Vintage Vault Vol. 2: 5 Most Coveted Vintage Chanel Bags

Welcome to the Vintage Vault series, brought to you by PurseBop, where we delve into the world of vintage Chanel and Hermès.

Read Vintage Vault Vol. 1: Navigating the Highly Collectable World of Vintage Chanel

When it comes to vintage luxury, few brands hold the same level of prestige as Chanel. Renowned for timeless designs and superior craftsmanship, vintage Chanel bags are highly coveted treasures among luxe lovers and collectors worldwide. As a result, it is increasingly difficult to source vintage Chanel bags in mint condition on the pre-loved market. 

Image courtesy: @clairerose

We explore the five most desirable vintage Chanel bags to consider adding to one’s collection. Each bag tells a story of innovation, style, and Chanel’s enduring legacy. From the Classic Flap to the Duma backpack, there’s a vintage piece for every closet. So, whether you’re a dedicated collector, a luxe lover, or simply someone who appreciates vintage fashion, prepare to be obsessed with these Chanel bags.

Classic Flap

The Classic Flap is considered the holy grail when it comes to vintage (or for that matter, current) Chanel. Undeniably one of the most iconic handbags of all time, the bags from the 80s and 90s are especially highly coveted. These were among the first by Karl Lagerfeld, the visionary designer, who reimagined Gabrielle Coco Chanel’s 2.55 Flap bag to create the Classic Flap we know and love today.

Image courtesy: @clairerose

First introduced in 1983, Lagerfeld’s design brought two distinct iconic features to the timeless aesthetic – a double C turn-lock closure and a leather interwoven chain. With its classic quilting and multiple variations in size, leather, hardware, and flap styles, the Classic Flap tops the list of sought-after vintage bags.

Image courtesy: @chaneletplus

Earlier models of this bag were produced predominantly in lambskin until the brand adopted caviar leather in the 1990s. Whether you prefer lambskin or caviar leather, gold or silver hardware, or a single or double flap, there is a Chanel Classic Flap for every taste (Read more: Vintage Vault Vol. 1: Navigating the World of Vintage Chanel).  

Image courtesy: @graceyfoly

When it comes to pricing, few bags in the luxury world have seen a price increase to rival the iconic Chanel Classic Flap. Back in the 1990s, a Medium Classic Flap bag was $1,150. Today, the same bag is available in boutiques for a staggering $10,200 (Read more: The Surprising Original Price of Chanel Items in Your Closet). However, prices vary significantly on the pre-loved market for vintage Classic Flap bags, depending primarily on their condition. Bags that date back to the 1980s and 1990s in mint condition can set you back in excess of $9,000. Unfortunately, this is not necessarily the case for more recent models.

Image courtesy: @katehutchins

To this day, Chanel collectors and luxe lovers desire the vintage Classic Flap bag from the 1980s and 1990s, due to its superior quality, 24K gold-plated hardware, and historic past. Indeed, some fashionistas argue that no handbag collection is complete within an iconic vintage Classic Flap. 


The Chanel Diana bag, popular among vintage enthusiasts and Princess Diana fans, was manufactured between 1989 and 1995. The design closely resembles the much-loved Chanel Single Flap bag. Lagerfeld renamed it the Diana, after Princess Diana, who frequently carried it. 

A rectangular shape, a single flap closure, and the iconic CC turn-lock give the Chanel Diana Bag an understated elegance. Designed to be versatile, it features a long chain shoulder strap with classic interwoven leather, allowing for shoulder or crossbody wear. Originally available in small and medium sizes, this coveted bag was discontinued around 1995.

Image courtesy: @heyyy_june

On the pre-loved market, the Diana bag is typically found in luxurious lambskin leather. However, lucky shoppers might also be able to find it from that era in durable caviar, classic tweed, linen, and suede. Due to its simplicity and understated charm, the Chanel Diana bag remains a symbol of timeless luxury.

Image courtesy: @babsigoesvintage

This popular design was reimagined by Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel’s Spring 2015 collection. While the all-new Mademoiselle Chic Flap bag caught everyone’s attention, the original Diana is still the bag to buy! 

Mademoiselle Chic Flap bag. Image courtesy: @frauteeee

Today, it’s harder than ever to acquire the Chanel Diana on the pre-loved market due to its popularity and single-flap design. In particular, the caviar leather Diana is becoming increasingly difficult to find. This durable variation is considered the most highly coveted by collectors around the world and can sell in excess of $12,000. 

Camera Bag

Chanel camera bags first appeared in Karl Lagerfeld’s 1980s collections for Chanel. Inspired by the traditional cases used by photographers, the style is both functional and beautiful. This compact and rectangular-shaped handbag features a top zipper closure, a front pocket, and a long shoulder strap for easy wear. 

