As part of the latest series, we’re launching interviews with some pretty interesting collectors! The first interview launched was with Lynn from @mychanelstory! I first came across Lynn through her fantastic vintage Chanel jacket collection on instagram and it turns out she has a great vintage Chanel bag collection as well. As a vintage Chanel lover, I’m always very fascinated by what other collectors like collecting and so I sent through lots of creepy heart emoticons to get the conversation flowing! I then reached out to see if she would like to be interviewed for the blog as I felt she had a lot of knowledge to share, thus this blog post was born! Lynn, thank for your time!
What draws you to vintage Chanel? Do you have a favourite vintage Chanel style?
I love the jumbo, it’s such a special piece to me. I also love the Diana and the classic flap of course but of course they are all so different. I really love all of the styles because I love the story behind each bag and I love Karl’s ideas. I love thinking and imagining that special Karl era and all the types of customers who would be buying from Karl during that time. The history behind each piece is what makes vintage so incredibly attractive to me.
Do you wear vintage Chanel pieces on a daily basis? How do you suggest integrate vintage Chanel into your daily life (i.e. lower cost per wear).
Yes, I do for some pieces but I need to get better about wearing my collection more often. For clothes, I am hesitant to wear certain pieces as often I don’t want to dry clean and I don’t want to spill anything – the articles of clothing can be delicate and difficult to clean. [Editor's Note: featured here are accessories from the early 1990’s]
I would say vintage Chanel earrings are pieces I think you can get the most wear out of and a pair of statement earrings does change the whole look. The other items I would recommend for “daily” pieces of Vintage Chanel would be belts and brooches.
The belts made by Chanel are especially beautiful and versatile, I have a few vintage and new pieces. You can wrap a Chanel belt around a plain black dress and it elevates the whole look - they are so beautiful. The belts can also be worn as a neck so it can double up as a statement drape necklace (great cost per wear!)
I will say though as a collector, there are some pieces I don’t wear as it is like a museum piece to look for me. I buy certain pieces and they sit in my office or dresser – it just scares me to wear them! For example, I just collected this belt and necklace and they are so rare and delicate. These two pieces would be something I wouldn’t dare to wear. I’ve been looking for the matching bracelet to the necklace for so long and once I finally found the matching set, they will be my own personal collection of museum pieces. I get a lot of fulfilment in the hunt and eventually completing part of my collection.
For the newbies to vintage Chanel, what is the best starter piece?
Depending on how tall you are and if you aren’t picky about the size of a bag, definitely a jumbo would be my top pick.
My jumbo in caviar is very special to me as it is my first vintage bag. This particular combination of caviar and jumbo size is incredibly difficult to find so definitely a treasured piece in my collection.
For smaller girls, I would recommend the Diana as a must-have style. It is so classic for every vintage collector and would look good on girls of all sizes. I have 2 Dianas myself in both small and medium (more discussion on that below) and you just don’t know how functional they are until you get your hands on them. The craftsmanship and design on the Diana is so amazing as well. The single flap means that it isn’t as heavy and the cross-body is makes it handsfree and carefree! [Editor's Note: Lynn is wearing a jacket from the 994P collection.]
Do you prefer caviar or lambskin vintage Chanel bags?
I was actually like everyone else in the beginning, I only wanted caviar leather. However, now as I am more experienced and I understand vintage Chanel better, I really love vintage lambskin. Nothing is as beautiful as untouched lambskin. Even though it is delicate it feels like something out of this world. I also love that it has the ability to develop that shine and patina over time which is something more difficult to achieve with the caviar.
However if you want something that can take more wear, then caviar is unbeatable as well. All depends on what you want and what you are wearing, I think it helps to have a variety!
In terms of quality, do you agree that older pieces are better in quality and durability?
Think it is fair to say then that Chanel just doesn’t make their bags as well anymore as this hasn’t been an issue with my vintage bags. The 24K gold hardware just feels like gold jewellery, it looks and feels luxurious. There is a weight to it, so it can feel heavy but you know that was the best quality stuff around.
