The Chanel brand has long been underpinned by a number of innovative, statement moves – not only securing its position as a top luxury brand, but also ensuring that the brand remains recognised across the board as a revolutionary name in the world of fashion.
Founded in 1910 by Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel, the brand is a revolutionary in the world of fashion and luxury accessories, and has spearheaded some of the most notable trends in the world. But, as time goes on and other brands take on the role of competitor, even the most popular of brands need to explore new design trends and avenues to remain on top – which is where collaborations so often come into play.
In this blog, we’re exploring the various collaborations that Chanel is known for – both on and off the design table.
By far the most notorious collaborations that Chanel has been a part of are those which epitomise its lead designers – from Coco Chanel, who created the iconic 2.55 shoulder bag, to Karl Lagerfeld, who brought Chanel’s most notable designs into the modern world of fashion.
Throughout its history, Chanel has worked with a series of notable designers and partners – but there is no better way to really track its history than by looking at the 2.55 bag and considering the changes that have been made over the years.
Crucially, the shape and overall concept of the bag today are still very much the same as they were when Chanel herself launched the bag. The strap remains long, the flap keeps the bag closed, and the varying sizes are all accessible for everyday use. What has changed are details that suit different audiences – from adding the double-C lock to creating a multitude of colours and limited-edition design creations to meet different themes and trends.
The most recent name behind the creative direction at Chanel is Virginie Viard, a designer who worked with Karl Lagerfeld at Chanel for over 30 years, and who was carefully selected to continue expanding on his legacy – bridging Chanel’s unrivalled luxury reputation with everyday fashion and style.
Moving on to celebrity collaborations, we want to touch upon one which occurred in 2019 and which really highlighted Chanel’s commitment to brand legacy. The brand partnered with Director Sofia Coppola to create a tribute to Coco Chanel, selecting the director not only for her unique style, but because she actually worked as an intern for the Chanel brand back in Karl Lagerfeld’s day.
Other celebrity collaborations can be seen across Chanel’s various advertising campaigns and launches, including Pharrell Williams, who partnered with the brand to produce an exclusive collection. It is high-profile collaborations like these that inject energy into the brand, and which help it to appeal to and capture new audiences and new markets – particularly in the age of technology where young people are constantly buoyed by celebrity trends and influencers.
But it’s not all celebrity designers and one-off handbag launches that drive the collaborative magic of Chanel.
Sustainability Collaborations and Partnerships
The collaborative spirit of Chanel does not end with its unique and limited-edition handbags and other accessories – in fact, some of the brand’s most notable partnerships in recent years are centred on becoming a more sustainable brand for a better future.
In 2021, a new collaboration between Chanel and the University of Cambridge was announced, demonstrating the designer’s commitment to driving forward sustainable innovation across the manufacturing process. One of the biggest driving forces behind this campaign was to educate key management teams across Chanel, inspiring them to raise awareness across their teams and to build a comprehensive response to biodiversity concerns, climate change, and how the brand’s manufacturing and material-sourcing process impacts global resources.
Two years prior, in 2018, Chanel had already pledged a ban on the use of exotic leathers, including the skin of snakes, lizards, crocodiles, and other animals. This was matched in 2021 by further funding for Chanel’s future leaders, sponsoring under-represented students, as referenced by Chanel’s own chief sustainability officer.
To quote Chanel’s sustainability team, “This new partnership reflects key pillars of our business transformation: from research and insights that deepen our understanding to finding tangible solutions that positively impact our supply chain and wider communities. This is underpinned by educational initiatives that will help to embed a sustainability mindset to accelerate change.”
This kind of collaboration goes beyond the aesthetic presentation of Chanel’s high-value handbags, and demonstrates how the brand is not only a leader in the fashion world, but a thought leader across the world of consumer goods. Leading by example is something which Coco Chanel has long been recognised for, having dreamed up the Little Black Dress and shoulder bags, among other trends – with sustainability in the luxury goods industry just another string on Chanel’s bow.
Is a Chanel Bag a Good Investment?
What all of this shows is that Chanel unites its heritage and legacy with fresh, innovative, and exciting brand collaborations – whether they are across new product lines or behind the scenes of the brand’s operations.
Through design partnerships and celebrity ambassadors, not to mention a marketing campaign that ticks both style and climate boxes, Chanel is a brand of the future which holds a 100+ year-old history.
When you think about luxury brands and the finest handbags in the world, Chanel is a brand on the tip of most consumers’ tongues – and it’s this reputation which elevates the status of each Chanel bag to become an excellent investment. Whether you buy for your own use or as an investment, a Chanel bag will regularly increase in value over time, ebbing and flowing as demand and supply change.
And, with reputable and professional resellers right on your doorstep in London, it couldn’t be easier to find your perfect match and bring home your perfect Chanel bag – whether it’s a brand classic or a limited-edition piece from one of the brand’s many collaborations.