‘The New Look’ Episode 1 Recap Summary: Why Did Coco Agree To Work With Schellenberg?

Written and directed by Todd A. Kessler. The New Look is yet another brilliant series, starring famous faces like Maisie Williams and Juliette Binoche. The four years of German occupation of France in 1940 changed many political relations. After the capture of France, the citizens were forced to submit to the Nazis, and there were rebellions in many forms. During this phase, several new French designers came to light, portraying their rebellion against the Germans through their rebellious couture. Christian Dior was, however, trying to just earn a living by making the Nazis pretty ball gowns, which was opposed by other designers like Coco Chanel and Balenciaga. Will Dior be able to prove his point to his people after the country has been freed? Was he able to save Catherine from the Nazis? Let’s find out the answers to these questions in the brand new series about fashion,The New Look.

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Spoilers Ahead


In What Ways Was Coco Different From Dior?

Coco Chanel was to make a comeback at the age of 70 in the fashion industry. She was of the opinion that the extravagance that Dior had been portraying in his clothes was something that she didn’t like, as she believed in the simplicity of fashion. Meanwhile, an event was being held for a display of the designs of Christian Dior. He came to the event and talked about the revolution that his designs brought about in the long run. Christian’s first collection was launched in 1947, which breathed into people a desire to live again after World War II.

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During the four years of captivity, Coco Chanel refrained from making clothes for the Nazis, while Christian kept making money by designing ball gowns for them. Christian, however, did not shy away from accepting that he had no other options other than making clothes for the Germans. He explained to the young journalists how he was in need of money to survive the pangs of the Nazi invasion and hence used to work for paychecks from Lelong.


What Were The Events In 1943?

Christian brought to light the events of 1943 when France was still under Nazi influence. He told the reporters during the interview how the civilians were harassed by the soldiers for food. He narrated how his sister, Catherine, had once been physically assaulted by the soldiers, only to be saved by two revolutionaries, Jene and Herve. It was right after this incident that Catherine started helping the cause of the revolution. She gave refuge to Jean and Herve in her house, which disturbed Christian initially as he wanted his sister to stay out of the chaos. Catherine, on the other hand, asked Christian to stay out of the business of making gowns for the Nazis, to which he said that he needed the paychecks to run the house.

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Balmain, who had also been working under Lelong, was trying to create unique designs, which were not being appreciated in the long run. He was so unhappy with the fact that he was creating new designs for their enemies that it made him leave his job. Meanwhile, Christian was appreciated for sticking to the designs that the Nazis wanted. While Dior was unwillingly creating gowns, Balmain and Balenciaga advised him not to design clothes for their enemies. He told them how desperately he needed money to run his household.


What Happened To Catherine?

For Dior, creation was a means of survival, and he was solely designing clothes to escape the wrath of the Nazis and provide for his family. While Jean was on the run, he was captured by the soldiers and tortured for names. When he refused to give up names, he, along with other revolutionaries, was tied up to be executed. Catherine and Herve, on the other hand, tried to save Jean by finding out his whereabouts and rescuing him.

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Meanwhile, Lelong came to Christian and told him that one of the officer’s wives had a tear in her gown, and she had specially requested to meet him. When he went to the party to have a look at the tear on the gown, the lady told him that she had done it on purpose to have a word with Christian. She warned Christian, saying that she knew that his sister was in the resistance and that her photos were being circulated among the soldiers. She further told Christian that the soldiers had come to know that she delivered messages on a bike and that her life was in danger. She asked Christian to warn his sister before it was too late. Later, Catherine was seen being followed by soldiers while she was en route to deliver messages. She was then captured by the soldiers, making Christian’s nightmare about his sister falling into a trap a reality.


Why Did Coco Agree To Work With Schellenberg?

Coco’s nephew, Andrew, was held hostage by the soldiers. Later, Coco freed him from the clutches of the soldiers and was told that Commander Schellenberg wanted to meet Coco in return for this favor. Coco went to meet Heinrich Himmler at a party after being summoned. He told her that he could help her restart the business that she had lost to her business partners if she was willing to work with him and get him business. Heinrich further manipulated her, saying that she had been betrayed by her partners because they were Jewish. He believed in the complete extermination of the Jews in the long run. Meanwhile, Spatz told Coco that Himler was a powerful man and could help her get the company back. Later, Spatz was seen taking her to an abandoned Jewish home and asking her to take anything that she liked. Spatz told her that anything that belonged to the Jews was theirs now. There was a budding love affair between Coco and Spatz, and he kept praising Coco, saying how she was irreplaceable!

Later, Spatz asked Coco to go and meet Commander Schellenberg (head of Nazi intelligence), who would help her get back her company. After being invited by Schellenberg, Coco went to his party, where she was asked to adopt Aryan laws for her business. Schellenberg told her that he could help her drive out her Jewish business partners and get complete control over the company, but in exchange, she had to help him end the war between Germany and Great Britain. This factor proves that fashion was considered a great tool of politics even in those times, which could be utilized to mend political relations.


What Will Happen Next?

Christian had seen Coco associating with the Nazis, and it is likely that he would help in breaking the secret to the world by unmasking her diplomacy to the world! Christian would also be frantically trying to save his sister, Catherine, eventually changing the course of his life. Christian was not a part of the revolutionary bandwagon, yet his sister’s association with the revolution was likely to drag him into murky waters, putting him at stake. Meanwhile, Coco’s association with the Nazis will help her rise back to power in the French fashion segment. There are several political aspects and aspirations that are yet to be covered within the series The New Look, which is inspired by true events.

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Debjyoti Dey
Debjyoti Dey
Debjyoti’s obsession with creativity and travel fervor has helped her branch out into the entertainment genre. Her love for psychological thrillers helps her get a daily dose of adrenaline. A regular caricature of the films and its characters is what keeps her going!

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