Handbags and Accessories

The Chanel Vanity Case, An Era’s Most Coveted Design

By Erica Kagan
Shop Chanel Vanity Case : Iconic, Collectible and Available for Immediate Shipping
Chanel Vanity Case
Chanel Filigree Vanity

The Chanel Vanity Case

Ingenious designer Karl Lagerfeld was a master of creation, thoughtfully linking his novel ideas with the historical legacy of Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel. Thus, as the self-declared “channeler of Coco,” Lagerfeld stayed loyal to her most iconic designs, seamlessly adapting them for the modern woman. When Karl Lagerfeld took the reins of Maison Chanel in 1983, the success of his vision was immediate, as he inserted ready-to-wear into popular culture and restored Haute Couture to its former glory. In combining the allure of his own persona with that of Coco’s, Lagerfeld preserved Chanel’s image as the ultimate luxury brand. As such, the tremendous range of Lagerfeld's designs during his tenure were inspired by history, but always unexpected, and the Chanel Vanity Case is a prime example of this unique intersection.

Chanel Vanity Case Bag

History of Chanel Vanity Case Bag

Reminiscent of a jewelry box, or the cases women used to carry cosmetics and toiletries during travel, the Chanel Vanity Case is a modern interpretation of Audrey Hepburn-era accessories. The earliest iteration of the Chanel Vanity appeared during the ‘90s, released in black caviar leather with the iconic interlocking CC logo. While this style remained incredibly rare due to limited production at the time, the Vanity Case was reimagined for the Chanel Airlines Spring/Summer 2016 collection. Versatile and chic, the revived Vanity was an instant hit, including all the staple features of classic Chanel handbags. Much like the practical structure of real luggage, this Chanel bag unzips around the entire perimeter and contains numerous compartments for storage. Additionally, with both a shoulder strap and handle, the Chanel Vanity Case can be carried on the shoulder or held in hand. Lagerfeld designed the 2016 Vanity Case to be novel and glamorous in appearance, but practical and versatile in function, and he achieved just that.

Chanel Vanity Case CC Timeless Black Caviar Gold Hardware, 1994-1996

Vintage Chanel Vanity Case

An excellent condition Vintage Chanel Vanity Case is highly sought after by Chanel bag collectors. The vintage Chanel Vanity Case is often black caviar leather with raised embossed double C on the front and a top handle. Vintage Chanel Vanity Case sometimes comes with an included strap and lock and keys. It has a zip around top and opens to a large compartment with a side pocket.

Chanel Vanity Case

Modern Chanel Vanity Case Bag

For the Cruise 2020 show, Chanel launched the already iconic Chanel Vanity Case in a PVC patent leather model. Immediately, Chanel’s PVC Vanity sent shockwaves through the fashion world, surpassing the Hermès Birkin in immediate market resale value. Glamorized with pure platinum hardware and hand-dyed patent leather, the Vanity Cases from this collection were guaranteed to be 100% unique. From leather and rattan to denim and PVC, each variation of the Chanel Vanity Case Bag is highly collectible, unmistakably Chanel, and deserving of a spot in any luxury handbag collection. As a result of such high demand from Chanel clients, radical variations of the Chanel Vanity Case continue to pop up in seasonal collections. Notably, the Chanel Vanity Case was released for the Spring-Summer 2018 show in tweed and exotic leathers, signifying the final year Chanel would use exotic animal skin or fur in any collection.

Stay informed with Sotheby’s top stories, videos, events & news.

Receive the best from Sotheby’s delivered to your inbox.

By subscribing you are agreeing to Sotheby’s Privacy Policy. You can unsubscribe from Sotheby’s emails at any time by clicking the “Manage your Subscriptions” link in any of your emails.

More from Sotheby's