Chanel Colors 101: Everything You Need To Know

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Are you thinking of picking up a Chanel bag but you’re unsure of what colors are available and which one to go for? This Chanel colors article will give you all you need to know about the shades available!

Hot pink Chanel bag
©Alberto Mihai |

Chanel is a beloved luxury fashion brand with a rich history of creating stunning ready-to-wear collections, elegant shoes, and iconic handbags – including the Classic Flap Bag, which is one of the most in-demand handbags out there!

Chanel was founded by Coco Chanel in 1910 and quickly became an incredibly popular fashion house. Karl Lagerfeld continued this legacy when he took over as a creative director in 1983, creating incredible haute couture and ready-to-wear collections.

A Chanel bag is a must-have for any designer handbag enthusiast, which is why we are here to give you all the information you need on Chanel colors, to make the process of deciding on your Chanel bag shade a little easier. You will see the classic colors and the season’s shades, with an example for each color group, plus we have broken down the Chanel color code too!


Classic Chanel Colors


Let’s begin with the core Chanel colors – these are the shades that are at the center of the Chanel brand and you will see them throughout their accessories and clothing collection. These shades are available every season and are the best-selling colors among Chanel shoppers.

1. Black


Black Chanel Lambskin Quilted Small Trendy CC Dual Handle Flap Bag

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Black is, of course, one of the classic colors since it was a favorite of Coco Chanel, also known as Gabrielle Chanel, herself.

Black pieces feature throughout each collection and it was Chanel that made the little black dress the wardrobe essential it is today. All Chanel bags are available in black and this versatile color, which will suit a wide range of outfits, is a great option for your first Chanel handbag.

We love the luxe black of this Chanel Lambskin Quilted Small Trendy CC Dual Handle Flap Bag, perfectly finished with gold hardware.


2. White

White Chanel Medium Caviar Boy Bag

Browse White Chanel Bags on The Real Real

White was another favorite shade of Chanel herself since it reminded her of the convent nuns’ cornettes at the Aubazine orphanage where she was raised.

White also features heavily through Chanel clothing and accessories, including Chanel’s famous white pearls and Camelia’s. A white bag is another must-have in your wardrobe since it will suit so many different looks.

You will have to be a little more careful with a white handbag though, since the light color will easily show marks. We love the chic and sophisticated look of this Chanel Caviar Boy Bag.


3. Beige

Beige Chanel Caviar Chevron Quilted Small Coco Handle Flap Bag

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Beige is an excellent neutral shade to go for that will add a touch of warmth to any look. Coco Chanel felt that beige evoked glowing, sun-kissed skin or rich honey, which is why it was added to the core collection of Chanel colors.

There are both lighter beige and dark beige options available, but it is the lighter beige that is the most versatile and a favorite of Coco Chanel. This Chanel Caviar Chevron Quilted Small Coco Handle Flap Bag is a perfect example of a beige bag, that will add a polished and refined touch to any outfit.


4. Red

Red Chanel Classic Patent Medium Double Flap Bag

Browse Red Chanel Bags on The Real Real

Gabrielle Chanel proclaimed that ‘Red is the color of life’ and wore red lipstick often to brighten her day, which is why it is now established as one of the classic Chanel colors.

A red Chanel bag will add a gorgeous pop of color to your look and will add a glam, statement finished to a classically Chanel all-black outfit.

There is a wide range of reds available, but you cannot go wrong with the rich fire engine red – as seen in this glossy patent leather Chanel Classic Medium Double Flap Bag.


5. Gold

Gold Chanel Metallic Lambskin Crystal Chevron Chain Clutch

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The fifth, and often overlooked, core Chanel color is gold. This shade wonderfully complements the other classic Chanel colors, and you will often see gold hardware on many Chanel bags, but a metallic gold bag is a wonderful addition to your handbag collection.

A gleaming gold bag, like this Chanel Metallic Lambskin Crystal Chevron Chain Clutch, is a great option to add a little sparkle to a neutral day outfit or can add a glittery touch to a sleek night-time look.


Seasonal Chanel colors


There are then seasonal shades released each time there is a new Chanel collection, which is 6 times a year. Chanel is unique in that they do not give official names to each of the colors, instead using a code – which we will explore a little later – and they sometimes only use color once and then never repeat it again.

