Hardware is more than random metal pieces that hold the bag together; it’s the jewelry that accentuates it.
In this post, we’re not talking about your run of the mill hardware. We’re talking about Chanel hardware, of course. Chanel has one of the most stunning portfolios of hardware, and over the years it has grown and evolved to include some of the most beautiful, rare, and sought-after designs. Just like Chanel textile colors are seasonal and unique, like pinks, so too is the hardware.
Not only is Chanel hardware iconic, but identifying hardware pieces is a huge piece of the authentication puzzle. In this complete guide on Chanel hardware, we’ll showcase the different styles, the various colored metals they come in, and some expert tips to expand your Chanel authentication and brand knowledge.
Chanel Hardware 101
Hardware sometimes doesn’t seem like an obviously important aspect to a bag. But in reality, hardware is everything. When holding a luxury bag in your hand, the quality of all its features is so apparent versus holding a fast fashion bag. In the case of Chanel, well, you probably notice the hardware right away. And that’s the whole point.
From the materials that Chanel uses, to of course the hardware on every bag, all details are meticulously thought out and crafted by the most renowned artisans located across France, Italy, and Spain. Over time, Chanel has brought to life some of the world’s most gorgeous hardware pieces that make their collections so distinct. Read on for a glimpse into some of Chanel’s most iconic hardware.
Lock It in with Iconic Chanel Hardware
Chanel hardware is loved so much that even DIYers repurpose authentic Chanel hardware found in thrift stores belonging to clothes, bags and accessories into custom jewelry. So, let’s debate this: Hardware sustains the demand for Chanel, particularly their iconic bags. Come to think of it, what would these bags be without them?
The Chanel Mademoiselle Lock & chain strap
The Bag: Chanel 2.55
The very first Chanel flap was a single flap brought to life in the 1920s. Coco Chanel added a strap to a clutch and the first carryall was born.
This concept revolutionized handbags, especially for women, at a time when bags were often carried by hand giving women limited styling options. This eventually inspired Coco to release the 2.55 in February of 1955. Beyond the artful design and simplicity of its turn lock, the name is significant because it’s inspired by the fact that Coco Chanel never married. The Mademoiselle turn-lock is also a more understated look compared to other locks, but the all metal chain gives this bag a very distinctive look.
The Chanel CC Turn-lock & leather chain strap
The Bag: Chanel Double Flap
Inspired by the 2.55, Karl Lagerfeld reimagined the 2.55 bag in the 1980s replacing the Mademoiselle turn-lock with CC hardware, and changing the all metal chain strap with an interwoven leather and chain strap.
This gave the flap a more fresh and modern look. The hardware upgrade brought to life a new timeless style. This bag, coming in both single and double flap versions, is considered to be what we all think of as the “classic flap.” For more information on this ever-popular style, be sure to visit our Ultimate Chanel Flap Guide.
The Boy bag was named after Coco Chanel’s longtime lover, Boy Capel. These bags come in various sizes but one thing remains the same. The hardware. The rectangular CC push-lock plaque is iconic and adds a little bit of substance to this bag. Additionally, the thicker chain strap gives the Boy bag a little bit of “extra” that we all need.
It borrows inspiration from both the 2.55 and the Classic Flap. The chunky-chain link shoulder strap, similar to the Chanel Boy, is a combination of silver, ruthenium and aged gold. If you’re thinking of investing in one, this post shares what it was like purchasing one with the help from one of our Personal Shoppers.
Types of Chanel Hardware
Polished gold – shiny gold options also includes 24k hardware. More on that in a bit!
Matte gold – gold with a light brushed finish.
Light Gold – a shiny more pale lighter champagne gold.
Aged Gold – a gold that has a more rustic finish.
Polished Rose gold – polished rose gold came out 2012, then a pink gold tone came out for 21B. This hardware option is perfect for those who like to enjoy (and wear) the rosier things in life.
Polished silver – shiny silver, what else.
Aged Ruthenium – a more rustic, darker silver.
So Black – black hardware that perfectly matches the black leather.
Incognito – this is an iconic lacquered type of hardware and bags with this hardware have a snap closure.
Rainbow – does it get more colorful than this?
24k Hardware – Some older Chanel Flap bags with gold-colored hardware have 24k hardware.
These were introduced in 1985 and are distinguished by a special hallmark on the CC hardware, which can be located at any of the four corners. Hallmark symbols include “W” or “///” among others, and denote the origin of the gold. 24k hardware was discontinued in 2008. Chanel Flap styles made pre-2009 and current are not gold-plated but you may notice a symbol or mark on the CC that says “Chanel.” Watch this clip for more 24k hardware.
Bonus Chanel hardware
In addition to the hardware mentioned above, there are plenty of seasonal hardware releases, as well. Here are some gorgeous standouts!
Authenticating Chanel Hardware
Hardware plays a huge part in the authentication process. Our specialists who have been trained for hours in Chanel inspect the color and shape of all hardware, and follow the brand guides that we update on a regular basis to reflect the latest seasonal additions. Overall, they check for tarnishing, chipping, streaking, any ripple effects, or a rough finish, as well as incorrect engravings and screws that are inconsistent with Chanel standards. If you’d like to see a side-by-side comparison of an authentic versus fake Chanel bag, check out our post on dissecting fake Chanel.
As you know, hardware is just one piece of the authentication puzzle. If you’re interested in expanding more of your Chanel knowledge, check out our Chanel authentication guide on serial codes. This guide lays the foundation for decoding both the old serial stickers and the new metal plates that have recently replaced the traditional serial code stickers!