Dior and Chanel are two of the biggest French luxury houses in the world, but which one is better suited to you? We’re here to help you figure it out and dig deep to find our the similarities and differences between Dior vs Chanel.
Both luxury brands, Dior and Chanel, are known for their long and illustrious histories, cutting-edge ready-to-wear collections, and incredible fashion shows. Both were founded by incredible, innovative designers who revolutionized women’s fashion and introduce new silhouettes that have since gone on to influence subsequent fashion designers.
However, there are also some significant differences between these brands that you need to know about. This article will delve into the histories of these two brands, the differences between them, and a look at some top products, before coming to a conclusion on Dior vs Chanel and which brand we’d recommend for you.
Dior vs Chanel
History of Dior
The house of Dior was founded by French fashion designer, Christian Dior in 1946, although the Dior corporation acknowledges 1947 as its opening year, as this was the year of the first Dior fashion show. Christian Dior’s innovative and ground-breaking design skills transformed the fashion world from his very first show.
The lines from the Spring Summer 1947 show were originally named Corolle and Huit. However, after Carmel Snow, editor in chief of Harper’s Bazaar, commented “it’s such a new look!”, the collection quickly became known as the New Look.
The aesthetic of the New Look, with its full skirts and tiny waist, set the tone for the silhouette of the 1950s and inspired fashion designers all over the world.
The New Look brought back femininity after the austerity of the second world war and despite some initial opposition to the amount of fabric used in the voluminous skirts, the collection and silhouette became an instant success.
Christian Dior continued to create incredible collections which were worn by the biggest Hollywood actresses and European royalty, until he suffered a heart attack in 1957. After this, then 21-year-old Yves Saint Laurent was promoted to creative director.
His debut collection for the house in 1958 was beloved – the clothes were exquisitely made, using similar materials to Christian Dior but making them lighter and a little easier for modern women to wear.
However, Yves Saint Laurent’s 1960 bohemian-inspired collection was highly critiqued and was not popular among Dior’s rich customers, instead appealing more to the Parisian youth. Marc Bohan was soon bought in to replace Saint Laurent and went back to the elegant, sophisticated Christian Dior designs that were loved by rich French women in the 1960s and 70s.
In 1970, Bohan launched the first Dior Homme collection – it has since become one of the most popular designer menswear collections, created by creative directors including Hedi Slimane and Kim Jones.
The Dior Haute Couture collection, which was an important part of the Chambres Syndicale Haute Couture in Paris, continued to be ever popular, with Princess Grace of Monaco and Princess Diana as customers.
In 1989, Gianfranco Ferré became the new Dior creative director, which caused a bit of a stir as Ferré was not French. He also introduced a stricter look as opposed to the previous more romantic collections.
In 1997, British designer John Galliano was introduced as the brand’s latest creative director, bringing a new, fresh lease of life to the historic fashion house. Galliano created some of the most memorable fashion shoes, filled with bold, avant-garde designs that took the fashion industry by storm.
After Galliano came Raf Simons, before Maria Grazia Chiuri was announced as the new creative director in 2016, being the first woman creative director at the house of Dior.
History of Chanel
The French fashion house, Chanel was founded by couturière Gabrielle Chanel in 1910, who created beloved womenswear collections, luxury goods, and stunning accessories. Gabrielle is now more commonly known as Coco Chanel, a nickname she gained after her time as a singer in Paris.
Chanel’s designs were a pivotal moment in the history of women’s fashion – she wanted to free women from the corset and create clothes that women were able to move in.
Chanel often included blouses and trousers in her collections, which were relatively new additions to women’s fashion in the 1910s. The simple designs, made from soft, flowing fabrics were a welcome change from the stiff, opulent designer that had come before.
The First World War impacted the materials that were available and so Chanel had to adapt, creating luxury clothes with the materials that were available. Flannel blazers, linen skirts, and jersey jumpers were some of her most popular designs that were incredibly successful.
The 1920s was also the decade that Chanel created the iconic little black dress. By choosing black, she went against the designs of her fellow fashion designers, who were creating brightly colored designs.
The little black dress was to allow women who were not wealthy to still look elegant and chic – those who were not rich could still look effortlessly stylish in affordable clothing.
