Handbags - Spotlight On

Spotlight On: The Chanel Runway

Explore some of the unique handbags to have featured on the runway.

Chanel is known to be the true epitome of classic, feminine elegance in almost every regard. Some of their pieces from their Iconic collection such as their Classic Double Flap Bags are timeless. When the brand was first established by Coco Chanel in 1909, it introduced a much more sleek, refined style, revolutionising fashion in France and replacing more opulent style of the previous century. Coco’s own signature style was elegant, comfortable and sleek and this certainly translated in her designs. In fact, Coco is credited to have been the ‘creator’ of the ‘little black dress’ - the common staple of looking effortlessly glamorous.

Despite being known for its classic design, Chanel have also showcased some real showstoppers over the last few years on the runway. Since Karl Lagerfeld took over as chief designer in 1983, Chanel has produced more whimsical pieces, such as a keyboard pouch bag to a minaudiere shaped like a gas can. These notable designs are ultra-rare and very difficult to find on the pre-owned market.

Recently in the Spring/Summer 2018 collection, Chanel opted for transparent tote bags to protect your existing leather bags from the harsh weather conditions when out on your adventures, as well as the Gabrielle Hobo Bag in tweed, one of their most commonly used materials since Chanel’s inception. Here, we will rewind to some of the most unique arm candy that has featured on the runway over the past few years.


One stunning and eccentric piece is the three-dimensional Black Glittered Plexiglass Robot minaudiere from the Spring/Summer 2017 collection, a real standout item for avid collectors. The SS 2017 collection was inspired by, according to Lagerfeld, “intimate technology”, pairing soft feminine silhouettes and bold tweed suit sets with baseball caps and chunky necklaces. The runway was designed like a server room, tying up nicely with the aesthetic of the whole collection. The Robot Minaudiere’s body is made of black plexiglass, whilst the interior consists of black leather with silver hardware and a push lock closure.

Plexiglass has played a significant part in designs in the past for Chanel and is great material for more conceptual designs in the fashion world. In recent years, we have seen an adoration for perspex shoes on both the runway and high street and it looks like the use of acrylic can be applied handsomely for bags, too.


Another example of the use of plexiglass in Chanel’s plethora of quirky bags is the super rare Dubai by Night minaudiere from the Cruise Collection 2015. Shaped like a clear gas canister, the bag is accented with gold hardware and a clasp closure. These pieces are a fantastic way to liven up a classic, muted outfit to really amp up your look for those special nights out. The 2015 Cruise Collection in Dubai mixed a combination of Arabesque pieces with a sci-fi twist, mimicking the Dubai skyline.

The Spring/Summer 2015 collection also gave way to more unconventional carryall; the Chanel Act 2 Basket bag. Whilst it probably isn’t advisable to use this on your next trip to the supermarket, the Basket Bag is undeniably a striking statement piece and collector’s item. The bag is made of silver hardware, interlaced with the classic black calfskin leather.


Spring/Summer 2014 introduced the Silver Python Leather & Black Metallic Goatskin Leather Medium Le Boy, a glittering flap bag made of truly exotic material. It is comprised of a stunning metallic goatskin leather and python leather, with a black suede interior. The hardware is silver with an S-lock closure. The metallic piece is a fantastic night-out bag and can be paired nicely with edgier looks.

To contrast the black and silver, Chanel also showcased in that same year a charming Quilted Canvas Watercolour Colorama Flap bag. The multicoloured bag features strokes of yellow, aquamarine and purple against a white canvas. The handle is interlaced with a jute-style beige textile and silver hardware, featuring a turn lock. This is truly a perfect piece for the upcoming bright, sunny days ahead and indicates the brand’s Chameleon nature when it comes to design.

Continuing with the theme of colour, the Cruise Collection in 2011 introduced the Chanel Patchwork Multi-Fabric Jumbo Flap bag. With primary colours making a comeback this upcoming season, why not bring an old favourite back into the mix? This bag, without a doubt, is bold and eclectic. The patchwork blend of materials features lambskin, velvet, patent leather, denim tweed and canvas in various designs, with an interior of black textile and silver hardware.

Last but not least, is the Romanov Charms 2.55 bag, in a deep, rich diamond-quilted red. This bag first hit the runway in Paris Moscow Collection in 2009 and every piece in it screamed Russian royalty. The collection itself was a cocktail of old and new in Russia; with sparkling, embellished headpieces mimicking folklore and Romanov royalty, paired with black, structured clothes to represent the uniformity of the Soviet Union. The bag itself is made of an exquisite deep red quilted wool with a red textile interior and complemented by gold hardware and a turn lock. It is adorned with Russian and French-themed pins and medals to give it that amped up bourgeoisie status.

These designs are just a quick reminder that fashion can be fun as it can be functional. Chanel has been able to demonstrate that is a leader in innovative design, whether it is classic or ultra haute couture.

Discover our full collection of pre-loved and vintage Chanel bags online at Xupes now, where you will find a selection of Runway items amongst our collection.