Did Igor Stravinsky have an affair with Coco Chanel?


ILC  According to the movie “Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky,” directed by Jan Kounen, he did, although Stravinsky’s second wife, Vera, disputed this claim. In the 1920s, Stravinsky moved to Paris with his first wife and children. He had married Yekaterina Gabrielovna Nossenko in 1906, in spite of Russian Orthodox Church opposition to marriage between first cousins.Stravinsky was reputedly a philanderer, and had many affairs and a long-term secret relationship with Vera de Bosset, whom he met in Paris in 1921. He married Vera in 1940, a year after his wife died.

In 1946, Coco Chanel described her affair with Stravinsky in detail to her biographer, Paul Morand. The movie, which was based on the 2002 fictional novel Coco & Igor by Chris Greenhalgh, presumably drew heavily on Chanel’s recollections as presented to Morand.

Coco herself had numerous lovers, including a Russian Grand Duke, the Duke of Westminster, and during World War l l, a German intelligence officer. However, the love of her life was Arthur “Boy” Capel, an Englishman who set her up in her first business and died in 1919.

There is no question that Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel was Stravinsky’s patron and invited him, together with his consumptive wife and four children, to live in her country home. In the film, Stravinsky and Chanel fall in love and have a riotous affair, often making love around the piano in the music room.

Stravinsky’s wife suspects the liaison and confronts him on one occasion, begging him to move out of Chanel’s home. Tensions in the house continue unabated until Stravinsky insults Chanel during a quarrel, exclaiming: “You are not an artist Coco, you are a woman who sells fabrics.” At that point in the movie, Chanel asks Stravinsky to leave and they end their affair.

The storyline of the film implies that the relationship influenced their respective creative work. Allegedly, during the period of their affair, she produced the iconic Chanel No. 5 perfume and he began to compose in a freer, more individual style.   I-LC

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