During the second world war, Coco Chanel closed the house Chanel, only continuing to sell jewelry and her perfumes. In 1953, Chanel made a return, inspired by Dior’s New Look and its silhouette of a full bust and skirt, with a narrow waist in the middle.
Chanel’s ready-to-wear and haute couture collections were very popular while leather handbags were added to the brand. These featured gold chain link straps, that sometimes also feature leather threaded through them and allowed women to carry their bags in their hands or on the shoulder.
These chain straps have since become a defining element of Chanel’s designs – a timeless classic that has remained eternally fashionable.
In 1983, Karl Lagerfeld became the chief designer for the popular luxury brand. He kept classic elements that Coco herself often included in her designs – such as tweed, gold accents, and black and white beading and pearls.
Under the leadership of Lagerfeld, the house of Chanel continued to dress fashion icons, actresses and musicians. Lagerfeld also brought back the Chanel CC logo from the Chanel archives, which is often featured on jewelry, bags, or clothing, and has become a true status symbol.
In 2019, Virginie Viard became the new creative director. She had previously worked for the fashion house for 30 years and so knew how to combine the ladylike Chanel designs, with more contemporary silhouettes to keep the brand popular and successful.
Differences between Dior Vs Chanel
Although there are some similarities between these fashion brands, we are going to take a closer look at the differences in order to help you decide which brand is best for you, your budget, and your lifestyle.
1. Price range
Dior and Chanel handbags of any style are known to have a high price tag, but after some recent price increases, Chanel bags have become much more expensive than Dior. Chanel bag prices typically range from $2,950 to $10,000, while Dior bags are available for $3,000 and up to $7,000.
From what we’ve heard from the sales associates, Chanel now increases their prices up to twice a year. Some classic bags have even increased by close to 40% in just a matter of two years. Similarly, Dior implements a small price increase to reflect the increase in production costs, but it hasn’t been quite as extreme as Chanel’s.
2. Resale Value
The price increases at Chanel and the changes they have made to the availability of their handbags, which we will explore shortly, have meant that the resale value of Chanel bags has also increased. Classic Chanel bags such as the classic flap bag, especially those made from caviar leather, appreciate in value very well and so have a high resale price.
While Dior bags also have a great resale value, it is not quite as high as Chanel’s, and they’re harder to make a profit with. We believe that this is for a couple of reasons; Dior bags aren’t quite as sought-after as Chanel bags, they don’t have as many classic, timeless bags, they’re easier to acquire from stores, and they are also not as expensive to buy.
3. Exclusivity and availability
There have been some recent changes at Chanel that have made Chanel bags more exclusive and difficult to get hold of. For starters, they have recently implemented a new rule which states that you can only buy one classic bag in a year.
There are also waiting lists for customers to get their hands on their favorite Chanel bag, in their preferred color and type of leather. This means the resale market is a great place to buy a Chanel bag, as there are lots of different styles, leathers, and colors available, with no waiting list and no limit on how many you can buy – perfect!
There is no such system at Dior, the best-selling styles of Dior bags are much easier to purchase and there is no limit on how many you can buy. Dior bags may be more readily available, but this doesn’t make them any less luxurious. But if exclusivity is what you are looking for, then perhaps it is better to head to Chanel.
4. Quality Of Customer Service
Having shopped at both Chanel and Dior, it’s been obvious to us how different the customer service can be. While we wouldn’t describe Chanel’s service as bad by any means, based on our personal experience (the service at Chanel’s Paris boutique was fantastic!), you can definitely find rants upon rants on YouTube from disgruntled customers who’ve sworn off Chanel precisely because of how they were treated.
As for Dior, they are famous for their excellent customer service. Not only are the sales associates always happy to see and serve you, they really go above and beyond to make sure that you get exactly what you came to the store for. There is no aura of snobbiness.
There is a little bit of crossover between the materials available at Chanel and Dior, although there are some fabrics and finishes that are exclusive to each brand. Many Chanel and Dior bags are made from calfskin because of their luxurious nature while still remaining durable.
Chanel also often uses lambskin, this buttery soft and supple leather looks incredible but is less resilient and hardwearing. Dior also sometimes uses lambskin, although it is much less prevalent.
