Chanel is synonymous with Gabrielle Chanel (aka Coco Chanel), the fiercely imaginative fashion icon who created the first flap cover and chain-link strap, the Chanel handbag. The chain-link strap was adopted from the key chain worn by the convent chatelaines where she lived for a few years. The burgundy coloured lining was inspired by the colour of the uniforms worn by the orphans there. Again, the matelassé leather was inspired by the quilted jackets worn by jockeys.
Certain signature features make it easy to identify a Chanel bag. For example, the turn lock in the flap bag is called the “mademoiselle lock” since Chanel never got married. The interlocked CC logo stands for Coco Chanel although many say it represents Chanel and Capel – Chanel’s lover Arthur ‘Boy’ Capel who also funded her first store. With beautiful designs inspired by a rich history, Chanel is a primary ruler in the fashion world.
A Chanel bag is an investment
Chanel bags are hand-crafted but not entirely hand-stitched. First, the leather is selected carefully and cut to perfection. Then the bare minimum of the bag is carefully put through machine stitching. A worker may take about 4-5 years to master the art of using the sewing machine on the bags. The rest, adding on the smoothly operating zips/ fasteners and straps, are completely done by skilled artisans by hand ensuring the long life of the bag.
These women’s bags are crafted with extra care using rich materials, which is why they have maximum durability. These bags, not surprisingly, are called timeless classics. Chanel bag prices have steadily increased over the years. What may have cost USD 700 in the 80’s, now costs nearly USD 2500. If you don’t own a Chanel and feel it’s time to buy one, just go ahead and take your pick out of the many existing designs! Its value will only increase and it will certainly never go out of fashion. Also, there is a huge market for pre-owned luxury goods in case you want to refresh your closet.
3 of the most iconic Chanel bags and their average prices:
1. Chanel Quilted Leather Classic Flap Bag
Introduced in February 1955, the Classic Flap bag is a milestone in fashion lore as the first ever shoulder bag for women. Karl Lagerfeld re-created the bag in 2007, with the ‘2.55 reissue’.
The handbag has one flap with snap closure and an extended lip with a turn-knob lock. Two open pockets in the inside compartment sit below the CC logo stitched on the inside flap, below a zip pocket. The signature chain-links serve as a shoulder strap.
The bag is available in 7 sizes mainly made of lambskin, perforated lambskin, caviar and patent leather with a matelassé finish. Alligator and python bags are collector’s items. The flap bag is also available in jersey and velvet material, sometimes with embellishments. The permanent colours used are black and beige; white, pink, red and navy are less common. The hardware comes in gold-tone, silver tone, gunmetal, and vintage finishes.
Choose the leather for your bag based on how you would use it. Lambskin, for example, is delicate while caviar is tough and durable. The Chanel quilted leather classic flap bag price increases with size. The typical cost for the Chanel flap bag is around $3000.
Whether caviar, patent or lambskin leather, the price is usually the same. Exotic alligator and python cost more while velvet/jersey material flap bags cost less. The flap bag is a versatile accessory that goes well with casuals or formal clothes. Shop for your next Chanel bag here.
2. Chanel Quilted Leather Boy Flap Bag
With clearly defined lines, a complete flap over and a CC turn lock, the Boy bag is a modernized version of the classic flap bag. Introduced in the Fall/Winter collection of 2011, the bag is named in honour of Coco Chanel’s partner ‘Boy’ Capel and inspired by the hunting cartridge bag that she used as a purse while riding. The simple design includes one inside flat pocket, a push-lock and a long ruthenium chain strap that can be worn crossbody or looped over on one shoulder.
Chanel ‘boy’ bags are available in four sizes- small, medium, new medium and large. Lambskin, goatskin, calfskin, patent leather, woven calfskin, and embellished leather are used for these bags. Some ‘Boy’ bags are also made of tweed. They come in gold-tone, silver-tone, gunmetal or vintage. The price of ‘Boy’ bags increase with size and the exotic leather costs more than the regular leathers. ‘Boy’ bags with designs on the flap are more expensive than regular bags.
The average price for Chanel quilted leather Boy flap bag is around USD 4300.
Boy bags exude an androgynous feel. Favoured by celebrities, the Boy bag can be slung across the body over jeans, shirt or boots or loop it over the shoulder with a formal suit. Shop from a collection here.
3. Chanel Caviar Leather Shopper Tote Bag
This roomy Chanel bag with a broad base made of caviar leather is an all-purpose bag. The leather lining has a zippered and an open flap pocket. Leather woven chain links make the shoulder straps.
The three main sizes – Grande, Medium and Petite- are named according to variations in colour and bling. The Grand Shopping Tote has been discontinued and is available only as a pre-owned item. The Chanel caviar leather shopper tote bag prices range from USD 2200 for the Petite bag to USD 3500 for the Grande shopping tote.
Find the one that best suits your style or start a collection. These classic bags will never go out of style and are sure to grab attention every time you step out with one on your shoulder!