This means you may find vintage pieces that are in colors you have never seen before. Let’s look at some of the color groups and specific seasonal shades used by Chanel.


1. Brights

Pink Chanel Pearl Crush Mini Square Flap Bag

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Over the years, there have been lots of bright shades used by Chanel, whether this is sunny yellows, lime greens, vibrant blues, or shocking pinks – like the pink Chanel Pearl Crush Mini Square Flap Bag you see above.

We love a bright Chanel bag to really make a statement and add a little fun to any outfit. What shade you opt for really depends on your style and what colors you often wear – try to find a bright shade that will compliment the colors in your wardrobe.


2. Pastels

Purple Chanel Lambskin Quilted Mini Rectangular Flap Bag

Browse Light Purple Chanel Bags on Fashionphile

If you love colorful Chanel handbags, but don’t want to go for anything too bold, one of Chanel’s pastel options is a great choice.

Pastel shades are more likely to be the seasonal shades in the Printemps or Spring/Summer collections, so it’s best to look at the Chanel sight after these collections have been released to see what new colors have been added.

Or you can check out resale sites like Fashionphile and The Real Real to see a wide range of pastel shades – just like this irresistible light purple Chanel Lambskin Quilted Mini Rectangular Flap Bag.


3. Darks

Blue Chanel Lambskin Quilted Mini Coco Boy Camera Bag

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There are lots of dark colors available in the Chanel bag collections – ranging from rich forest greens to versatile dark browns to luxe navy tones. These darker shades are a fantastic option if you want something a little different from the unusual neutral colors.

This beautiful Chanel Lambskin Quilted Mini Coco Boy Camera Bag is a great example of one of the dark seasonal colors used by Chanel, and the blue is perfectly accentuated by the ruthenium hardware.


4. Metallic

Pink Chanel Metallic Caviar Quilted Medium Double Flap Bag

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You will sometimes find metallic shades within the Chanel handbag collections but these are some of the rarer seasonal colors that don’t feature often – making a metallic Chanel bag a great investment piece.

There are often gold, silver, and bronze metallic options available as well as metallic editions of seasonal colors such as grey, purple, pink, and green.

We love the extra sparkle on this metallic pink Caviar Quilted Medium Double Flap Bag that would really shine in bright sunny weather.


5. Iridescent

Ivory Chanel Iridescent Lambskin Quilted Medium Double Flap Bag

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Iridescent Chanel bags are another rare find, each with its own shimmering, pearlescent finish that looks totally unique.

The iridescent Chanel leather goods glisten between different shades, like the purple iridescent bags that include green and blue tones, or the ivory iridescent bags, like the Chanel Iridescent Lambskin Quilted Medium Double Flap Bag that moves between light purple, pink, and ivory. These handbags will add a glamorous touch to any evening out look.


6. Ombre

Pink, purple, and blue Chanel Lambskin Quilted Ombre Mini Top Handle Rectangular Flap Bag

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It can be difficult to find Ombre Chanel bags since they do not feature in many Chanel collections, but you should definitely pick up a beautiful ombre bag if you can! The ombre bags are a blend of two or three different colors to create a striking look.

Sometimes the leather moves from a lighter shade at the top and then blends to dark at the base, while other ombre bags have more of an abstract design – like this pastel Chanel Lambskin Quilted Ombre Mini Top Handle Rectangular Flap Bag.


Chanel color code


If you are wondering how Chanel, or Chanel handbag fans, keep track of all the different colors used by Chanel then we’re here to explain the Chanel color code.

This code is comprised of two numbers, which reference the year, and a letter, which refers to the season.

  • C signifies the Croisière season – this collection is also known as cruise and includes resort wear that comes just before spring.
  • P refers to Printemp – this is the first in the spring/summer collections and is often seen as the spring collection.
  • S is the second of the spring/summer collections also known as the summer collection.
  • A signifies Métiers d’Art, which is the season that honors the incredible artisans and beautiful craftsmanship that is included within Chanel designs. This season falls between summer and fall.
  • B is the letter for the first of the fall/winter collections
  • K is then the letter for the second fall/winter collection

The code begins with the year, for example, 2023 would just be 23, then the letter for the season afterward. So you would know that are specific shade marked 23B is from the first fall/winter collection in 2023.

We hope you love this article all about Chanel colors! For more luxury fashion content, check out the links below. 


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