I thought I would do a post today on my one of my favorite vintage colors of Chanel – the tan or caramel. Knowing Chanel, they will call it something super unhelpful, like 'brown'. I will try to be more helpful and describe it as a dark caramel, like a good sea salt caramel color.
This is a color from the 1 series, and usually has a dark brown lining but sometimes, on an even rare occasion I’ve seen them with the same body lining as the outside. Funny enough, a friend kindly loaned me her 2015 classic flap, and I think that was the only other time Chanel has done a tan color of a similar hue. Again, Chanel, not sure if being purposely vague, probably would also call this 'brown'? Not sure what this is called but again, I wil try to be more helpful and call it a muted pastel light tan brown. Similar family of neutrals but not quite the same as you will see. I actually have a mini myself from this 2015 year color range (below) so I know and love the color as well! This is by far (second to only dark beige) my absolute favorite color family. Also, as I said, poop colored things are always the best, whether in flavor profile or aesthetic!
I also thought I would take this opportunity to show some differences in design between the vintage medium classic double flap and the new double classic flap design.
I show here the most true to color picture of the two caramel tones. The 2015 is really a more muted orange-brown, with a hint of grey. Like a creamy latte. The vintage brown hue is really a sea-salt caramel done properly, right before it burns and has fully developed the richness from the sugar.
External – Body
Shown here is a picture taken of the two bags, straight on. Design wise, very similar but the stitching of the puffs has drastically changed. The way that the puffs were designed back then for the classic flap means that its almost impossible for it to keep its puff height (very unlike the Diana) whereas if you look at the modern day classic flap you can see it’s still got very great puff height.
Obviously however, to get the puff height, the leather is actually much thicker than on its vintage counterpart.
Pictured above is a photo from the side, and look how much thicker the new classic flap is, especially the outer most layer. However, the end product is similar in size which means that you actually get less space in a modern classic flap than in the vintage version.
from the back, you can see quite different edge stitching now in the newer classic flap. To me the back pocket hasn’t really been functional so either way, useless in 1990 and still useless in 2015.
External – CC Lock
This has drastically changed as well from the vintage version to the newer classic flaps. The vintage CC lock is 24K gold plated and is flatter. There is a signature goldsmith stamp. If you’re an expert on vintage you will be familiar with certain stamps and so you can immediately tell if it is a true vintage piece or not just looking at this piece of information. In the newer design, you can see it’s less yellow, not just because it’s light yellow gold but because it's not 24K gold plated now and the edges of the CC lock are thinner and rounder.
One thing that hasn’t changed much here is that the stitching per matelassé is still very uniform and symmetrical.
External – Chain
Obvious difference here is that the vintage version has chain metal hardware, 24K gold plating and links have been tapered on an edge. The new classic flap is in light gold metal alloy and does not have links that have been tapered.
Internal – Zipper and grommets
Internal – buttons
Again, this is another really strange design flaw of the classic flap in my opinion as virtually no one uses this. However, again, just to be very technical in my comparison you can see huge changes in the brand of buttons used. The vintage version uses FLOX and the new version uses Chanel. Again, this is a useful photo to authenticate classic flaps (new or old) that you see on the market.
Internal – dark brown lining
This is one of my favorite design elements of the vintage version. It has a deep dark brown lining which is completely unique to any of the new classic flap designs. I absolutely love the contrast. I have sold a previous super rare square classic flap called Tan, and similarly born from the same period also has this beautiful dark brown lining. The new classic flap has a lining similar to its outer body so nothing too special about that!
Vintage or new?
I think I should preface this paragraph by saying, I am generally not a huge fan of the classic flap. I will admit that and it’s kind of a relief!! It’s not the most ergonomic or functional and it’s very expensive for something that doesn’t perform that well as a handbag. This is probably why I only have one classic flap but four Dianas!
All that being said, if I had to choose, I will always say personally it is always vintage but that is just because I prefer the colors and quality generally of vintage pieces. However, in the case of the classic flap, there hasn’t been a huge re-design (lest it be called “classic”) so unlike the Diana, really just buy whichever your wallet and heart desires! Pictured here is my own small classic double flap beige from 2019, so much as being not a fan of the classic flap!