A Short Background of Chanel’s Wild, Wonderful, Extremely Expensive Novelty Clutches

Designing a bag that looks both silly and extremely expensive is no small feat. Luxury, as a concept, is very self-serious, the fashion industry is endlessly self-aggrandizing. People who work in luxury fashion are not, by and large, the people you look to for jokes. Even brands who specialize in novelty usually only strike the correct balance some of the time–bags made to look like a luxe little joke often end up just looking like a joke.

In my mind, only two brands get novelty bags consistently right, and the first is Judith Leiber. The brand’s formula is simple: take an object, remake it as a crystal-covered clutch. The second brand is Chanel, and although the brand hasn’t been in this particular part of the handbag game as long as Leiber, its facility for high-end irreverence might be even more impressive when you consider its range. Most of the Chanel designs in question use plexiglass as their base, but from there, almost anything can happen, depending on the seasonal theme in question.

And when it comes to these designs, themes are very important. Many of these bags appear in collections that are centered around a particular city or country with a clear aesthetic history, and the brand tends to use cultural references from those locales to inform the design direction. It’s no coincidence that the locations chosen are frequently robust or emerging fashion markets, which likely makes the bags, which are already made in limited quantities, hot commodities for local VIP customers.

Of course, these rare, special bags come at a price. Most of the recent plexiglass pieces have broken the $10,000 retail mark, with the most expensive of the group being a $43,000 pearl-covered seashell from 2012. We’ve assembled all the ones we know of in chronological order before, but because the Internet is way heavier on information about collections from the last 10 years than those that came before, we may have missed some–feel free to help us fill in any blanks you see in the comments!

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Chanel Casette Clutch
Circa 2004

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Chanel Record Clutch
Season Unknown

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Chanel Gold Bar Clutch
Circa 2006

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Chanel Matryoshka Doll Clutch
Metiers d’Art Paris-Moscow 2009

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Chanel Straw Bird Bag
Spring 2010

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Chanel Doll Clutch
Metiers d’Art Paris-Shanghai 2010

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Chanel Takeaway Box
Metiers d’Art Paris-Shanghai 2010

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Chanel Ice Cube Bag
Fall 2010

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Chanel Ice Cube Clutch
Fall 2010

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Chanel Book Clutch
Spring 2011

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Chanel Pearl Shell Clutch
Spring 2012

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Chanel Doll Clutch
Metiers d’Art Paris-Bombay 2012

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Chanel Gem Clutch
Fall 2012

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Chanel Globe Clutch
Fall 2013

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Chanel No. 5 Perfume Bottle Clutch
Cruise 2014

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Chanel Drawing Portfolio
Spring 2014

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Chanel Framed Flap Bag Clutch
Spring 2014

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Chanel Strass Pistol Minaudiere
Metiers d’Art Paris-Dallas 2014

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Chanel Belt Buckle Minaudiere
Chanel Paris-Dallas Metiers d’Art 2014

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Chanel Embroidered Money Clutch
Metiers d’Art Paris-Dallas 2014

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Chanel Lait de Coco Milk Box Minaudiere
Fall 2014

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Chanel Meat Package Flap Bag
Fall 2014

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Chanel Jerrycan Shoulder Bag
Cruise Dubai 2015

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Chanel Premiere Watch Minaudiere
Cruise Dubai 2015

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Chanel Jerrycan Minaudiere
Cruise Dubai 2015

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Chanel Pearl Minaudiere
Cruise Dubai 2015

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Chanel Powder Compact Clutch
Fall 2015

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Chanel Brasserie Gabrielle Plate Minaudiere
Fall 2015

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Chanel Turtle Shell Minaudiere
Cruise 2016

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Chanel Dice Minaudiere
Pre-Collection Spring 2016

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Chanel Playing Card Minaudiere
Pre-Collection Spring 2016

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Chanel Trolley Minaudiere
Spring 2016

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Chanel Perfume Bottle Minaudiere
Metiers d’Art Paris-Rome 2016

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Chanel Movie Camera Minaudiere
Metiers d’Art Paris-Rome 2016

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Chanel Gift Box Evening Bag
Pre-Collection Fall 2016

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Chanel Thread Spool Clutch
Fall 2016

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Chanel Jewelry Box Minaudiere
Fall 2016

The dollar amount of the growth is the same as it had been for the majority Chanel Classic Flap Bag dimensions, however on a bag that’s much smaller and costs less. The percentage growth to the Chanel WOC is an astonishing 19%. We don’t have specific info on prices on each WOC before and following this growth, but the beginning WOC price was $2,100 and round the board which has increased to $2,500. There was confusion amongst stores, sales partners, and shoppers as some members of PurseForum were seeing price tags of $2,500 back in December but the shop would only charge them $2,100. On those items, the growth remains significant as a proportion of the final price, since the price point is lower to start with. In terms of the next cost increase at Chanel, rumor has it that the Boy Bag is going to be increased in the next few months, and one among the PurseForum heard from her earnings partner that it will also be $400. There’s always a lot of frustration over price increases, largely because the increase is high and shoppers often don’t detect any commensurate increase in grade; around the contrary, Chanel bags have been reported by many of our PurseForum associates to have had recent quality control issues.
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Chanel Cigar Box Minaudiere
Cruise Cuba 2017

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Chanel Robot Clutch
Spring 2017