Designed with practicality at the forefront, the Chanel Camera bag is spacious enough to hold your daily essentials. In terms of materials and finishes, classic Camera bags generally came in lambskin, however later variations of the bag were available in caviar, suede, and patent leather in the 1990s. 

Image courtesy: @storygramming

Chanel’s Camera bag was known to come in various designs. However, there are certain features that are consistent across all vintage Camera bags. Like other bags from this era, the bag incorporated 24K gold-plated hardware, unlike the bags produced post-2008. Moreover, the double CC logo featured prominently, whether on hardware or embroidered on the bags. 

Additionally, every Camera bag comes complete with a long chain shoulder strap – whether the Bijoux chain or the classic leather interwoven design. The shoulder strap on the Camera bags was designed to be long enough to allow crossbody wear. 

Image courtesy: @louise.byrne_

Despite variations in details, all Chanel Camera bags featured some of the iconic brand codes. For example, quilted leather was common, but the style varied from diamond quilting to chevron designs. The bag was produced in a wide array of materials, most classically lambskin and caviar leather. However, Chanel also experimented with fabrics such as suede, patent leather, velvet, tweed, satin, jersey, and linen. 

Among the vast array of Chanel Camera bag variations, one truly stands out. That is the design featuring large hanging tassel detailing with a CC gold ball charm. 

Image courtesy: @kaylaphuongle

While the Camera bag designs have varied over time, Chanel continues to redesign and release this bag. More recently, Chanel showcased the modernized Camera bag in the Spring Summer 2023 pre-collection, featuring bold black hardware. Despite ongoing releases, vintage bags remain among the most treasured. 

Mini Camera Case. Image courtesy: Chanel

Vanity Case

In the 1990s, Karl Lagerfeld introduced the Chanel Vanity Case, inspired by the chic toiletry cases of the 1960s. This iconic style captures the essence of the Audrey Hepburn era and the sophistication of vintage make-up cases carried by glamorous globe-trotting women.

Image courtesy: @missyanacherie

In recent times, not only has Chanel released newer models, both as bags and SLG, but vintage cases have also been in the spotlight. Most notably, both Kim Kardashian and her daughter North West carried vintage Vanity Cases in patent leather leading up to the 2023 Met Gala. 

Image courtesy: @kimkardashian

Image courtesy: @kimkardashian

Bags from the vintage era came in various shapes and sizes, ranging from compact to spacious medium sizes. All, of course, bear traditional Chanel hallmarks. In addition, Chanel created the Vanity Case in various leathers and finishes. Most common, however, are pre-loved vanity cases in lambskin or caviar. The more rare patent and denim renditions remain some of the most highly sought-after. 

Image courtesy: @missyanacherie

Duma Backpack

Venturing beyond the ladylike flap bags and vanity cases, the Chanel Duma backpack is perhaps the most functional of the hot vintage offerings. Originally designed by Lagerfeld, the backpack debuted in the 1990s and quickly gained popularity among fashionistas. The Duma offers the ideal combination of functionality and luxury, making it a coveted piece for many.

Image courtesy: @vanityxty

If there’s one bag that truly captures the essence of 90s style, with its chunky hardware, and casual design – it’s the Chanel Duma! Crafted from smooth and supple lambskin, the Duma features a quilted exterior that showcases the iconic Chanel aesthetic. It has a spacious main compartment with a drawstring closure and a front pocket secured with a CC turn-lock closure. The adjustable leather straps with thick 24K plated chain detailing allows you to effortlessly carry your essentials. Available in a variety of sizes, from mini to medium – the Duma can be worn as a traditional backpack, or a single strap can be worn over the shoulder for a more relaxed feel.

Image courtesy: @im.trangdang

Chanel re-launched the Duma backpack in the Cruise 2022 collection by Virginie Viard. While similar in shape and design, the updated model features a crinkled calfskin finish and considerably lighter 90s-inspired hardware!

Duma backpack in the Cruise 2022. Image courtesy: @cccurator

Although the Duma backpack may be less recognizable to some than Chanel’s other iconic designs, its unique appeal makes it a valuable addition to any collection. The metallic lambskin, plush velvet, and tweed variations of the Duma backpack are incredibly sought-after due to their rarity. As a result, these styles command premium prices on the secondary market. Specifically, the tweed version of this bag can cost you up to $31,000! The Duma remains a great option for those seeking a functional, yet fabulous piece of Chanel’s history. 

Image courtesy: @kweepeixi

Do you have any of these beautiful vintage Chanel bags in your collection? Tell us which bag catches your eye. 

Read related articles:

Vintage Vault Vol. 1: Navigating the World of Vintage Chanel

The Surprising Original Price of Favorite Chanel Items in Your Closet

How to Keep Your Chanel Bags in Excellent Condition 

10 Useful Tips for Buying Pre-Owned Bags

Love, PurseBop


Published: August 5th, 2023
Updated: August 6th, 2023

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