In the years following the opening of her modest millinery shop, Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel became a pivotal designer of both fashionable casual wear and Paris haute couture as well as an icon and arbiter of 20th-century style with her bob haircut and pearls. Today vintage Chanel handbags, jackets and evening dresses are among the most sought-after clothing and accessories for fashion lovers all over the world.
The first Chanel shop was established in 1910 in Paris on rue Cambon by the young milliner Gabrielle Chanel (1883–1971), who had picked up the nickname “Coco” while working as a club singer. The boutique drew the attention of the Parisian fashion elite who popularized her wide-brimmed Chanel Modes hats. Soon she added a sportswear store in the Normandy resort town of Deauville, where Coco set the tone for her defining sense of style — traditionally masculine garments reimagined for feminine shapes, made from simple jersey fabric.
Effortless and elegant, Chanel's designs promoted comfort and grace in women’s wear that had been dominated in the previous century by complicated layers of fabric and cumbersome corsets. She followed this success with a couture house, opened in 1915 in Biarritz.
But Chanel was not born into a life of glamour. Following the death of her mother, her father left her in an orphanage where she lived until the age of 18. It was there that she learned to sew as well as appreciate the classic pairing of black and white as worn by the nuns. In 1926, she introduced her first little black dress, reclaiming a color that had once been reserved for mourning and working-class women. That same decade, she debuted her perfume, Chanel No. 5, as well as the Chanel suit with a fitted skirt, inspired by the boxy lines of men’s clothing and employing a sporty tweed.
Chanel closed her fashion operations during World War II, then returned to the industry in 1954 to design for the functional needs of modern women. Structure and wearability endured in all of Chanel’s clothing and accessories, like the quilted leather 2.55 handbag introduced in 1955 with its gold-chain shoulder strap that freed up a woman’s hands. Chanel's collarless jacket reacted against the constricting styles of Christian Dior's New Look, replacing them with a design that was timeless, an instant classic. The 1957 two-tone slingback pumps had a practical heel height while offering a bold statement in the black tip of the shoes.
After Coco Chanel died in 1971, the brand underwent several changes in leadership, including fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld, who took over as artistic director in 1983. Over the years, the company has continued to innovate, such as expanding into ready-to-wear fashion in 1978 and, in 2002, establishing a subsidiary company — Paraffection — dedicated to preserving the heritage skills of fashion artisan workshops. The House of Chanel still operates its flagship on rue Cambon in Paris, where it all began.
Browse vintage Chanel bags, evening dresses, shoes, jewelry and other clothing and accessories on 1stDibs.
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15th Century and Earlier French Chanel
Late 20th Century French Chanel
1990s French Chanel
Designers Similar to Chanel
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Chanel fashion for sale on 1stDibs.
- 1stDibs ExpertFebruary 22, 2021The latest prices for the Chanel wallet on chain is $3,100. There are many variations of this classic design, with some selling for closer to $2,100.
- 1stDibs ExpertApril 5, 2022You can authenticate a Chanel brooch by checking the back for a little oval stamp or embossed mark. It should be noted that some of the oldest jewelry pieces were not marked, but these pieces are extremely rare and do not often come up for sale. Most of the Chanel jewelry and brooches you will find are from the 1980s or later and will include an oval tag, plate, or stamp. Shop expertly vetted Chanel jewelry from some of the world’s top reputable boutiques on 1stDibs.
- What is Chanel?1 Answer1stDibs ExpertJanuary 4, 2022Chanel is a luxury French fashion house founded by Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel in 1910. Focused on women’s ready-to-wear clothing and haute couture, Chanel is most famous for the 1921 perfume Chanel No. 5, the 1925 Chanel Suit and the iconic 1926 little black dress, which remains a staple in women’s closets around the world to this day. Shop a collection of vintage and designer Chanel pieces from some of the world’s top boutiques on 1stDibs.
- What is Chanel Matelasse?1 Answer1stDibs ExpertFebruary 22, 2021Chanel Matelasse is a quilted Chanel bag. It's an emblem of the Chanel brand. Chanel Matelasse bags and other Chanel bags can be found on 1stDibs.
- What does Chanel 5 smell like?1 Answer1stDibs ExpertFebruary 22, 2021Chanel No. 5 smells like a subtle mix of florals, including rose, ylang-ylang, jasmine, lily of the valley and iris, sandalwood, and a hint of vanilla. Chanel No. 5 is one of the most popular scents in the world.
- 1stDibs ExpertApril 5, 2022You can buy a Chanel Mini Flap bag directly from Chanel’s website or one of Chanel’s boutiques. Additionally, you may find a Chanel Mini Flap bag in one of Chanel’s retail partners’ stores. Shop a collection of authentic Chanel Mini Flap bags from some of the world’s top boutiques on 1stDibs.
