Chanel on Homosexuals

A novelty tangent in lieu of developing news that Veronique Branquinho is closing her 11 year old label:


“When a woman is dumb she sees in him a weak person, funny to be with but not very dangerous; when she’s smart she finds him to be someone who divines her, understands and listens to her. Since all women, whether stupid or intelligent, love the flytrap of compliments and since pederasts know how to manipulate praise, or have the gall, or the malice, to toss out immoderate adoration, women are their chosen victims. Women are always ready to believe them. They speak the same language, the stinging tongue of implication, heinous gibes, and baffling hypocrisy.


film maker, writer, homosexual, and Chanel financee Jean Cocteau

“They put around women’s necks garlands of compliments, necklaces of flowery flattery, with which they strangle them. And their beautiful friends are ecstatic; women no longer dress to please men but the pederasts, and to shock other women, because what the boys like is what is far out, outre. God, the number of young women I’ve seen die under the influence of ’awful queers’ – death , drugs, ugliness, ruin, divorce, scandal, nothing is too much when it comes to demolish the competition and to take revenge on a woman. To triumph over her they follow her like a shadow, everywhere, except in bed. Homosexuals become stage designers, hairdressers, interior decorators, and especially couturiers. They rush into deadly eccentricity, into their own artificial netherworld.

“When I say pedarests, I mean the pedarest mentality, which is even more widespread. We all know nice family men who are ‘inverts,’ fathers who are bent over cribs and, at coming-out balls*, scour the rooms for decent husbands for their daughters. Homosexuals are the escorts of high society, the life of decadence, and as such the germs of bewitching epidemics. They are the ones who inspire hats no woman can wear, the ones who acclaim unwearable dresses, they are the canny, chatterbox commentators on stilt heels, the lethal publicists for furniture upholstered with satin. They are the only men who love make up and red nail polish. They make up the backbiting and perceptive army for whom cynical pederasts with their beards, dirty knots of hair, gnawed fingernails, and decayed teeth are only the forerunners.** They don’t have the avant-garde tastes of the veterans, but they serve as links between the old guard and womanhood; they are the ones who make up the mood and the climate.”

illustrator, designer, homosexual, and intimate Chanel friend, Christian Berard

illustrator, designer, homosexual, and intimate Chanel friend, Christian Berard

-Coco Chanel recounting the previous decade circa 1940-1949 to Paul Morand, printed in Chanel: A Woman of Her Own by Axel Madsen.

My Notes:

* The term “coming-out” refers to customary social debuts of young women in higher echelons of society and not to the contemporary gay term for revealing one’s homosexuality to family and/or society.

** I imagine Chanel is describing the illustrator and designer Christian Berard with whom she had a close relationship with. Berard was known for his ratty, pauper like appearance and was himself a homosexual.


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