CHANEL 101: GUIDE TO HARDWARE – Bag Religion

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CHANEL HARDWARE GUIDE

CHANEL 101: GUIDE TO HARDWARE

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Ah, the sheer joy of shopping for a Chanel handbag. With so many options to choose from, from the bag's material to the colour of the bag and the hardware options available, the choices are endless.

To help you search for the perfect Chanel bag, we've classified and listed the different types of hardware offered by the luxury house. From the iconic CC clasp to the chain strap and the different hardware colours, read on to discover your handbag hardware options.

 

CC Clasp

Chanel CC Clasp Guide

L - R: Chanel Classic Flap, Chanel Boy Bag, Chanel 2.55

 

The signature CC clasp on the front of any Chanel Classic Flap or Boy Bag is indubitably one of the most recognizable features of any Chanel bag. First introduced by Karl Lagerfeld in the '80s, the iconic logo accent gives each bag the "classic" Chanel aesthetic.

The CC twist lock is only found on the Classic Flap. Before it was introduced, the Chanel 2.55 featured a twist-lock clasp known as the Mademoiselle Lock. This twist-lock clasp can now be found on the 2.55 Reissue. For Boy Bags, the CC logo is placed on a rectangular squeeze-lock metal plaque featuring a lego brick-like design.

 

Chain Strap

Chanel Chain Varieties

L - R: Chanel Classic Flap Strap, Chanel Boy Bag Strap, Chanel 2.55 Reissue strap

 

Chanel's chain straps vary with the handbag styles:

  • The Classic Flap has a chain strap interlaced with leather.

  • The 2.55 Reissue sports a pure chain strap.

  • The Boy Bag features a chunkier chain.

 

Hardware Colours

The most common types of hardware found on Chanel's bags are shiny gold hardware, shiny silver hardware and Ruthenium. These are often referred to as GHW, SHW and RHW, respectively. MHW refers to bags with mixed hardware, meaning a combination of GHW, SHW, and MHW.

With some seasonal bags, you may also get muted, antique, brushed, pale, or matte gold hardware. Variations include matte silver hardware, Black hardware, Iridescent hardware, Plexiglass or Enamel hardware, and Embellished hardware. Keep reading to look at the differences between these types of hardware.

 

Chanel Hardware GuideChanel Hardware

 Shiny gold
The black leather Classic Flap with shiny gold hardware is a timeless combination high on many collectors' wishlists. The shiny gold hardware is a classic that looks elegant and luxurious, rendering it a popular choice for many considering purchasing their first-ever Chanel bag.
Brushed/matte/pale gold
Brushed and matte gold hardware has a softer, toned-down gleam that offers a more feminine feel. Pale gold is also an excellent pairing for lighter-coloured bags in pastel colours, light metallic leather finishes, and softer colours such as white and cream-coloured bags. The pale gold appears like a champagne hue.
Antique gold
Commonly found on Boy Bags, antique gold has an aged, vintage quality that many Chanel fans adore. Antique gold hardware typically has a slight patina finish (the subtle green film formed naturally on copper and bronze) and a brassier tone.
Embellished
You'll find limited-edition Chanel bag styles with embellished hardware, including decadent jewels, pearls, filigree gold, and chain-effect enamel. Rare and exquisite, these seasonal bags lend a decorative touch to the French luxury house's classic styles and make excellent collectors' pieces.
The Pearl-encrusted double CC hardware, particularly, is well-loved for its feminine and chic style, offering a fashion-forward look for Chanel lovers.
Shiny silver
Cool, understated, elegant, shiny silver hardware is also popular among collectors. In addition, shiny silver hardware tends to stand out and look better on jewel tones, pops of brights, and classic tweed material.
Matte silver
Matte silver hardware features a toned-down gleam compared to shiny silver. It also lends a more casual, relaxed vibe to the Chanel bag of choice.
Ruthenium
Featuring a more antique and distressed look to shiny silver, Ruthenium has a matte appearance. Ruthenium has a gunmetal tone and a lived-in feel, and it can often be found on Boy Bags due to its edgier look. It is considered the casual, rustic alternative to shiny silver.
Black
Chanel's Black hardware typically comes in either shiny black metal hardware or blackened Ruthenium hardware. Cool and chic, the black hardware offers an edgier vibe to any Chanel bag.
Iridescent
First released in 2016 on a line of Iridescent Boy bags featuring dark metallic leather, Chanel's iridescent, patinated hardware features a reflective finish similar to the rainbow effect of an oil slick.
Since then, the iridescent hardware has been used on certain metallic and rainbow Boy Bag styles and even Classic Flaps – though these seasonal renditions are rarer to find.
Plexiglass/Enamel
The Chanel double CC logo can be inlaid with enamel or moulded entirely from plexiglass in tonal, block colours with seasonal bags. The plexiglass or enamel hardware is perfect on brightly coloured Chanel bags, creating a pop-art aesthetic with its more playful design.
The limited-edition and highly sought-after Chanel Lego clutches are made entirely from plexiglass, from its body to the brick-like design of the oversized CC emblem.
Mixed Metal Hardware
 Chanel 19 Mixed Hardware

Chanel 19 Flap with Mixed Metal Hardware

 

The hardware on the Chanel 19 features a mix of gold-tone, silver-tone, and ruthenium-finish metals. The long shoulder strap blends and transitions the different metals with leather uniquely and elegantly.

 

Vintage Chanel 24k gold hardware

Vintage Chanel 24k Gold Hardware

Vintage Chanel Flap with 24k gold plating and stamp on hardware

 

Any Chanel fan knows the iconic Vintage era is special in Chanel's bag history. Vintage Chanel bags have a certain air to them that just registers differently; they emulate old-world glamour and sophistication. Widely revered for the expert craftsmanship of the bags and use of real gold-plated hardware, vintage Chanel bags (pre-2008) are made with an alloy containing 24-karat gold coated on the metal.

 

However, Chanel discontinued making bags with real 24k gold hardware since its Cruise 08/09 collection. As a result, shiny gold hardware on handbags from late 2008 to the present is typically gold-toned.

 

Whether the Chanel bag features real gold or not in its hardware, all Chanel Classic Flaps retain their value equally well. Though vintage Chanel bags in excellent condition are, of course, considered a rarity, and hence, are highly sought after today.

 

One key difference you will quickly see between vintage and post-2008 Chanel bag productions is the hardware on the vintage models has a deeper golden look due to the 24k gold plating.

 

Vintage Chanel bags with real coated gold hardware will also include a hallmark stamp on the top left, top right, or bottom right of the CC logo turn-lock to indicate that the hardware used is 24k gold coated

 

Caring for your Chanel Hardware

Over time, your Chanel hardware may tarnish due to environmental factors such as exposure to sea air and the skin's acidity. To minimize this, store your bag in a clean and dry area and invest in a professional jewellery polishing cloth.

 

With so many hardware colours and options, it can be difficult to decide which Chanel bag to commit to. Whether you are purchasing a Chanel bag for the first time or landing your hands on another purse of your dreams, we hope our guide has helped you make your decision. After reading our guide, what Chanel hardware is your favourite?

 

ALSO READ: CHANEL'S NEW QUOTA POLICY IN 2022

Tags: Chanel Chanel bags Consignment Experts Designer Fashion Community Designer Handbags Fashion Insider Luxury 101
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