Tone & Texture: Choosing Chanel Textiles

lifestyle image of model wearing chanel WOC FASHIONPHILE

Tone & Texture: Choosing Chanel Textiles


Within the world of Chanel (and what a wonderful world it is), there’s much to be considered: it’s a veritable Candyland of colors, styles, sizes, and yes — textiles.

While it may not be the first thing you think about when looking into your next purchase, the textile is an important consideration to look into before you hit the checkout button.

Why? Well, darling, I’m glad you asked. The type of material your handbag is made from will influence the way that it looks, feels, how much care it will need, and ultimately, how well it wears. Which of course will influence how much it may be worth in the future.

So with that said, let’s explore the most popular textiles Chanel offers and a bit about the appeal (and potential drawbacks) of each.


When you think of a truly luscious, supple Chanel handbag, you’re probably picturing one made of lambskin — even if you don’t realize it.

Luxurious and almost pillowy in nature, lambskin is easily the most delicate of all Chanel textiles. It offers a luxe, “matte” looking finish that is gorgeous and high-end, but also rather hard to take care of.

For that reason, most experts (us included) usually wouldn’t recommend it as a beginner’s foray into Chanel. If you have your heart set on it (who are we to rain on your parade?) just be aware that you’ll need to treat it like the sheer gold that it is. That includes wiping it down with a dry cloth very regularly and avoiding exposure to harsh elements, oils, or chemicals.

product image of chanel lambskin bag FASHIONPHILE


Slightly more durable than lambskin, yet decidedly more supple than, say, a Caviar, calfskin has a finely-grained look available in a few different treatments.

“Aged” calfskin is a bit more creased, yet fresher than a “crumpled calfskin”, which is more textured and closer to caviar in both look and feel.

As you might have guessed, it’s quite versatile and can look very different from bag to bag.

product image of chanel calfskin bag FASHIONPHILE

Patent Leather

Typically more affordable than other leathers on this list, patent leather offers a high gloss finish that tends to catch your eye from across the room….or street or crowded theatre, or…you get the idea. It’s usually made from high-quality cattle hide and tends to be more affordable than other textiles — though not always.

Note: patent leather is definitely not stain resistant, and requires care to keep in good condition.

product image of patent leather chanel bag FASHIONPHILE


Possibly the most durable of all the Chanel leather options, goatskin is sure to stand the test of time. Despite this, it’s surprisingly soft and supple, though certainly more textured than lambskin. To the untrained eye, it may look very similar to a treated calfskin.

product image of goatskin chanel 19 FASHIONPHILE


Irresistible shine with a pebbled texture, the caviar is simply a classic. These bags tend to hold their value well, largely because they’re nearly scuff-proof, hold their shape well over time, and are just consistently popular.

It should be noted that caviar isn’t actually a type of leather (just as “patent” isn’t), but rather a way of treating the leather to achieve a certain look.

Historically (but not exclusively) made from calfskin, caviar can be either matte or suede. The grainy look and feel also vary significantly by season and year, so make sure to shop around to find the perfect fit for you.

Caviar is a go-to choice for a first-time buyer looking for a more ‘care-free’ option.

product image of chanel caviar flap bag FASHIONPHILE


No, you’re not crazy — that is most definitely not the name of an animal. It’s the last name of a french artisan named Jean-Claude Galuchat (oh right, of course, it is.)

So what exactly is it made from? Well give you a hint: unlike “caviar” leather, it’s actually a true descendant of the watery depths.

Shark or stingray skin is a rarity, but galuchat bags are proof that it does exist, with a delightfully bubbly texture that you’re sure to get comments on.

Note: these bags are surprisingly durable, though they can be hard to find.

product image of chanel galuchat bag at FASHIONPHILE

Other exotics

Other exotic skins — like alligator, crocodile, and similar — aren’t made by the fashion house any longer. You can occasionally find them on a pre-owned basis, which in the end, is the most sustainable way to use (and reuse!) exotic skins anyway.

product image of chanel alligator mini