Handbags and Accessories

Chanel Boy Bag: The ‘It-Girl’ Staple

By Erica Kagan
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Chanel Boy Bag
Chanel Boy Bag

A Modern-Day Debut, Rooted in History

TheBoy Bag debuted in the Chanel Fall/Winter collection of 2011, striking a chord among handbag lovers and romantics alike. Despite its emergence only a decade ago, the Boy Bag has cemented a place as a mainstay in Chanel’s collection. As the story goes, explained by legendary designer Karl Lagerfeld, “Chanel used men’s underwear to make dresses; she had this boyish attitude, in fact, it is the very spirit of Chanel. She got it from Boy Capel, the great love of her life, which, incidentally, explains why the new bag is called the Boy Chanel.” Arthur “Boy” Capel was an English polo player, as well asCoco Chanel’s muse and greatest love, with whom she had a passionate nine-year affair. Boy Capel championed Coco’s radical spirit, and supported her mission to push the boundaries of femininity and gender norms. With the Boy Bag, Chanel pays homage to this very spirit and inspired relationship.

Desired among shoppers for its more masculine shape, the Chanel Boy Bag is characterized by its lego-brick lock and main body framed by straight edges. A departure from the more classic Chanel handbag styles, the Boy Bag lured in hip, edgy ‘it-girls,’ including Stella Maxwell and Miley Cyrus. Constantly met with a surge of demand, the Boy Bag remains at the top of the wish-list for a new generation of handbag shoppers.

Chanel Boy Bag large Metallic Green Quilted Calfskin Ruthenium and Enamel Inlay Hardware, 2014

Endless Variations of the Boy Bag

In addition to its versatile silhouette, the Chanel Boy Bag is admired for the range of size availability and unique, limited-edition versions that drop each season. Hence, with each new collection comes exciting and unexpected variations of the Boy Bag, keeping the Chanel community always eager for more.

Since its launch in 2011, the Boy Bag has been released in six sizes at various points in time: the mini, small, old medium, new medium, large, and XL. The uniquely identifiable elements of the Chanel Boy Bag have also been translated into different silhouettes, including the tote, clutch, traditional wallet, and wallet on chain (WOC).

Chanel Boy Wallet on Chain Black Quilted Patent Leather Gold Hardware, 2015-2016

Signature Features

From quilting to hardware, the Boy Bag is characterized by defining features that are seamlessly integrated into distinct, limited-edition variations. The Boy Bag is most frequently released in a classic quilt, but other body patterns include the sleek chevron quilting, and ‘reverso’ quilting, which has an unquilted body and a quilted frame. Among the rarest iterations of the Boy Bag is one with a horizontal quilt, and because of its limited availability, this style remains highly sought-after.

Chanel Boy Cardholder with Chain Green Quilted Grained Calfskin Gold Hardware, 2021

With such a versatile frame, the Boy Bag has been crafted in a range of materials, from diverse leathers to luxurious textiles. The most common leathers include caviar, lambskin, patent and goatskin, while tweed and leather are the predominant fabrics. Other unique editions have included canvas, PVC, and denim textiles. It is also worth noting that the Boy Bag has been released in bold combinations of exotic materials, including crocodile, python and stingray. In 2018, after Chanel announced that they would no longer produce items with exotic materials, the already hefty price tags on these particular Boy Bags skyrocketed on the resale market.

Even the most distinguishable element of the Chanel Boy Bag, the lego-brick lock with a double CC center, has varied over the years. Evidently, the Boy Bag is constantly experimented with, solidifying it as a highly coveted piece that is simultaneously classic and avant-garde.

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