Handbags and Accessories

8 Chanel Bags Every Collector Needs

By Lucy Bishop
Shop Chanel Bags , Available for Immediate Purchase at Sotheby's
Pink Chanel Bag

Collecting Chanel Bags

While every season Chanel introduces new bags, there are classics from past seasons that every Chanel collector. needs in their closet At Sotheby's our Buy Now marketplace is the place to shop modern and vintage Chanel bag classics. Browse Chanel double flaps, single flap bags and limited edition bags in leather, tweed and even exotics before 2019. Chanel has been making iconic bags since 1955 when Coco Chanel introduced the first flap bag. Its enduring popularity remains today.

Below we highlight the 8 Chanel bags every collector needs including a few variations on the flap bag.

Chanel Flap Bag

1 | Beige Caviar Chanel Double Flap

Nothing is more versatile or classic than a Chanel double flap in beige caviar leather. The Chanel double flap remains one of the most popular Chanel bags and a collection is not complete without a Chanel double flap in neutral beige in caviar leather. Caviar leather is scratch resistant so this is a bag you can wear for years to come. The medium size is the perfect to carry essentials but also small enough to carry day to night. The double flap with diamond-stitched quilting (inspired by men’s jackets at the racetrack) and chain strap were revolutionary when Coco Chanel first introduced it in 1955 and remains iconic today.

Chanel Classic Double Flap

2 | Vintage Chanel Classic Double Flap in Black Lambskin

The Chanel bag that would ultimately become synonymous with the brand was not created until 1983. The Chanel Classic Double Flap was first introduced when Karl Lagerfeld became creative director and decided to reinterpret Chanel’s iconic 2.55 Flap Bag. From his artistic vision came two new features – a leather woven chain and Double C turn-lock closure. Lagerfeld’s Classic Double Flap was a breakout success. In spring 2021, the Chanel Classic Flap was renamed to the 11.12, in honor of the original Medium Classic Flap’s style code – A01112. The universal wearability and simplicity of the Chanel Classic Double Flap solidifies this handbag as an iconic statement piece. In addition, the Classic Flap comes with an endless range of options, including quilting (the iconic classic vs. the more youthful chevron), leathers, sizes, and hardware combinations. While the Chanel Classic Flap comes in two main variations – single and double – the double flap version has an extra interior flap. This interior flap separates the interior of the handbag from the main exterior flap. Beyond the practicality of the Chanel Double Flap’s multiple pockets to organize one’s daily essentials, a playful anecdote has long been rumored around the history of these compartments – Chanel purse loyalists say that Coco Chanel would hide her love letters in the zip pocket located underneath the handbag’s outer flap. Each Classic Double Flap bag is handcrafted at the Ateliers de Verneuil-en-Halatte, one of Chanel’s prized Metiers d’Art workshops. The artisans at this shop have each trained for a minimum of four years, mastering every technique required to meticulously craft the Chanel Classic Double Flap, a process that takes a total of 15 hours and up to 180 operations. Almost thirty years later, and out of all the Chanel handbags on the market, the Classic Double Flap remains one of the most sought-after pieces ever crafted.

Chanel Graffiti Backpack

3 |Chanel Graffiti Backpack

The Chanel Graffiti backpack was from the Spring/Summer 2014 collection. While some hated the season, others were obsessed. When the Chanel graffiti backpack was first released it started a frenzy. The Chanel Graffiti backpack would go on to become an early 2010s icon with multiple celebrities spotted wearing it. The Chanel canvas backpack sold for $3,400 when it was released which was considered very high considering leather bags were selling for a similar price. The Graffiti backpack now sells for about $15,000 depending on the condition. The entire collection was inspired by the arts and remains an iconic collection from the late Karl Lagerfeld.

Chanel Mini Flap

4 |Discontinued Exotic Chanel Mini Flap

One type of Chanel bag you can only get from the secondary market is an exotic material bag since Chanel discontinued using exotic animal skins in May 2019. Chanel is no longer making bags using the skin of snakes, crocodiles, alligators, lizards or stringrays. While exotic Chanel bags are becoming increasingly harder to find in excellent condition, a Chanel mini flap in black alligator is a quintessential bag for every Chanel collector.

Chanel Tweed Bag

5 | Chanel Tweed bag

Coco Chanel designed the first Chanel suit in tweed in 1921. These suits were the inspiration for Chanel tweed bags and no collection could be complete without a Chanel tweed bag. Every season Chanel produces its classic bags in tweed and a collection wouldn't be complete without a tweed Chanel bag.

Bags Chanel

6 | Chanel Perfume Bottle Bag: A Not-So Classic Icon

After debuting in the Chanel Cruise 2014 collection, the plexiglass Perfume Bottle Bag was a sensational hit. Modeled after the iconic Chanel No. 5 Perfume bottle, these unconventional Chanel bags are adored among fashion trendsetters. Sported by the likes of Kim Kardashian and Kris Jenner, this Chanel purse shines in the spotlight. The limited availability of the Perfume Bottle Bag enhances its appeal, as it remains a coveted piece on the resale market. A modern interpretation of Chanel’s most recognizable perfume bottle, this playful conversation piece is a dream evening bag.

7 | Chanel Kelly Bag

Chanel Kelly Bag

Vintage Chanel Kelly bags with the single top handle regularly sell within days of being listed on Sotheby's Buy Now marketplace. The recent reintroduction in 2023 of the Chanel Mini Nano Kelly bag has also increased the demand and popularity of the vintage Chanel Kelly bags from the 1990s. The classic shape and mini size with the front double C is instantly recognizable and always popular with collectors.

Chanel Denim Bag

8 | Chanel Denim Bag

Chanel has been using denim in bags since the 1990s and every season there are styles using the material. A Chanel bag collection isn't complete without a denim bag. While we love the vintage mini flaps, the modern denim Chanel bags are also great to consider for a denim Chanel bag. Blake Lively has been spotted with a quilted denim single flap bag in denim with gold hardware.


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