Coco Chanel was a very complicated women who was very far from being a saint, but a card-carrying member of the Nazionalsocialist Deutsches Abteilung Partei she was not. She had an affair with a German officer and was accused of spying in the post war-hysteria of shaming and identifying any French…
She wasn’t a Nazi, but she was a collaborator whose involvement went beyond having an affair with a German officer. To call her a Nazi “spy” is too strong, but she was a facilitator for the German occupiers, and the full extent of her collaboration is still a matter of debate. After the war, she was able to evade any thorough investigation of her wartime activities thanks to her connections to people like Winston Churchill.
Her treatment of the Jewish Wertheimer family - who were not rivals as such, but rather investors who controlled the Chanel perfume side of the business - is toxic. Her attempts to use the Aryanisation laws failed to succeed because they had already signed the business over to Christian friends and they escaped into temporary exile…following the war, they resumed their relationship with Chanel.
I admire Chanel for several things - not only her sense of style, but also her ability to escape her background and the sexism and classism she overcame. She is, however, not someone I personally like. She was involved with Iribe and his toxic, fascist, anti-Semitic views in the 1930s (she bankrolled his publication Le Temoin - a poisonous ultra-nationalist magazine that argued among other things that France was being destroyed from within by Jews), was extremely regressive in her labour relations (in contrast to, for example, Vionnet, who was very progressive and someone I admire). Having struggled so hard to make her life a success, she did nothing to ease the way for those women who came afterwards - suggesting that her own underpaid workers were all beautiful girls, and they could take lovers to make up the wage shortfall in what she paid them.
So, in short, not a card carrying member of the Nazi party, but sympathetic to some of their views and willing to do what it took to survive. Which is what Chanel was - a survivor. And she had the good and bad qualities that go with being someone willing to fight tooth and nail to survive. What really brought her in to the Nazi spheres during the war was not so much politics (her own views being rather nebulous) as pure power, and her own determination to survive, regardless of what happened to others.