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Article: Chanel History and Authentication

Chanel History and Authentication - Parallel Luxury
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Chanel History and Authentication

CHANEL HISTORY

Gabrielle Chanel grew up in a convent as an orphan, as a young adult she dabbled in cabaret dancing and was known for singing only two songs, because of lyrics she was given the nick name ‘Coco’, she later claimed it was given to her by her dad. She grew up poor, but being in the cabaret exposed her to very wealthy men. By the time Chanel was 27 she was designing hats and had garnered a celebrity following, including the most famous French actress of the time. The first brick and mortar Chanel shop was founded in 1910 at 21 Rue Cambon in Paris. Her hats at the time were named ‘Chanel Modes’ and her simple and elegant style quickly took over Paris.

Three years later Chanel opened a new boutique with the help of an investor. Her first advertisement was sending her sister and young aunt around town dressed in her clothing to get people into her shop, it worked. She began creating garments with jersey fabric, which was considered taboo at the time because jersey fabric was reserved for mens underwear. Her collection was not well received by the press, however it was well received by the public.

It’s rumored that Chanel is extremely fond of the number five, another rumor is that while going over perfumes, while testing the fifth one, she knew that one would be a classic. Either way, in 1921 Chanel N5 perfume was born, the first perfume in her collection and is the best selling perfume in the world.

After many trips to Scotland with the Duke of Westminster, Chanel came across tweed, yet another fabric that was mostly reserved for men. She brought this idea back to Paris and began using tweed for women’s suits. The stripes you’ll see integrated into collections is a nod to her time in Paris during WWI, seeing the sailers wearing stripes coming home from war.

In 1935 Chanel was at the height of her career, she owned 5 boutiques on Rue Cambon and employed over 4000 workers. She began to create ‘ready to wear’, before this you’d go to a boutique and be fitted for a dress that would then be made for you. With so many employees, many were making dresses to be sold in a ‘ready to wear’ collection. Yves Saint Laurent is the one who really brought ready to wear into reality.

Chanel stopped her clothing production during WWII, all but one boutique on Rue Cambon closed and the one remaining offered only perfume and accessories. After the war Chanel resumed production, she was embraced by the Americans and the British and was even hired to come to Hollywood to create custom wardrobe for the leading ladies.

Over time she opens and closes her fashion house and eventually reopens at the age of 71 as she was tired with the fashions at the time. It’s good she did because it was then she designed the 2.55 handbag, a timeless classic. Its name stems from the month and year it was created, February, 1955. Two years later the cap toe shoe was created, it’s made to flatter by shortening the foot and lengthening the leg. In the 60’s many famous women were spotted carrying Chanel bags and wearing Chanel garments, including Elizabeth Taylor, Grace Kelly and Jackie Kennedy, heightening the brand appeal.

In 1971, Coco Chanel passed away, but the brand lives on. It wasn’t until 1983 that Karl Lagerfeld was appointed artistic director for Chanel. Karl Largerfeld was able to go into Coco’s apartment (which was kept in place after her passing), to gain inspiration for the brand. Chanel wasn’t known for traveling often, but she was very interested in other cultures and leaned a great deal from books. Karl Lagerfeld continued his position at Chanel until his passing in 2019. The new artistic director for Chanel is Virginie Viard, never heard of her? She’s worked closely with Karl for 30 years, even going with him during his brief stint at Chloe. Virginie Viard was the one who would bring Karl’s sketches to life and with so much time at Chanel, she seems like a seamless fit.

 

 2.55 Handbag Authentication Tips: 

  • Serial number should be found on the left hand, bottom corner.
  • CC front turn lock will be perfect. The right C with always over lap the left C on top. Then the left C will over lap the right.
  • CC turn lock can be raised or flat, but it will always have a flat edge finish, never rounded.
  • Back of turn lock will read “Chanel” engraved on the left, “Paris” engraved on the right, here is where you will see flat screw heads.
  • The back pockets have quilting and the quilts will match up exactly with the rest of the handbag. There are specific numbers of stitch depending on size and style of the Chanel bag.

