Ever considered treating yourself to a Chanel handbag? Or just curious to know why they're so special? This one's for you. We go over some of the most popular handbags made by the French brand, what they're known for and in some cases how they were created.
A Chanel handbag is a classic, investment piece that only increases in value. The high-quality material used to construct it makes it durable to last a good many decades (as long as you take care of it) and most seasoned luxury shoppers prefer investing in classic or iconic products because they know it will always be in demand and continue to grow in value with time. In fact, Forbes reported in 2020 that according to Art Market Research, luxury handbags have spiked an average of 83% in value over the last decade!
THE FLAP BAG
A flap bag is one of the most common products associated with the house of Chanel (besides the No. 5 fragrance, of course).
Crafted in the 1920s but perfected in February 1955, the aptly named 2.55 flap bag is still considered THE Chanel bag to have in your collection. Funnily enough, this handbag was made because Coco Chanel wanted her hands free when she was out and about - she added the strap to the top and began to throw her bag over her shoulder.
She's quoted by Justine Picardie in her book Coco Chanel: The Legacy and The Life saying, “I got fed up with holding my purses in my hands and losing them, so I added a strap and carried them over my shoulder”. The 2.55 is made with quilted leather and has the original rectangular 'mademoiselle' turn lock to open and close the bag, along with a double flap over the bag and very practical compartments. There's one open pocket at the back of the bag for loose change, a middle compartment that has enough room for a few makeup items and the main pocket for all your day-to-day things. When Karl Lagerfeld was appointed as the Artistic Director for the brand in 1983, he presented his reinterpretation of the original 2.55 flap bag as what is known today as the Classic handbag. He changed the Mademoiselle lock to the interlocking CCs to match the house's logo and wove leather through the chain to add weight and reduce the amount of metal used in the strap. With time Lagerfeld introduced newer, contemporary bags inspired by the flap bag's design like the Boy handbag and smaller leather accessories like the wallet on chain (above).
THE DAILY TOTE
If you were alive in the 2000s, you'll remember seeing the Chanel Grand Shopping Tote everywhere including on Paris Hilton, and Lauren Conrad during her days on The Hills. Unfortunately, Chanel discontinued the GST in 2015 and it is now one of the brand's most sought after product on the second-hand market (buy here).
Its replacement was the equally chic Gabrielle bag (right) named after the brand's founder. Like most of the brand's bags, the Gabrielle bag is also made with quilted leather and is offered as a cross-body hobo bag, a backpack and smaller clutches – if you don't want to buy a classic flap bag, the Gabrielle is a very versatile alternative to invest in. The sturdy base provides good support and retains the bag's structure for longer. The double chain strap can be worn the traditional way over the shoulder or across the body, but some influencers choose to separate the straps and drape one over each shoulder. Meghan Markle and Camila Coelho are big fans too!
MAKE A STATEMENT
This is not to say that shoppers don't invest in trend-forward pieces. Oftentimes, it's the limited edition, runway-friendly bags that are most coveted on pre-loved platforms!
Kim Kardashian and momager Kris Jenner have been seen in the past carrying a handbag-version of the iconic Nº 5 perfume bottle after it appeared on the runway in 2013. Chanel's Autumn/Winter 2014 Shopping Centre within the walls of the Grand Palais hosted a range of the brand's own version of supermarket basics, including a pearl-encrusted silver milk carton branded with the words 'lait de Coco'. My personal favourite of the lot is the Vanity Case. Available in different shapes, it retains the charm of iconic Chanel identifiers with the quilted leather, gold hardware and the ever-present interlocking 'CC' logo. You can purchase the bag in a range of sizes and if you're dipping your toe into buying a Chanel bag, I would recommend this one!
If you could, which would be the first Chanel handbag you'd want for yourself? Tell us on Instagram!