How can you be sure that the vintage Chanel pieces you purchase are authentic? Have you purchased an item full price and then found out later it was a replica before?
So far, I have not – to the extent that I am aware - gotten scammed. If they have managed to scam me, they have done a very good job!
The only way to avoid getting scammed, especially if you are not familiar with the market, is to pay more for it from a reputable source. Do not go bargain hunting if you do not know what you’re looking for or are very familiar. I have definitely paid more for pieces in my collection but I did that for peace of mind and I can sleep well at night knowing I don’t have any fakes and haven’t been scammed of large sums of money!
Now with some more experience in collecting, yes I could try to go bargain shopping. But that is after many years of probably paying quite a hefty premium on my pieces.
There’s also no one source I buy from as the pieces are really rare but it is important to me that they are all reputable and trustworthy given I may not necessarily be able to tell whether they are authentic or not. [Editor's Note: featured here is accessories from the music collection of 2004].
In your opinion, does every vintage Chanel bag you purchase need to come with an authenticity sticker and card or other accessories?
Any bag that comes with a vintage Chanel box and dustbag is great but those two accessory pieces are going to be stored in my basement. I have a stack of vintage Chanel boxes sitting there currently and they will likely continue to sit there for the foreseeable future. If a vintage Chanel bag does come with these two accessories, then great, but it is absolutely not necessary.
If a bag has an authenticity card, then also great, but it does not make or break my decision to purchase a bag. For instance, if MGFT had said to me there is a white caviar vintage Diana, with no card, I will take it. I just wouldn’t care! You have to ask yourself why, if you’re going to immediately sell it then buying the bag with the card may be easier but if this is for your own enjoyment then it’s really not necessary to fixate on having an authenticity card. If the color or combination is right, buy it!
I would say the most important accessory from all of the above is probably for the bag to have the sticker. The sticker is more important as it is easier to ascertain the date but I do have a bag that I purchased without a sticker and I still loved it.
This bag is the only bag in my collection without a sticker and is actually also not in great shape. It is a bag that is beige patent and super rare from early 1990s. It was just such a rare bag so went with it! So my advice on all the above is that provided you are buying from somewhere reputable, you don’t need to pay for accessories. You should buy what you love and not just for investment! [Editor's note: Lynn is wearing 1994P jacket].
How do you feel about painted/touched up leather?
I would say, as would most people, I prefer leather that hasn’t been painted on or retouched. That being said, my beige lambskin small Diana, I suspect has been touched up. That Diana just feels a bit harder but the paint job was really well done and looks nice to the eye, it just doesn’t feel as soft. I only know this though because I have my other bags to compare. You really cannot tell just from the naked eye. The benefit of having a bag that has been touched up is that it actually ends up being more durable!
I think it is okay for light coloured, old lambskin bags to be touched up just because that is what you would expect from a bag as old as a vintage piece. Also, beige lambskin Dianas are so rare that I am fine with buying one in a touched up condition. If it was a very common bag on the market, like a black lambskin classic flap, then I would expect it to be not touched up because they aren’t as rare.
Finally, tell us about your Diana collection!
I have two - one small beige lambskin Diana and one medium patent Diana. My beige one, as I mentioned above, has been touched up but was done so well so I don’t mind it. That combination was so rare that I had to buy it. My patent Diana is a medium one and looks much dressier because of the patent leather so I usually use that as a night bag.
Despite the size difference, I actually use them both regularly because of the functionality of the style. I would say either size works for me and I can wear them both comfortably crossbody or on the shoulder.
Next on my wish list is actually a white or red caviar Diana and because of how rare they are, I would be happy with either a medium or a small! I don’t have a caviar Diana yet so would be so happy to add one to my collection.
Follow Lynn on her collecting journey @mychanelstory! Leave a comment below if you enjoyed this entertaining read! If you have any other interesting closets to look into, do send me a message or leave a comment below!