, by Valerie Steele. 

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Miranda Kerr Designs a Tea Set, of All Things, for Royal Albert

Model Miranda Kerr pictured with her tea set for Royal Albert

Image: Royal Albert

Now that Miranda Kerr's a single gal, she's got time to stop, sip some tea and enjoy the benefits (term used loosely) of being a bachelorette in New York City. If you follow this reasoning, then it makes perfect sense that the former Victoria's Secret Angel has teamed up with Royal Albert on a collection of bone china, which will drop (hopefully, not literally…that would be a mess!) tomorrow at 1:00 p.m. Aussie time.

The range includes all the trimmings for a proper tea party: cups, saucers, strainers, kettles, cream and sugar pots, tea caddies, plates and cake stands, all decorated with pink peonies and butterflies. For the lowbrow tea (or coffee!) drinker, there are also mugs. According to the very pink lookbook, the collection was designed with Kerr's love of nature in mind and memories of her days drinking tea from her grandmother's own Royal Albert set when she was but a wee lass in Australia.

As an added bonus for Australian residents, Kerr will be on hand May 16 to officially launch the collection and have morning tea with a few lucky fans with deep pockets. The first 50 people to spend $199 AUD on items from Kerr's collection will each win two tickets to the event.

If the collection reminds you of something you saw at Sister Odell's house during her Sunday post-church afternoon socials, you're not alone. But, uh, if flowers and butterflies are what you're into, this stuff is pretty perfect.

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This Guy Photoshopped Himself Into His Girlfriend’s Childhood Photos

man photoshop fiance childhood photos china

Image: peopledaily.com.cn

Sometimes Photoshop is our friend. It adds dinosaurs to wedding pictures, removes red-eye and just generally makes things better. But sometimes people take it to the dark side, and weird things that should never see the light of day arise.

More from theFashionSpot — Lady Gaga’s Unretouched Versace Campaign Outtakes Prove It: Fashion Advertising Is Bullsh*t

Such was the case when Wan, a wedding photographer from Henan province, China, decided to celebrate his 4th anniversary with his girlfriend in a … let's call it unique way. Wan Photoshopped himself into his unnamed girlfriend's childhood pictures, and the results have divided the Internet. When first posted on the social media site Weibo, a lot of Chinese women were commenting on what a romantic gesture it was. However, other corners of the web are labeling it downright creepy, and we kind of agree with them. Doubtless, Wan meant the altered photos to be a funny and touching way of showing his love, but we think he missed the mark on most of them. 

See the pictures at: Man Adds Himself To Girlfriend's Old Photos, With Freaky Results

More from YourTango:

 

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Miranda Kerr and Pup Franki (Awww) Land the June Cover of UK Harper’s Bazaar (Forum Buzz)

Miranda Kerr has landed herself another cover of UK Harper's Bazaar. The Australian beauty is photographed by Alexi Lubomirski and styled by Miranda Almond for the summery shoot. Miranda wears a cashmere cotton top and linen crepe jacket by Michael Kors, while Frankie, her pet pooch, dons a dog lead from Mungo & Maud.

Are dogs the new fashion accessory? This certainly isn't the first time Miranda's dog has landed the cover of a major fashion magazine. The duo were once photographed by Steven Meisel for Vogue Italia's September 2010 cover (you could almost hear the screams of envious models who couldn't land covers themselves).

UK Harper's Bazaar June 2014 Miranda Kerr

IMAGE CREDIT: HARPERSBAZAAR.CO.UK VIA TFS FORUMS

Members of theFashionSpot didn't seem up for discussing the cover and insisted on debating Miranda's persona with Kite writing, "She really is the dullest and most fame hungry woman…I just don't get her appeal. She relies on pretty."

"I can't say I really get the Miranda thing. I find her very uneventful," wrote honeycombchild.

Abracadabra also didn't seem to hold interest in Bazaar's June cover subject: "Is it bad that I yawn when I see Miranda's name pop up? I can't explain it, but she gives nothing but a pretty face. I'm never moved, I'll say it again but the only thing I've liked was her [Vogue Italia] cover/ed but that's about it."

Enough about Miranda, what do you think of the cover? It's very summery which fits with the month. You can view the cover for subscribers in the thread here.

Editorial preview, UK Harper's Bazaar June 2014

IMAGE CREDIT: HARPERSBAZAAR.CO.UK VIA TFS FORUMS

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Crimes of Fashion? This Photo Series Depicts Some of America’s Weirdest Laws

In a weird and wonderful photo series currently going around the Internet, NYC-based photographer Olivia Locher depicts some of America's strangest laws. Below, we dig a little deeper into some of the laws which pertain to clothing and style.

The full series, "I Fought the Law," is available to view via Ms. Locher's website

In Alabama, it's illegal to have an ice cream cone in your pocket at all times. 

alabama ice cream cone back pocket photo law olivia locher

I couldn't find a credible source confirming this law; it's most likely an urban legend.

In Delaware, it's illegal to wear pants that are "form-fitting" around the waist. 

tight pants delaware olivia locher photos

Although I couldn't find the origins of this law, I did find a mention of it in GQ, as early as 1967. The tight pants ban is not a statewide thing, but is restricted to the town of Lewes. 

 In Rhode Island, it's illegal to wear transparent clothing.

olivia locher transparent rhode island clothing

I couldn't verify this. Although plenty of websites in the "Dumb Laws" Internet niche have listed this factoid, I couldn't find a reference to it in a single credible source, including in Google's entire Books database.

In Texas, it's illegal for children to have unusual haircuts.

texas haircuts law olivia locher photo

Writing for the legal blog, LawInfo.com, Caitlyn Obolsky, Esq. says, "In Mesquite, Texas it is illegal for children to have unusual haircuts. I am guessing this one has to do with a more traditional desire for a sense of conformity of appearance. There must have been some sort of wave of unusual hairstyles in order to get this one enacted into law."

In Hawaii, coins are not allowed to be placed in one's ears. 

hawaii coin law olivia locher photos

The best explanation I found comes from Rounds.com: "Coins are not allowed to be placed in one’s ears. The reason for this is because in 1900 when Hawaii became apart of the United States, there was an order to destroy all Hawaiian coins, and people would hide them in their ears; now it is a sign of being a drug dealer."

Related: Here’s Some of the Earliest Known Fashion Photography

All images via olivialocher.com

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Link Buzz: Mary Katrantzou Has Moved Into Bridal; Bob Geldof Is Engaged

Image courtesy Mary Katrantzou

Image courtesy Mary Katrantzou

  • British designer Mary Katrantzou has just designed her very first wedding dress. The custom creation was made with over 120 meters of chiffon. Click through to see more photos. [FabSugar]
     
  • Hey fast fashion brands. Maybe you guys could try to be a little less literal with your runway knockoffs? [Fashionista]
     
  • Why don't you just go ahead and slather your whole body in yogurt? I love the feeling of Fage squishing between my toes.   [BellaSugar]
     
  • One study finds that shoppers are more likely to buy something when they recieve rude treatment from sales associates. [HuffPo]
     
  • "After a punishing New York winter, many women are cutting their hair short as a way to finally embrace spring." Thank goodness the Times is on it. [NYTimes]
     
  • Following the tragic death of his daughter, Peaches, Bob Geldof has proposed to his girlfriend of 18 years, French actress Jeanne Marine. [Independent

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