Classic Chanel bags are among the world’s most recognisable accessories and are beloved by many celebrities, including Alexa Chung, Katie Holmes, Jackie O, and Brigitte Bardot. Also valuable, which explains the enormous demand for vintage and used copies. Additionally, the market is expanding: during the past year, searches for “vintage Chanel bags” have increased globally.
This statistic is hardly shocking given that, according to the Handbag Clinic, the RRP of new iterations has increased by 71% from the pre-pandemic period. But it’s also because sustainability is a topic that the industry is getting more and more concerned with. While many companies release recycled and environmentally friendly collections, experts emphasise that the most sustainable item is one you already possess. However, if you still want the dopamine rush that shopping provides, consider purchasing second-hand items. September is a great month to begin.
That is not to argue that a pre-owned Chanel is inexpensive. Maintaining value often indicates timelessness, much as they always appreciate Birkin, which makes choosing the proper bag all the more crucial. Fortunately, the growth of e-commerce has made it considerably more straightforward. After all, risk-free rummaging through antique shops and flea markets may sound romantic. However, with the development of second-hand marketplaces like Lampoo and Vestiaire Collective, as well as the addition of pre-owned merchandise to luxury e-tailers like Selfridges and Farfetch, purchasing authentic antique bags has become even more straightforward.
However, it pays to be organised and knowledgeable about obtaining the most excellent offer (and spotting counterfeits). We have established the rules in this handy guide to purchasing a vintage Chanel purse.
An Overview of Chanel Flap Bags’ History
Knowing what you’re looking at is helpful when buying antique Chanel bags online. Although the 2.55 is the most recognisable of the house’s accessories, did you realise it has undergone several iterations?
You guessed it: 1955 saw the release of the original 2.55. One of the earliest bags with a strap that allowed women to hold a bag or pouch without having to hold the top handle was this one. Coco Chanel was already making waves with her uncomplicated approach to design and frequent inspiration from menswear. Women’s clothing, for the first time in history, had pockets, was manufactured from soft materials like jersey, and did away with painful boning and petticoats. It’s hardly surprising that the 2.55 became an immediate symbol since it was stylish and liberated simultaneously.
This diamond-quilted leather item had a chain strap that floated inside two rings, allowing it to be worn over the shoulder or slid through to create a more prolonged cross-body effect (Chanel used to stitch chains to the hem of coats and skirts to preserve the correct drape). In addition to a helpful divider and a secure zippered compartment, the burgundy interior had a slide pocket on the rear for storing money or lipstick. Who knew storage could symbolise the worldly, independent mid-century woman? Because of these characteristics, some have referred to the 2.55 as a “rebellious” bag.
Your best option for figuring out when your 2.55 was produced is the lock, which Karl Lagerfeld modified as one of the first things after taking over as the company’s design director in 1983. He gave in to the era’s obsession with logos and changed the original “Mademoiselle” rectangular twist-lock to the double “C” form that we all know and love (which proved successful). Additionally, he adopted the leather-interwoven chain, which had previously been a temporary addition to support the handles of the original bags when resources were running low. Maintaining an open mind regarding this aspect is essential because the quilted leather top is frequently seen in a diamond configuration, despite matelassé and chevron patterns quickly following. Many people call this re-release the 11.12 or simply the Chanel flap bag.
During his tenure at the French design brand, Lagerfeld also unveiled new variations of this ornament. The Diana, designed in 1989 for Diana, The Great Princess of Wales, and the Boy bag was named after Gabrielle Chanel’s first lover, Arthur “Boy” Capel, are two of his most well-known creations. Additionally, Chanel bag production techniques were altered by Lagerfeld.
“Before 2008, the flap bag’s hardware was produced from 24-carat gold, with a typical hallmark that revealed the nature of metal,” said Erika Vecchiatti, Head of Brand Valuation at Lampoon. Factors like these make research essential for investment purchases and may persuade you to acquire vintage Chanel purses rather than previously owned models.
How to locate pre-owned Chanel bags (and how to spot a fake)
You should only buy antique Chanel from trusted vendors that have genuine pieces. Although it may.