Mystery and controversy surrounding Coco Chanel's life set to be unbuttoned in V&A exhibition

ITV News' Arts Editor Nina Nannar was given a glimpse of the new exhibition set to celebrate the enigmatic life and enduring legacy of Coco Chanel

Some of the mystique and controversy surrounding Coco Chanel's life - before now buttoned up for decades - is being revealed in a new exhibition at London's Victoria and Albert Museum.

The French fashion designer, whose wartime Nazi sympathies were, it seems, countered by working for the French Resistance, was far ahead of her time.

As the inventor of the diet, the tan, and the Little Black Dress, the modern term "influencer" could have been coined a century ago to describe Chanel.

Born Gabrielle Chanel, she opened her first shop in Paris in 1910.

Justine Picardie, author of Coco Chanel: The Legend and the Life, has long been fascinated by the designer.

"I learnt from the get-go that Chanel could be subversive and radical and also could be a symbol of a very independent woman - which Chanel herself was," Ms Picardie told ITV News.

The exhibition is a celebration of Chanel's creativity, but Picardie hopes she has helped dispelled long-held beliefs that the designer collaborated with the Nazis during the war.

Author Justine Picardie spoke to ITV News' Nina Nannar. Credit: ITV News

The writer said a French government document that she uncovered shows Chanel was actually a member of the French Resistance.

"It's a question I've thought about a lot, is it a kind of misogyny that it's easy to blame women? It's a good headline, isn't it?" Picardie said of the myth surrounding Chanel's connection to the Nazis.

"But in fact, these recent documents really prove beyond any shadow of a doubt that she was in the resistance."

Coco Chanel died in 1971, though her style and legacy live on.

They are set to be celebrated as over 200 items - some never seen publicly - will go on display at the V&A from Saturday, September 16.

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