Garance Dore’s post about the circus that was the Chanel show at the Grand Palais made a staggering point: EVERYONE has a Chanel bag. It seems in the world of status bags, the Chanel (and any Chanel) reigns supreme.
There are even more on her blog that she spotted at the show on mere mortals that were not part of the collection. I guess if you are the sort of person who manages to attend such an affair the question is not if you have a Chanel bag but which one and even how many. And I guess if you are visiting the Chanel show you may leave your Mulberry or Chloe bag at home for fear of KL seeing you, screaming Judas and having you banished from the Chanel ‘family’ for ever.
But what is it about the Chanel bag? The films, the celebrity endorsements (if you can call Lilly Allen wearing your stuff an ‘endorsment’ and not style sabotage), and the price tag all go along way to creating the mystique of a Chanel bag. Coco Chanel, the history and the Parisian connotations are also part of the brand that can do no wrong.
I have a Chanel bag. It’s not as instantly recognisable as most. It has the chain handles, and it also has a large Chanel logo that hangs like a charm or as my flatmate said, ‘something off the front of a car’. Funnily enough, it didn’t change my life! When people notice it, I guess the compliments are nice. But it carries my purse, phone and keys like nearly all my other bags. Sometimes I use it daily and stuff my shopping in it. Carrying home tins of baked beans and a loaf of bread in such a bag is a strangely liberating if not odd experience. But I take good care of it and like to show it off. It is, I guess, the ultimate accessory.
My bag was a gift but I’m aware that the price tag is even larger than the clunky silver charm that hangs off it. Most Chanel bags are around the £1000 mark. What is going on? And why is everyone paying so much for something everyone else seems to have?
If I’m honest if I had the money, I would ‘invest’ in another one. (See how useful such words are in persuading ourselves the ridiculous is sensible). But my logic and my brian does marvel at why it is the Chanel, more than any, that has such incredible status. The dilemma over expensive handbags is an old one. But is seems to me it is the Chanel more than any other (perhaps with the exception of th Hermes Birkin and Kelly) that consistently remains the most desirable bag for the majority of women. Clearly the death of the ‘It- bag’ was a momentary cardiac arrest and clearly, the ‘It-bag’ has been revived. It was KL himself who over a year ago announced ‘bling was dead’. But what is more bling than paying £1,200 for a handbag because of its gold logo?