Chanel Gabrielle Review – Love But Not at First Sight

It’s hard to believe, but Chanel’s Gabrielle collection is a year old.  In traditional PurseBop style, we covered the bag heavily when it launched and felt it was high time to take a look at how she’s fared, including thoughts from a few diehard fans, and create an updated review. We reached out to PurseBop community member @life_and_style_tips  who loves the Chanel Gabrielle bag… She found fellow Gabrielle-adoring fans and together they provide testimonials to the bag named for Coco Chanel…. As they say, “birds of a feather flock together”… 

Gabrielle - Who are you?

FIrst, a little information about the Chanel Gabrielle bag.  

Gabrielle was introduced almost exactly one year ago.  She was released for Spring 2017 (after previewing at the October 2106 show) and was Chanel’s first new model in several years.  Gabrielle (Coco Chanel’s true first name) was a theme of 2017 – with the bag and a perfume. 

This collection seemed different from the classic Chanels – perhaps younger and more casual. According to designer Karl Lagerfeld, she was less feminine – singer/actor Pharell was the first man featured in a Chanel bag ad campaign, with Gabrielle. Depending upon the fabrication (quilted leather, tweeds, exotics), it was also slightly less expensive.

Ultimately, Gabrielle was not just one bag but an entire style collection including hobos, purses, backpacks and shopping bags. But the first to hit the collective conscious (and stores) was the hobo – a zip-top north-south bag with three (yes, three) straps including  gold, ruthenium and silver (yes, it swung all ways on the metal-matching).  For some it was confusing – shown with carried on the shoulder with an extra strap across the body. For others, it was refreshing – contemporary and hands free with options.

My Story

As I said, Gabrielle was a very different look to many Chanel enthusiastics and it was not love at first sight for me either. For the first time, I was disappointed by a new Chanel collection. On the other hand, I was happy that I would finally be able to keep my money in my wallet… at least until I met her in person during a visit to Chanel. Available in a medium size, I tried her on.

And I LOVED it! I loved the versatility in how you can wear it. The leather, the chains, everything was perfect! And it was not bulky at all as I thought it would be. The only problem was medium was too big for my body type so I passed on that one. Luckily, I got a call very soon from my SA that they received only one small Gabrielle and I needed to be quick if I want her. So I rushed to the boutique – It was the perfect size and perfect colour for me! Of course she came home with me I wore it as a cross body or as a backpack. It was very practical for me during my travels or carrying Snowy while running errands as well. I still can’t believe how a bag I initially didn’t don’t like became my ultimate favourite. Now I want another one in a different colour, though I’m still waiting for the perfect one.   It’s flattering to hear from IG friends that Gabrielle looks good on me. Maybe it’s because I use her a lot.


In case you’re wondering about the size difference between small and medium, here are some comparison pictures.



More Testimonials

I love how other Gabrielle fans wear theirs as well. Some of them are working mums, some of them are students, etc… Our common point is that we all are running errands all day and that shows how Gabrielle is a versatile bag for day and night. Although as a Chanel addict the Gabrielle collection initially seemed not Chanel-like at all. Apparently, Chanel knows better! Gabrielle has become ever more popular so I expect it will become one of the new classics. At least, I hope so. Other Gabby fans do too.

Some of my friends share their Gabrielle love.


Why do I love my Gabby so much?

Maybe it’s because she’s that perfect mixture of a classic and an edgy bag, (and yes my bags are all females). She represents the classic style with the chains, the leather and the craftsmanship. But at the same time she’s modern, fresh and has that certain something.

How much fun is it to have the variety of carrying possibilities! Crossbody: long or short, shoulder or handheld as you like it.

Not to forget the hardware – all three options: ruthenium, gold and silver.

Last but not least the icing on the cake is her weight. She’s lightweight, not as a feather but very comfy to carry.

Nowadays the things in my life have to be convenient, easygoing and beautiful and that embodies the Gabrielle for me.




When Coco Chanel designed the 2.55 bag she set out to free women from the constraints of having to carry a purse: “I got fed up with holding my purses in my hands and losing them, so I added a strap and carried them over my shoulder”. The Gabrielle bag has quickly become my favourite bag for this reason. It takes inspiration from Chanel’s original idea of freedom and adds another dimension by putting emphasis on the chain. The flexuous chain comes to life winding across the body in an innovative “double metal” finish that allows the bag to be worn in many ways, affording the wearer with multiple opportunities to express their uniqueness.

This double metal finish does away with the need to match your jewellery to the bag’s hardware, in another act of fashion liberation it makes it acceptable to not conform to old-fashioned rules. As Chanel’s first true unisex bag it also captures Coco Chanel’s Avant Garde attitude. The reason why I love the Gabrielle is because this bag is all about choice and individuality and wearing it makes a statement that is more far-reaching than any trend.

When it first came out I was invited to “meet” the Gabrielle bag at an event at the Kensington Street Boutique in London. Unlike some people, I fell in love, at first sight, with its novel shape which struck me as futuristic but still so unmistakably Chanel. I didn’t buy one straight away as I wanted to wait for a special colour. She finally became mine in iridescent leather (medium size) and burgundy (small size).  Karl Lagerfeld once again captivated me with his genius when he designed this bag, which, I’m sure, will quickly become a classic like the flap bag he designed in the 80’s or Chanel’s original 2.55.




Straight away I need to admit, that once it was released almost two years ago, I didn’t like this bag and its style at all. Everyone was asking and talking about it a lot! I recall getting upset, thinking that it was sort of end of an era of the “chanel classics” … Funny how I am so far from these feelings now. With time, I became curious about this bag, I started to check out the Collection. Chanel offered plenty of choices: different sizes, materials and different ways of wearing this bag. I kinda caught myself on wanting to try it and to do some style experiments with it.

These days I own only one small gold Gabrielle bag and it is one of the most used bags in my collection. The small size is very easy and comfortable for everyday use. The gold leather color makes it look like a piece of jewelry itself so I don’t need to add any more accessories to my look.

My 3 favorite ways of wearing it: 1. On one shoulder. Classic way. 2. Double cross body like on the picture ( “V” way) 3. Backpack way. The flexibility of this bag gives it a special touch. You may style it with classy classic tweed like I did during the Fashion Show or go  casual in jeans and a tee … What can I say – Chanel knows us better, I trust them 100%.





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Published: May 19th, 2018
Updated: May 19th, 2018

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