There are some luxury brands that owe as much to celebrity influencers and A-list customers as they do to the manufacturers who create the products in the first place. Some of the best and most successful luxury brands owe much of their prestige and status to the individuals who wear their goods out and about – turning products into pop culture must-haves and highly sought-after trends.
Chanel is one such brand that has enjoyed incredible success, thanks in part to the revolutionary attitude and designs of its founder Coco Chanel, and in part to the prolonged success of its individual products and collections in the eyes of buyers and investors. Chanel bags in particular benefit from the stark imbalance between supply and demand, with high demand and very limited supply shrouding every release in a coveted, exclusive status – just like other high-end brands, like Hermès and Louis Vuitton. What’s more, this status is further enhanced by the presentation of Chanel bags as something that the rich and famous own and that customers, with the right budget, can achieve as well.
Let’s take a closer look at the influence of Chanel in pop culture and some examples of where Chanel bags have shown up.
Chanel on the Big Screen
One of the most prominent examples of Chanel on the big screen doesn’t actually refer to a handbag but rather to a dress – the little black dress worn by Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, to be specific.
The dress, which was designed by Coco Chanel for the actress to wear in the movie, created a whole new trend and corner of the fashion world – one which is heralded today as a stylistic turning point.
Sticking with Breakfast at Tiffany’s, there is also an excellent example of a Chanel handbag taking the spotlight – not just elevating the character’s approach to style, but also epitomising the moments where she acts and feels the most “herself”. The use of a Chanel bag during these scenes and moments is crucial, as it underpins the most important aspects of the character and makes her a recognisable, relatable figure on screen.
All of this, just from holding an accessory. Yet, it’s the inclusion of this bag in the movie that told style lovers everywhere that the right bag could transform their own experiences and their own opportunities.
Another example of Chanel on the big screen comes from a much more recent release, and is something that we cannot ignore – the 2023 Barbie movie. Created in partnership with Chanel, in that the brand produced and came up with five key looks for the movie as well as a number of accessories and other items, the movie is an example of how the high fashion and innovative style that has become synonymous with Chanel is ingrained in the decision for it to be Barbie’s own brand of choice. Margot Robbie being an ambassador for the brand also enhances this, with a heart-shaped Chanel bag evident on screen, as well as the vintage necklace that Margot Robbie’s Barbie wears, and the Chanel tweed suit.
Chanel Handbags as Part of Pop Culture
Away from the big screen, Chanel is a brand which is favoured by celebrities and A-listers when out and about, on the red carpet, and going about their daily routine.
A quick online search will throw up a plethora of celebrity names, all of which have been pictured out and about with their chosen Chanel handbag – be it a classic 2.55, a Chanel Flap bag, or something bigger, like a Chanel Boy Tote bag.
The inclusion of everyday bags alongside red-carpet and movie looks, demonstrates the versatility of the Chanel brand and its association with style icons of all walks of life.
And that’s not all. In 2017, Chanel was reported to be the most influential luxury brand on social media, both because of its engaging content and the collaborations it markets with different designers and celebrity ambassadors, which keep it front of mind in the eyes of its customers. Any luxury brand which immerses itself so completely in pop culture is sure to be successful. As you can tell from the aforementioned examples of Chanel on and off screen, combined with its influence in the fashion world, Chanel has become such a rich part of the luxury industry that every available bag and accessory garners high attention and incredible demand. This, as you might have guessed, is excellent news for those looking to sell or part with a Chanel bag.
Pop Culture Trends and the Impact of Chanel
The final part of this blog is where we need to strip the ideology of Chanel’s brand right back and consider what makes the brand so revolutionary. We’ve already talked about how innovative Coco Chanel’s ideas were, but did you know that some of the trends and concepts she spearheaded have become ingrained in design ideas beyond the Chanel brand?
Perhaps the most iconic of these is the shoulder strap, which was first integrated into the Chanel 2.55 bag, which the brand released in 1955. Designed to suit her own needs, combining a longer shoulder strap, as inspired by the bags carried by soldiers at war, with other features, such as the quilted exterior fabric and concealed pockets, Chanel’s 2.55 bag became a classic that still exists as part of the Chanel collection today. Renamed the Chanel Flap bag, and featuring a few innovative additions from the days of Karl Lagerfeld at Chanel, the 2.55-turned-Flap bag still uses those early ideas dreamed up by Coco Chanel.
If nothing else, this tells us that Chanel’s impact extends far beyond her own creations – literally transforming the accessibility of handbags for women everywhere.
So, is a Chanel bag worth investing in?
As a buyer, finding the right Chanel bag means balancing your budget with your preferences in terms of style, material, functional use, and finish. A Chanel bag can be for life if you want it to be, or it can be an investment purchase – with the most sought-after bags holding and elevating their financial value with time and the right level of care.
Make sure to only ever visit a reputable reseller when seeking a second-hand Chanel, and pay attention to the authentication and valuation details to ensure that you are receiving an authentic and original piece.