Chanel is known for its stunning caviar leather, which is exclusive to the brand, while Dior also has its own textured leather that is still beautiful but does not have all the same benefits as the Chanel caviar leather.
If you are not so interested in a leather bag and want to explore different materials then Dior may be the best brand for you as they also created their famous handbags from canvas, wicker, raffia, and satin – options you do not have at Chanel.
our top picks from Dior Vs Chanel
Both of the French brands offer some of the most iconic handbags and leather goods that feature on many bag-lovers wish lists – so here are a few of our top picks from Chanel vs Dior that you should consider.
1. shoulder bags
A shoulder bag is a chic and sophisticated must-have in your wardrobe, and these options from Dior and Chanel will take you from day to night.
For something a little more striking and unique, the trendy Dior Saddle bag is perfect – it has a simple design, beautifully crafted with minimalist decoration. This version of the Saddle bag is made from grained black calfskin which has then been decorated with a simple metallic D on the front, and elegant CD link on the handle that will show when you wear the bag under your arm.
The polished silver hardware of the chain strap and press lock contrasts the texture of the leather, to create a stunning bag.
Of course, any list of Chanel bags has to include a Chanel classic flap bag, this time it is the Caviar Quilted Medium Double Flap in a light purple shade. The caviar leather gives the bag a stunning texture but also ensures it is durable and more scratch resistant.
The green color of the bag is complemented by the light gold hardware, in the form of the CC logo turn-lock and leather threaded chain strap.
2. tote bags
Tote bags may be the most practical bags out there, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be totally gorgeous too – as these bags from Dior and Chanel display.
Although the Dior Book Tote is a new bag added to the collection in recent years, it became an instant success because of the practical design and ability to personalize it.
This version of the embroidered tote features a bold black and gold floral design across the bag, with the Christian Dior brand name in white, sitting on a black band around the bag. The open-top design means easy access to all your essentials, while the rolled canvas handles ensure comfort.
The Chanel Deauville tote is a beloved Chanel bag because of its simple, timeless design. Crafted for black caviar leather, the font of the bag features the Chanel advertisement design made from gold studs to add a little bit of glamour to your ensemble.
The gold chain also features a leather shoulder pad to guarantee comfort, no matter how much you fill the bag with!
3. Top-handle bags
There are lots of top handles available from many different fashion brands, but the Chanel Mini Coco bag and the Lady Dior bag are definitely top of the list.
The Lady Dior is one of the fashion house’s best-known and best-selling bags. The mini tote silhouette is made from white Cannage-quilted leather and decorated with a polished gold Dior logo charm and chunky leather top handles.
For ultimate versatility, the bag also comes with a detachable chain strap for multiple carrying options. The interior is fitted with a zipper pocket, helping you to remain organized.
The Chanel Mini Coco looks just beautiful in this unique chevron quilting, which is a welcome change from the usual Chanel diamond quilting. The black leather is accentuated by the glossy black hardware of the CC turn lock and classic Chanel chain-link strap.
The interior is just as perfect as the exterior – lined with black leather, the bag is divided into two compartments, and features a wall pocket too!
Both of these brands have been such big names in the fashion industry for decades, and have created some irresistible handbags that would be the perfect addition to any bag collection. However, to answer the Dior vs Chanel question, you have to ask what you want from your handbag and what your budget is.
If you do not have a tight budget, you’re looking for an investment bag and are willing to spend a little more on a luxury handbag, then you should go for a classic Chanel bag. They are eternally stylish, oh-so-chic, and will add a sophisticated element to any outfit. They are some of the most famous handbags for a reason.
If you have a smaller budget, don’t like the aesthetic of Chanel, want great customer service and are looking for a bag at a little more affordable price point, then head to Dior.
The bags are still pricey, but they have not been through such drastic price increases and therefore are more affordable. There is also much more aesthetic choice available from Dior, so if you want something unique then a Dior bag is perfect because there are many different designs and materials to choose from.
Whatever brand you pick, you are going to look stunning and the bag will be an investment piece that you will love for a lifetime!
We hope you enjoyed this analysis of Dior vs Chanel! For more luxury fashion content, check out the links below.