Chanel Leathers 101: Which One Should You Go For?

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There are so many incredible Chanel bags available made from stunning different types of leather – but which of the Chanel leathers is best for you? Find out here!

The French fashion house, Chanel was first founded in 1910 by Coco Chanel and was known for beautiful and revolutionary womenswear collections.

However, it wasn’t until February 1955 that the iconic 2.55 Chanel bag was launched. This classic flap bag was another revolutionary moment in the fashion world, it was the first bag with a shoulder strap, meaning women had a hands-free way of carrying their belongings. The bag boasted endless practicality, with an adjustable shoulder strap and handy back pocket – the 2.55 was an instant success.

Chanel outfit with pink tweed blazer, white Chanel sweater and black Chanel flap bag
© Alberto Mihai | Despositphotos.com


The functional and beautiful design inspired more bags in the Chanel collection. Now, there are many different handbags in the Chanel collection, available in a range of different colors, sizes, and types of leather – the perfect option for any fashion enthusiast!

If you have taken a look at Chanel handbags you may have seen the wide variety of leathers offered by the brand and wondered which one should you go for. This article about Chanel leathers will explore the different leather offered by Chanel and delve into their pros and cons so you can easily pick the right one for you!

Chanel leathers

1. Caviar leather

Black Chanel Caviar Quilted Small Double Flap Bag
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Pink Chanel Iridescent Caviar Quilted Mini My Perfect Flap Bag
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Caviar leather is one of the most popular Chanel leathers because of its tough yet chic look. This type of leather is actually calfskin leather with a grainy, textured finish which looks elegant but also makes the leather more durable and stronger.

The main benefit of caviar leather is its durability, meaning it can withstand the elements and won’t easily scratch, scuff, or lose its shape. If you are going for a classic style Chanel bag intended for everyday use, caviar leather is a great option to go for as it holds its structure well and you won’t be worrying about the bag getting wet or scuffed all the time.

There are also different finishes that can be applied to the caviar leather, such as shiny, matte, soft, and iridescent, the latter of which you can see on this Mini My Perfect Flap Bag. The pink leather shimmers with turquoise and purple tones in the light while the interior features a pocket and has been lined with a pale pink fabric. The gold hardware is a flawless finishing touch.

2. Lambskin Leather

Chanel Lambskin Quilted Mini Top Handle Rectangular Flap in Light Pink
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Chanel Lambskin Quilted Jumbo Single Flap in Black
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This is another popular leather because of its luxurious look and supple feel. Lambskin bags have a smooth, velvety feel and shiny appearance that looks luxe and expensive, plus, lambskin takes to colored dyes very well so you will get the most vibrant color payoff.

The only downside of lambskin leather is the fact that it is quite fragile – it is one of the softest leathers so it will scratch and scuff easily. Lambskin leather is also very sensitive to water and any contact can cause a watermark on the bag that is very difficult to remove. The best way to remove small marks is to just buff with your finger or a buffing cloth in circular motions, bigger marks or deeper scratches are not so easy to remove.

With this said, lambskin does wear a lot better than you may think, and while it’s not recommended to use a lambskin bag as an everyday bag, you definitely can if you take a little extra care and precaution. After all, most seasonal Chanel bags currently only come in lambskin leather.

With years and regular use, the appearance of plush lambskin flattens, like you can see in the Black Jumbo Flap Bag featured above. Many love this elegant vintage look, but some don’t – this is another thing to consider when deciding between which Chanel leather to go for.

There is also an iridescent lambskin leather option available, which shimmers and sparkles in the light, plus, the coating makes your bag a little more resilient to scuffs.

3. Quilted Calfskin Leather

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Calfskin Quilted Top Handle Chanel Flap Bag in Turquoise Blue
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Quilted calfskin is a great leather for an everyday bag and is the material that is often used to make Chanel Boy Bags. Quilted calfskin is made from cowhide and has a soft and smooth texture, with a fine grain finish which makes it ideal for complex quilting, as is seen in the design of the Chanel Boy Bag.

Calfskin is more durable than lambskin but not as durable as caviar leather – it is a great choice if you love a smooth finish but want leather that works with daily use.

