Vintage Chanel Diana: the original design

Vintage Chanel Diana: the original design

For as long as I have remembered I have espoused the uncompromising fundamentals of having a good Chanel Diana which must include lovely puff height - hence being the original creator of the “puff test”, my only claim to fame to date unfortunately. 

 vintage Chanel Diana small black lambskin

However, for the sake of completeness I thought I would go through the other re-designs of the vintage Diana. By my count, there have been at least 3 (not counting the 2015 reissue version) although on hand, I only have 1 of the re-designs on me.

The Diana style was originally designed quite flat, these are quite prominent in very early 1 series Dianas. The leather is usually quite buttery soft and the bag in general is quite a bit thinner and lighter than the slightly later series Dianas.

These are what people keep calling “shabby” Dianas but actually they are, by their design quite flat. Main design differences are (in summary):

  1. Chanel ® logo placed on top of zipper rather than on pocket;
  2. Flap can flip all the way back, as leather used is softer than later series
  3. Structure is usually not as sound because of the design, so will have sagging throughout front and back;
  4. Screws and plating is rounder in the newer design; and
  5. Flat matelasse stitching throughout.

Pictured here is elder sister Naomi and younger sister Claudine. Both are small lambskin Dianas but Naomi is 1 series and Claudine is a 3 series Diana. 

vintage Chanel Diana small black lambskin

See the placement of the Chanel trademark, the oldie, Naomi is higher than the newer younger sister, Claudine. 

vintage Chanel Diana small black lambskin

Here if we take a closer look at the plating and screws - Naomi is flat top and Claudine is round top. 

vintage Chanel Diana small black lambskin

vintage Chanel Diana small black lambskin

vintage Chanel Diana small black lambskin

Then there is thickness of the leather. Both are really smooth and supple but one definitely has had some more leather sown in than the other. Left is Naomi and right is Claudine. Look at the difference in thickness!

<img src="" alt="vintage Chanel Diana small black lambskin" />

The hardware is actually surprisingly similar (save for the goldsmith stamp on the CC which changes GENERALLY per year). If you've seen enough Dianas you can recognise common stamps but I would never take that as definitive by any means.

I have seen and sold some very late 1 series newer designed Diana so it appears these flatter designs were offered for only a short period of time and  probably not as popular, making them actually rarer generally. However, this is a good example here of how something rare does not mean expensive because these models, probably due to its less luxurious appearance, do not generally fetch a higher price than its puffier twin.

Of course, care must be taken to not confuse this whole blog post with flat Dianas of later series whose design should really be puffy but through use have been flattened (i.e shabby Claudines), don't lump shabby Claudines with the beautiful Naomi. 

I purchased Naomi for the purposes of this article but I also took her for a spin and I have to say, there’s something much more low key about this design. It looks less like a fancy night bag and more of an everyday bag. Call me crazy but having gone full circle, I would actually consider keeping this flatter version in my collection since I’ve always found the pristine black lambskin/gold hardware combination very hard to use. With this flatter design, I have definitely been reaching for it more.


Great article! Have you seen Series 1 without the gold plating mark on the CC?

Melissa Sanchez

Thank you so much for such an informative post. I never knew and just learn something new. 😍


This is such an informative post for those who are looking into Diana bags, as well as admire Diana bags! Interesting read and I learned something new ☺️☺️

Amy L

So true. I have a beige series 1 and a black series 2 and did notice the differences you mentioned! I thought because of age and wear so the 1 series was less puffy. My beige one sags the same Naomi.


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