We all have to start somewhere and gaining an insight into Chanel bags before making that first purchase can be the difference between elation and disappointment. There are so many different styles, materials, and designs to choose from it can be overwhelming at times. So, to help beginners and even seasoned Chanel bag collectors, we have created this beginner’s guide to Chanel bags.
Chanel Bag History
Let’s begin with a little bit on the background and history of Chanel bags to help you gain a deeper understanding of these iconic pieces of art. The history of the Chanel bag goes right back to the 1920s, when Coco Chanel became tired of carrying her handbags in her arms, as was the style of the time. She decided to take matters into her own hands, or out of her own hands as was the case, and designed a handbag which freed up her hands completely.
This design was inspired by soldier’s bags which had a strap to help keep soldier’s hands free when running or in battle. She added thin straps to her bag and introduced the design to the fashion world in 1929, revolutionizing the handbag industry forever. 25 years later, in 1954, she updated her handbag and released the following year, creating the iconic 2.55 design. These two dates are etched in history as revolutionary dates, not only for the Chanel brand, but also for the fashion and handbag industry as a whole.
The 2.55 Bag
As mentioned above, the 2.55 bag is perhaps the most iconic of all Chanel bags. It was released in February 1955, hence the name which reflects the date. The main feature of the bag is the long, thin strap which allows the bags to be worn over the shoulder, freeing up the wearers hands while still maintaining an elegant and ladylike appearance.
The original design of the 2.55 bag remains on the market today, however, there have been numerous altercations, upgrades, and limited edition versions of the bag released over the last 50 or so years. Each season sees new colors, new fabrics, and new embellishments added to the classic design. This makes the 2.55 bag one of the most flexible in terms of design and material of the whole Chanel range.
The core design of the bag itself features seven pockets, two of which are insert pockets, one is a smaller middle pocket, designed to store lipstick or other makeup accessories, an outside pocket found at the back of the bag, designed for quick access to loose change or tickets, the so-called ‘Mona Lisa’s Smile’ pocket, named because the shape is reminiscent of the famous model’s wry smile, and a discreet inner pocket, where Coco Chanel kept her love notes whilst having an affair.
The bag is carefully crafted by an artisan and can take up to 15 hours to make, including the hand stitching process, design, and other minute details. All 2.55 bags are crafted in one of five locations located in a small town north of Paris.
The 11.12 Bag
Another popular model of Chanel bag is the 11.12, made famous because it was the first bag to feature the interlocking double CC lock. Designed by Karl Lagerfeld, who based it as an interpretation of Gabrielle Chanel’s original 2.55, the 11.12 bag also features a woven leather chain strap. Once again the 11.12 bag is quite flexible in terms of design, material, and colors. The latest edition of the bag, released for the autumn/winter ‘15/’16 collection was embellished with wonderful mosaic embroideries on lambskin material.
The Chanel Boy Bag
A relatively recent addition to the Chanel bag collection, the Boy Bag was released at the autumn/winter ‘11/’12 collection launch and has quickly become a favorite. The design of the bag is made to resemble one of Gabrielle Chanel’s great loves, Arthur Boy Capel. It is one of the most unique bags in the Chanel collection as it is so different to what people would expect from the world-class designers, rejecting the usual Chanel aesthetic. However, it remains quite chic and feminine in its unique way and it is this uniqueness which has really helped the Boy Bag jump into the fore of people’s minds when they consider which style they desire.
The Chanel Boy Bag is available in five different sizes ranging from mini to maxi, depending on your needs. It features a thicker chain than other Chanel bags such as the 11.12 while the hardware is made out of ruthenium, a quality material which can withstand rust, rot, and degrading.
The Girl Chanel Bag
A newcomer to the Chanel family, the Girl Chanel Bag was debuted in the spring/summer ’15 show and became an instant hit. Once again Chanel decided that a bold design was the best policy and fused their handbag heritage with a casual, ready to wear look. The result is stunning, with the flexibility in the bag outstanding. Wearers can tie a knot in it and wear it as they please, on the hip, around the neck, on the back, and anywhere else they can think of. This design is perfect for a casual day bag and with such incredible flexibility can complement almost any outfit.
Chanel Bag Value Appreciation
Something that is often overlooked by Chanel bag enthusiasts when making their first, or even tenth, purchase is the potential appreciation in value of their bag. Many of the styles mentioned above are increasing in value at an alarming rate, meaning that your dream purchase could actually be a wise investment also. Securing a collectable, rare, or limited edition Chanel bag is a wise move, not only for the beauty in the design, but also because the value of the bag is very likely to increase over the period you are using it.
It I also worth considering which hardware you have on your bag. Although a bag with tons of bells and whistles may be appealing, it can be much more difficult to sell when the time is right. If you care about reselling the bag in the future or using it as an investment piece, stick with the more traditional styles which boat a traditional chain and visible interlocking CCs.
Beware of Counterfeits
Finally, the most important thing to bear in mind when purchasing your first Chanel bag is the increasing number of counterfeits flooding the marketplace. Unless you are an expert in authenticating Chanel bags, the best policy is to purchase from a reputable buyer. There are a range of businesses which attempt to con uneducated people out of their hard earned money by posting pictures of real bags and sending fake ones. Be extremely careful when dealing with businesses you don’t know or are unsure of. Using a business such as Baghunter, which is an A+ rated BBB accredited business is highly recommended. Why not see what Chanel bags we have in stock at the moment?