- 1stDibs ExpertApril 5, 2022Coco Chanel was one of the most influential fashion designers in history, and her influence can still be seen today. Her love for mixing real jewelry with costume pieces provides versatility to any outfit from casual looks up through ballroom dancing — shop vintage and modern Chanel apparel on 1stDibs.
- Does Chanel have men’s clothes?1 Answer1stDibs ExpertApril 5, 2022Chanel doesn't usually make men's clothing. The brand has never offered a full menswear line. However, Chanel does have partnerships with designers that occasionally yield items for men such as suits or neckties.
- Are Chanel earrings real gold?1 Answer1stDibs ExpertFebruary 22, 2021All of Chanel's fine jewelry is made with 18K Gold (both yellow and white) and platinum and all of the diamonds used have very high clarity and color with a perfect set, resulting in some of the highest quality jewelry.
- Are all Chanel bags handmade?1 Answer1stDibs ExpertApril 5, 2022Yes, Chanel bags are crafted with the finest materials and are handmade by skilled artisans. Made in France, the brand has been an industry leader for decades as one of fashion’s most luxurious brands. On 1stDibs, shop a collection of vintage and modern Chanel pieces from some of the world’s top boutiques.
- Do Chanel bags come with tags?1 Answer1stDibs ExpertApril 5, 2022All Chanel bags are guaranteed to be authentic, as they come with a unique tag and authentication card.This is an easy way for you to determine the authenticity of your bag. Shop a large selection of vintage or modern Chanel bags on 1stDibs.
- Who owns the Chanel brand?1 Answer1stDibs ExpertJanuary 4, 2022The Chanel brand is owned by brothers Alain and Gerard Wertheimer. The Wertheimer brothers, whose grandfather acquired Chanel with his brother in 1924, are very private, known as the fashion industry’s “quietest billionaires.” The brand’s founder, Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel, saw the purchase by French brothers Pierre and Paul Wertheimer as an opportunity to reach more customers, but she tried unsuccessfully to regain control of the house in 1941. Shop our Chanel collection of vintage and new bags, clothing and accessories from some of the world’s top boutiques on 1stDibs.
- Who is Coco Chanel?1 Answer1stDibs ExpertJanuary 4, 2022Coco Chanel, born Gabrielle Chanel in France in 1883, was a fashion designer who got her nickname during her short-lived career as a cabaret singer. In 1910, she opened a boutique in Paris to sell her hats, which were beloved by the popular French actresses of the era. Her success with hats led her to open the first Chanel Couture House five years later, where she designed and sold women’s sportswear made of jersey — which until then was used to make men’s underwear. Her revolutionary style catapulted her to fame, and in the decades that followed, Coco Chanel remained on the cutting edge of fashion, creating modern, timeless clothing, perfumes and accessories — and, of course, her iconic bags, which are revered to this day. Shop a collection of Chanel from some of the world’s top sellers on 1stDibs.
- 1stDibs ExpertFebruary 22, 2021Although costume jewelry is usually more affordable because many Chanel costume pieces have a timeless style as well as good craftsmanship, they hold their value and so can be sold at an expensive price.
- Is Chanel a luxury brand?1 Answer1stDibs ExpertFebruary 22, 2021Yes, Chanel is one of the most desirable luxury brands in the world. This top-class designer brand creates their products from quality raw materials and high production methods while employing some of the best-known talent in the fashion world. Find many Chanel accessories and apparel on 1stDibs.
- How much is a Chanel tote?1 Answer1stDibs ExpertFebruary 22, 2021A Chanel tote's price can vary on the second depending on size, model, condition, and age. New Chanel small clutches start at around $1,900 while totes and other purses fetch $4,000-$5,000.
- 1stDibs ExpertFebruary 22, 2021Depending on the bag's material, a vintage Chanel can be quite expensive. For instance, a vintage crocodile top handle bag costs around $130,000. The classic quilted leather bag is around $10,000.
- Does Chanel make men’s belts?1 Answer1stDibs ExpertApril 5, 2022No, Chanel doesn’t make men’s belts and they do not have a menswear line. That said, there are men who do wear Chanel belts and other items from the women’s line to create their own noteworthy style. On 1stDibs, find a collection of authentic Chanel garments and accessories from some of the world’s top boutiques.
- How do I store Chanel boy bags?1 Answer1stDibs ExpertApril 5, 2022Chanel recommends storing your boy bags by wrapping the chains or straps in tissue paper and storing them upright in the original pouch. Other sources suggest stuffing the bag with acid-free tissue paper to support its shape and make sure the chain or strap is well-padded so it doesn’t imprint the bag. Shop a collection of expertly vetted vintage and new Chanel bags from some of the world’s top boutiques on 1stDibs.
- How to wear Chanel ballet flats?1 Answer1stDibs ExpertApril 5, 2022The classic ballerina flats by Chanel are a must-have for every shoe lover. The chic design and versatility make them perfect to wear with any outfit, whether jeans or dresses. Shop a selection of Chanel pieces from some of the world’s top sellers on 1stDibs.