Chanel is a company that does not need an introduction - it is one of the most famous, covetable and respectable brands on the planet. Also, it is one of the most expensive therefore replicated brands. Sky high prices, that grow annually, long wait lists for the items and limited access to the most classic universal colours and models - all of these make it quite complicated to get a Chanel handbag of your dreams. This is where vintage and preloved stores come in very handy. But how to identify a real vs fake Chanel bag?
While at Lux Second Chance we consider authenticity as our core value, we have prepared a list of signs that you should check before getting yourself a Chanel handbag in a store other than a Chanel boutique.
1. Check the Logo
Chanel is quite a logo - oriented brand. Even though it feels like it’s been around forever, the iconic CC-lock was actually designed by Karl Lagerfeld in the 1980s. And it is the first thing one must check for authenticity. Although counterfeiters know this and rarely miss this - make sure that the right C must always overlap on top and the left C always overlaps on the bottom. This detail never changes. The Cs also have flat edges, not circular.
Rare fact - widths of each C are equal and they must also match the width of the gap between them.
Once you open a purse, the back side of the lock plate should have flat head screws.
Also on a classic 2.55 handbag, the CC-lock is perfectly centred in the middle of a square piece of leather. Inside on the left side of the plate there is stamp, that says Chanel, while on the right side it says Paris.
2. Examine the Leather
The most popular leathers, used for Chanel handbags are usually a lambskin or a pebbled calfskin of the highest quality. Lambskin is loved due to its soft and luxurious texture. It feels as soft as a butter to the skin. It gives a very sleek look.
Another option is a caviar calfskin, which is famous under the name of a Chanel Caviar - it is a pebbled cow skin, textured and grainy. It is more durable and less likely to get scratches, the most preferred type of leather for a daily use or for an edgy style.
On a tactile level, fake Chanel purses do not feel as silky smooth and gentle as the authentic one. Fake ones are flat, sturdy and cheap.
3. Count the Stitching
Authentic quilted Chanel handbags have a very high stitch count per inch, usually 11 stitches per side of a diamond. It allows a handbag to keep its shape, ensures durability, and thanks to a high count of stitches, a bag doesn’t end up being too puffy. Also, check that all the stitches are impeccable - the must be no coming out threads, missed stitches or uneven seams by any circumstances.
Also stitching provides a perfect diamond pattern all over a handbag. On the front side and on the back side, on flaps and back pockets, the pattern is perfectly consistent and doesn't interrupt.
Even on the chain, in between the links, the leather straps are perfectly stitched with no bumps, no threads. The smallest details of the stitching must be seamless. This is what you pay for - for the flawless craftsmanship!
4. Check the Hardware
Authentic hardware of a Chanel handbag is pretty heavy as it is made of a metal of the highest quality, not plastic or cheap metals. Up until 2008 the chain straps were even covered in real 24K gold - true luxury item!
5. Examine the Stamps / Embossing
The quality of stamps and embossings must be checked carefully. The high quality logo should be embossed into the leather and not just sit on it as in many cheaply made fake bags.
The width of a genuine Chanel logo is 3.3cm
The colour of an inside stamp, that says CHANEL and Made in France or Made in Italy, must be of the same colour as a hardware of the purse. “Made in France” stamp usually mirrors the Chanel stamp and sits on the opposite inside wall of the bag. It can also be placed below the Chanel logo, but only in caviar skin versions, not in lambskin one.
In 2.55 flap bag, the logo should be located one and a half centimetres below the quilted C.
Also, there is never “made in Paris” stamp. So if an item has it, it is definitely a fake.
If on one of the C on the lock you see a stamp on hardware, it means that the bag was made in France. If there is no marking, then it was made in Italy.
The stamping must also be impeccable and pristine with sharp lines, bold fonts and evenly spaced.
6. Verify the Authenticity Cards / Dates
Date stamps on authentic Chanel handbags have their own coding system. The company started dating its handbags only in 1984, with a sticker inside a purse. It is, however, possible that a handbag is missing its number as either the sticker has been peeled off and lost, or the item was made before 1984.
- From 1984 to 1986 the sticker must feature 6 digits.
- From 1987 to 2004 the authentic serial number consists of 7 digits.
- From 2005 up until today you can find 8 digit number.
If you find a handbag with 9 digit number, it is a fake. The latest serial numbers of handbags made in 2017 start with figures 24XXXXXX.
Authenticity cards were introduced at the same time with serial numbers in 1984 and a number of a card must match the serial number of a handbag. And while many fake bags come with fake authenticity cards, you can spot them pretty easily.
The consistency of an authenticity card must be as sturdy as one of a credit card. If it feels too cardboard-y or flimsy, it is a red flag. Also, if the card’s serial number reflect a rainbow hologram, it is also non - authentic. And if it is printed not perfectly straight or misaligned, then it is another sign of a fake card and bag.
Authenticity cards, corresponding to a bag, produced in 2005 onwards, have a grey circle symbol. Not white, not gold - it must be of a light grey hue. If the card doesn’t have this circle, then it was made before 2005.
7. Examine the Lining
Certainly counterfeiters tend to miss out the most hidden details, such as lining. An original Chanel’s lining in a purse is very tightly attached to its sides and walls. It is tight, even and has no bumps or bubbles. It is extremely hard to pull it out. In the meantime, the fake lining would be the opposite - uneven, bumpy and easily to pull out.
8. Pay Attention to the Structure, Shape and Quality
While buying online you can’t always touch a handbag to check its quality and how it feels. Pay attention on its structure. It must be sturdy and standing straight. The original 2.55 flap bag has its edges more squared than rounded. At the same time it is not boxy, but elegantly shaped.
From the smallest stitches to inner shades of hues, every detail in the original Chanel handbag must be impeccable.
So be aware - if the price is too good to be true, probably because it is not authentic. Such a precise craftsmanship, highest quality luxurious materials, detail-oriented execution and flawless finished product - this is a Chanel handbag. And it does cost a lot.
Again, know your seller and check only trusted sellers, like Lux Second Chance.
Hope this helps!
Images: Vintage Heirloom, Love That Bag, Sabrina's Closet, I Miss You Vintage, Bagista, Chanel