4. Aged Calfskin leather

Chanel Aged Calfskin Quilted 2.55 Reissue 226 Flap in Black
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Chanel Aged Calfskin Quilted Small Gabrielle Clutch With Chain in Beige Black
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This type of Chanel leather is an ideal choice for those of you who love a vintage look and want something a little more relaxed. Aged calfskin has a smooth, unpolished texture, but it still remains a durable leather that will stand the test of time. It is up there with caviar leather in terms of toughness and only needs a wipe with a dry cloth to remove any small marks.

If you are looking at Chanel 2.55 Reissue bags, you will see many of them are made from aged calfskin as this is the leather it was initially made in when it was redesigned by Karl Lagerfeld.

5. Glazed/Shiny Calfskin Leather

Chanel Glazed Calfskin Quilted Large Boy Flap Black
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Chanel Glazed Calfskin Quilted Medium Gold Bar Top Handle Flap Light Pink
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Calfskin leather alone is a popular choice for Chanel bags, but the glazed version is a stunning polished option that has a glamorous and luxurious look.

Due to the beautiful shiny look, you have to be careful when storing the bag, making sure to put the handles inside the bag, and don’t let the leather rub against any hard surfaces as this can cause the glazing to come off.

Over time, the glazing on the calfskin will crack, but this is a feature that many customers like because of the casual, worn aesthetic of the bag.

 
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6. Metallic Calfskin

Rose Gold Iridescent Chanel Calfskin Quilted Medium Double Flap bag
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Chanel Iridescent Calfskin Quilted Medium Double Flap Bag in Light Pink
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The metallic calfskin from Chanel is a gorgeous option and is the perfect choice for an eye-catching evening bag.

The metallic nature of this leather means its sparkles and shimmers in the light for a glam look, while the calfskin aspect means this leather is hard-wearing. You do want to be careful with metallic calfskin bags, but any scuffs, scratches, or stains can easily be removed by buffing with the cloth that comes with the bag.

7. Patent Leather

Purple Chanel Patent Calfskin Quilted Jumbo Double Flap Bag
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Pink Chanel Metallic Patent Calfskin Quilted Small Boy Bag
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We love the glamourous, high shine finish of patent leather, that looks incredible on any iconic Chanel bag. Patent leather dyes very well so it is ideal for brightly colored bags, or a classic black bag just to add a fun glossy finish. Patent leather holds its structure well, but it is known to stain, dent and scuff easily.

There is also sometimes color transfer so you will have to be careful if you wear a patent leather bag. Because of the reflective nature of patent leather, it will show any dents or scratches easily, also stains won’t be able to be removed so there are a few downsides to this leather.

But if you keep the bag for special occasions and store it in a dust bag, it will stay looking stunning for years to come.

8. Goatskin leather

Goatskin Quilted Medium Chanel 19 Flap Bag in Dark Blue
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Goatskin Quilted Medium Chanel 19 Flap Bag in Black
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Goatskin is a fabulous leather that has the sophisticated look of lambskin leather, but the structure and durable nature of caviar leather – incredible!

Goatskin has a matte finish for a super chic look, while the leather is tough and can withstand lots of wear and tear, making it the ideal leather for an everyday bag. The leather is soft to the touch as well, however, in some cases, the leather may slouch at the top, but the sides will stay structured. Many of the popular Chanel 19 bags are made using this leather.

9. Exotic Skins

Alligator Medium Double Flap Bag in Pink
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Chanel Alligator Jumbo Double Flap Bag in Navy Blue
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There have been a few different exotic leathers used in the creation of Chanel bags over the years, but in 2018, the luxury brand stopped creating any bags or small leather goods from exotic leather. They say they are currently looking for a more sustainable way of sourcing these materials, but it is unknown whether Chanel will ever make exotic skin bags again.

There are many exotic skin bags available on resale sites if you are still interested in this type of leather. The more common exotic leathers are python, crocodile, and alligator, while the lizard skin bags are rare and it is often only vintage Chanel bags made in this leather, while the rarest is galuchat leather, which is actually the skin of stingrays.

Other than galuchat, all exotic leathers are very delicate and should be kept away from water because they can be easily damaged – it’s best to save them for special occasions. Galuchat, on the other hand, has a sparkling finish and is very durable, but very difficult to find on the second-hand market.

We hope you found this article on the different Chanel leathers helpful! For more luxury fashion content, check out the links below.

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