There was a moment in 2018/2019 when a classic vintage Chanel flap was on every "it" girls shoulder and everyone else's wish list. It was the small-medium quilted black lambskin version with gold hardware and an adjustable chain, the interlocking CC closure the only sign of branding. In recent history, this was the marker of a boom in vintage Chanel sales. Back in 2017, one could peruse hundreds of classic flap bags at their leisure, comparing colours, hardware, size and condition on reselling sites like TheRealReal. These days, they sell like hot cakes, and finding the perfect one can prove challenging.
Vintage Chanel has always been a special thing to behold, considering the legacy of the House and all of the monumental moments in fashion history it has cultivated along the way, but purchasing and sourcing it can be a complicated journey, especially for a first timer, which is why we enlisted a pro to help put together the ultimate vintage Chanel shopping guide. Gabriel Waller has one of the most well-known sourcing services in the business at the moment, and vintage Chanel holds a special place in her heart. So below, Waller is offering up advice on where to buy vintage Chanel, how to confirm it's the real deal, and why she loves sourcing it so much.
What do you love about vintage Chanel?
I have always had a personal affinity for Chanel, current and past seasons. With Chanel vintage in particular, I love that the pieces are a fragment of the past that are still relevant and fashionable today. Chanel remains by far our most requested vintage designer.
What are the pros and cons of buying vintage Chanel vs. new?
One of my favourite parts of wearing a vintage piece is that you know that there is a very small chance that someone else will be wearing the same, due to their rarity. In addition to that, the resale price on vintage can be extremely high, making them a true investment piece.
What do you feel is considered vintage Chanel?
At the moment, I feel anything from a pre 2000 Chanel collection would be considered vintage.
Do you have tips on ensuring something is authentic?
It takes a well trained eye to authenticate a real Chanel piece. There are a lot of tips and tricks to follow, specifically with Chanel flap bags, but I believe that it is so important to trust the vendor you are choosing to transact with. As a business, we are incredibly particular with who we work with in the vintage market. If something is too good to be true, it usually is.
Where are your favourite places to shop for vintage Chanel?
I have worked with Tami Kern from KERN1 for a number of years and I always love seeing what they have in stock. My favourite vintage Chanel jacket came from their shop.
Do you have any tips for finding the best vintage Chanel bags?
I think it's always important to look at buying Chanel as an investment. Most people would think that as a bag is from a past collection, the price would naturally come in under the original retail price, however this is unfortunately not always the case. A well preserved vintage Chanel bag will only increase with value overtime, so take the time to find exactly what you want and ask questions on how it has been looked after. Does it come in its original box? Does it have its dust bag? This guides me in knowing how well the bag has been looked after to date.