Gloria Swanson wearing Chanel
Tonight or Never, 1931


Ever the socialite, Coco befriended Hollywood producer Samuel Goldwyn who offered her one million dollars (equivalent to around £60 million today) to travel to Hollywood twice a year and design costumes for MGM stars. Never one to miss an opportunity, Chanel went on to design some classic silver-screen dresses, including Gloria Swanson’s crystal-embellished dress in the 1931 film Tonight or Never, and Ina Claire’s sleek silk and lace wedding gown in The Greeks Had A Word For Them. Despite her success (Greta Garbo and Marlene Dietrich were both private clients), Chanel’s penchant for the elegant and understated meant she never really understood Hollywood and decided to leave, declaring it “vulgar and infantile” and “the capital of bad taste”.