So! You’ve finally saved up the several thousand dollars you need to buy your dream bag – a classic Chanel Flap Purse. Now, before you hand your money to the kind people at Chanel, have you done your research on what you are actually paying for?
This question finally dawned on me upon my visit yesterday to the Club Monaco store at Rideau Centre. Club Monaco has undergone a recent renovation and relocation within the mall and it is beautiful. The store now features a light, bright airy space with carrera marble floors, gilded and black accents and a series of salons for its menswear, women’s wear, accessories and sale section. I absolutely love how the new store looks – a welcome change from the dated, open-concept space it occupied before… and believe it or not, I am not a fan of “open concept” floorplans. I love demarcation in living spaces (seeing a sinkful of dirty dishes while sitting in a living room is not conducive to relaxation), but I digress…
Near the cashier’s desk is a beautiful ebony wood and glass display case full of vintage Chanel bags! I stopped dead in my tracks and gasped at the display case full of classic gorgeousness. I quickly summoned a sales associate and he let me try on each of the bags and then I knew…I am definitely going to own a Chanel bag one day.
I glanced at the price tags in the hopes that since they were vintage, maybe they would be somewhat affordable, but seeing the selling price was the equivalent of a punch in the stomach. They revealed the cold hard reality that these bags never, ever lose their value and they are as much of a sound investment as real estate. The bags started at $3200, and I promised myself that when I got home, I was going to do a little research on why exactly these bags were so expensive.
Here are the fruits of my research. Hopefully, it will help you feel a bit better about buying a bag that costs the same as a used car.
Excellent quality leather
When I think Chanel Bag, the first image that comes to mind is its buttery soft, diamond-patterned, quilted leather – especially lambskin leather.
Lambskin leather – the most coveted of the range of leathers offered by Chanel, is prone to scratches and dents due to its soft, silky smooth texture if not cared for properly. If treated carefully, Chanel’s top-quality lambskin will maintain its shape and lustre and last for decades.
Caviar leather, the second most popular, is pebbled calfskin which is treated and hardened to achieve its signature look. It is much more sturdy for daily use. Some consider it less lustrous, but beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
Another characteristic that significantly boosts the price of Chanel bags – specifically those with gold-toned hardware, is just that – the golden touches.
I was surprised to find out that all of the hardware on a gold-toned Chanel bag is in fact 22K-24K gold-plated brass. The hardware on all Chanel bags is solid, heavy metal – not hollow. I remember the first time I tried on a Chanel bag in Vegas, I was surprised at the weight of the chain and leather strap! Très luxurious!!
Screws are also an interesting feature of these bags. To fasten hardware together and to leather, Chanel uses flathead and Hex type screws, never Phillips. A little factoid for the Bob the Builder in each of us.
Another interesting factoid? The classic burgundy leather interior was initially implemented for two reasons: First, it mimics the color of the robes worn by Gabrielle Chanel’s childhood caretakers. Secondly, it offers a contrasting background therefore making it much easier to find your keys, lipstick and other essentials within the bag. This is something I usually look for when buying a nice bag – a light or contrasting interior. So frustrating rooting around for something in a rush in the blackhole of your handbag!
Interesting factoid #3: The zippered compartment in the bag’s front flap was rumoured to be created by Coco Chanel as a place for her to hide her love letters! LOVE!!!
A classic Chanel bag in a neutral colour will never go out of style. The classic flap bag has been popular since 1929. From Elizabeth Taylor to any random current celebrity, Chanel bags are coveted by all. I highly doubt you will find a Chanel bag in a bargain bin in this lifetime (but if you do, call me: 1-613-867-5309).
As noted above, these bags are a sound investment. If you have been lusting after one for a while, you may as well buy it now. Prices are only getting higher. The resale market for Chanel bags is booming as there are droves of people constantly on the hunt for secondhand options. If you do plan on selling your Chanel, take care of it and keep it in the best condition possible. A Chanel bag does not deserve to sit on the floor (bad luck) or outside on the ground and for God’s sake ladies, don’t put it on the floor of a public bathroom! #CardinalSin
I wasn’t aware of this, but Chanel has wait lists that no one really speaks of. The most popular Chanel bag styles are generally sold out at most stores and it seems like tracking down certain styles requires a few stops at different stores. While their waiting lists aren’t as long and infuriating as those of Hermès, it can still be pretty hard to get your hands on the exact Chanel flap bag you want…therefore driving resale prices higher.
Good ol’ Karl knows that everyone under the sun wants Chanel bags, so why bother maintaining current prices or even lowering them? That’s not how capitalism works. Funnily enough, as prices rise, more bags sell. There is a certain prestige attached to those lucky enough to have a Chanel bag grace their arm…some people consider themselves very lucky to have the same bag as a socialite or royalty. Humans are funny beings….
Let’s not forget also that elite brands want to appear “elite”, so the first thing they do is boost prices. These brands also know that they don’t necessarily need to appeal to those who buy $500 bags. They are now focusing on the extremely wealthy from Russia, China, the Middle East and the one-percent here in North America. What’s a $5000 bag to someone who only wears $100,000 couture dresses?
I hope you all found this post interesting! I know that I learned a few things conducting the “research process” for this post! Who else wants a Chanel bag and if so, which one in particular? What other dream bags are you coveting? Let me know in the comments!