Last night I watched the French film 'Coco Before Chanel'. I've been enchanted with Audrey Tautou, who plays Coco, since first seeing her in 'Amelie' (if you haven't seen that film, stop on your way home and pick it up). 'Coco Before Chanel' chronicles her early years and the struggles that she and her sister faced after their mother died and their father left them in the care of a Catholic orphanage. I enjoyed the film and was curious to know more about Coco Chanel and her rise to prominence as fashion designer.
A quick review of the Wikipedia page about Coco reveals some details of her life such as an affair with a Nazi spy and being charged as a collaborator to a British spy. The British royal family intervened and the charges were dropped. Coco Chanel not only influenced the way women of her time viewed fashion but also women's role in society. She never married and successfully launched the fashion empire that still bears her name.