Coco Chanel is renowned for being one of the world’s most influential designers, not least because she inspired timeless concepts like the Little Black Dress and brought us the iconic Chanel No.5 perfume, but also for her role in the evolution of the hands-free woman’s purse.
Despite having made a name for herself since the launch of the Chanel brand in 1909, with a series of purses and bags that boasted neat handles, alongside the existing collection of perfumes and other couture fashion items and accessories, it wasn’t until February 1955 that Chanel really transformed the luxury handbag industry. Yes, we are of course talking about the Chanel 2.55 quilted bag which, for the first time ever, embodied the longer strap of a soldier’s shoulder satchel in order to facilitate hands-free use.
Ever since the launch of the first Chanel 2.55 handbag, the brand has remained one of the most integral in both the accessory and wider luxury fashion market – with every new launch more coveted and in demand than the last. And, with such a notable history behind the ever-growing collection of bags, it’s not hard to see why.
In this article, however, we’re focussing on the most exclusive bags that Chanel has ever produced – considering what makes a specific Chanel bag rare or more expensive, and which bags are considered the most exclusive by investors, collectors, and handbag enthusiasts alike.
What Makes a Chanel Bag So Special?
Before we get into the specifics and share some of the most exclusive handbags on the market, it’s interesting to consider and note exactly what makes an authentic Chanel bag so special.
As has become the norm across many of the high-end luxury designers, a huge amount of their value lies in the high demand among buyers, which is met with a consistently limited supply of goods. Bolstering the investment potential as well as the popularity of each individual bag when it goes to market, this chain of limited supply and high demand means that there will always be a ready pool of buyers keen to snap up a new release or a second-hand bag on the preloved market – making Chanel a foolproof future investment.
In addition to this, Chanel bags in particular are special because of their connection to such a major player in the modern fashion industry. To own a Chanel bag is to own a piece of history that was born from a revolutionary designer, keen to share her vision with the widest possible audience. Thanks to the designs of Coco Chanel, every Chanel bag is versatile and incredibly functional, not to mention timeless with regard to design and style – complimenting every look and matching every possible situation or scenario.
Without further ado then, let’s look at the most exclusive pieces among this collection of highly coveted, ever-popular handbags.
What Are the Most Exclusive Chanel Bags?
The following Chanel bags are considered the hardest to find, owing both to the scarcity of supply and the high cost, which renders them unobtainable for the wider market.
Chanel Grand Shopping Tote
This is one of those bags that was once a fairly standard bag, which was accessible to women looking for something larger in which to carry their shopping and possessions during a day out – however, once the bag was discontinued back in 2015, it took on a whole new lease of life among investors and collectors.
Now considered a rare and vintage find on the market, the Chanel Grand Shopping Tote is proof of how scarce supply bolsters the popularity and status of any bag – regardless of its original cost price and value.
Chanel Oh My Boy Graffiti Bag
Launched as part of a 2014 collection of handbags, the Chanel Oh My Boy Graffiti Bag marked a step away from the brand’s norm – replacing its usually neutral, timeless, and minimalistic aesthetic style with something unique and bold.
This bag came directly from Karl Lagerfeld, who famously took over the top role at Chanel in 1983 and managed the brand and its creative direction until his death.
The unique design of this bag, so different from what came before it, made the Graffiti bag a memorable and popular piece – now considered an exclusive part of the brand’s history.
Chanel Plexiglass Conch Shell Minaudiere Clutch
As we continue on our journey to identify the rarest and most exclusive Chanel bags, you will start to notice a trend – that those which make it onto this list tend to be the pieces that strike out from the brand’s norm, and which were crafted and designed as part of limited collections and exclusive visions. Many of these are created for runway shows – such as this Conch Shell-shaped bag.
This bag is another that was inspired directly by Lagerfeld back in 2012, when he wanted to launch a season of bags inspired by the ocean. Made from a pearlescent plexiglass material, which presents both strength and fragility, this bag is ethereal and unique – and rarely, if ever, finds its way onto the second-hand marketplace. Even when it does, the demand is such that no bag ever stays available for long.
Chanel Diamond Forever
No list of exclusive designer items is complete without considering the most expensive items ever made by the brand – with the Chanel Diamond Forever bag ticking this box with its six-figure price tag and integrated diamonds.
The strap of this bag is crafted from white gold, while the 334 diamonds and alligator skin material all contribute towards this bag being the most expensive ever made by Chanel (priced at $261,000 in 2023).
Should You Invest in a Luxury Chanel Handbag?
A Chanel bag is not just a good financial investment – it also marks a piece of history from the brand that spearheaded revolutionary concepts in the designer fashion and accessories market. To own any Chanel bag is to own your own slice of Coco Chanel’s vision, with the broad collection of secondary resellers and reputable second-hand stores offering the brand’s finest wares, complete with formal valuation and official authentication to protect your investment.
If you’re looking for your perfect Chanel bag, visit our website or boutique store in Knightsbridge to browse the current collection of bags we have in store.