  • The leather in Chanel straps will always be stitched and never glued.

  • The first 2.55 handbags had only chain straps, leather was later added. Also the iconic CC logo and turn lock we all know and love was never even seen by Chanel, it was designed by Karl Lagerfeld in the 80’s. Below is the turn lock style Coco herself designed. 
East/West Reissue Flap Bag
  • Chain weight is another important factor to check for, it will always be heavier than its knock off counter part.
  • If the handbag comes with a dust bag always check the feel and typography.
  • Quilting pattern should remain consistent even when flap is closed. 
  • Be sure to inspect over all quality and structure.

 

Date Your Chanel handbag:

You can easily date a Chanel handbag by year by knowing the first two digits of the serial number. In fact, Chanel handbags didn’t always have serial numbers or authentication cards, because of the increase of counterfeit handbags and accessories, Chanel implemented serial numbers in 1984. The higher the first two digits on the serial number the newer your handbag is, for reference, serial numbers in 2020 begin with 26 (26XXXXXX). Scroll below for a chart to help date your handbag by year. 

Serial Numbers:

Chanel handbags and wallets each have their own serial number, jewelry and clothing both have date codes and those are not unique to each piece. In handbags, serial numbers are placed on a sticker, (now) covered with a hologram. Serial numbers are usually in a corner or pocket of a handbag. From 2000 onwards the sticker is protected with a clear hologram tape. Because serial numbers pre-2000's are not protected by any tape, many vintage Chanel bags may be missing their serial number stickers. Some serial number stickers become loose and authenticity cards are lost, that in itself doesn’t mean a Chanel bag is a counterfeit. You'll hear people refer to 18 series or 22 series, etc, these are the first two numbers of the Chanel serial number and points to the year it was made. 

1984 - To cut down on counterfeits, the very first serial number was added to Chanel handbags, (yes, there were knock offs even pre-80’s!) the serial number began with 1 and was a total of 6 digits (1XXXXX). Because these were not taped on and limited amount it's almost impossible to find one of these.  

1986 - Chanel began again and added a digit, this time making it a seven digit sequence beginning with 0XXXXXX .Chanel began the sequence over each year by going up a number until the beginning of 2005. Ending the seven digit sequence with 9XXXXXX.

In the year 2000, because of increased counterfeits Chanel added a hologram sicker to their serial number along with cut strike marks to prevent the serial number being removed and it looks more like the serial number we see today. 

Years: 1986-1991           Years: 1991-1994 

Years: 1994-1999            Years: 2000-2001 
(6 series) 

 

Years: 2002-2005

 

 2005-Present - In late 2005 Chanel introduced their eight digit sequence beginning with 10XXXXXX and has continued this until present day, going up a number each year.

Years: 2006 (11series) and 2010 (14 series) 

To get specific serial number examples for each year, scroll below.

Authentication Cards: 

Chanel authentication cards are no different from other luxury brands, the serial number on the card will match the serial number inside the handbag. Another thing to note is every serial number is unique to each Chanel handbag, meaning no handbags will ever have the same serial number.

- Authentication cards will never have a hologram effect and they will feel like a credit card, all type must be straight and aligned.  

- Handbags crafted after 2005 have a light grey dot (below) on the top left of their authenticity card, handbags before 2005 do not have a dot at all. Below is an authenticity card from a 26 series handbag circa 2019.

Counterfeits can have serial numbers and authentication cards too, it's extremely important to buy authenticated handbags, otherwise your investment could potentially be worth nothing. Our authentication experts are trained in quality checking, typography, stitch counting and specific brand knowledge to make accurate accounts of what is authentic and what is not.

Authentication Facts:

  • Chanel handbags are always made in France or Italy. Because of this hardware on French and Italian bags can differ slightly.
  • Handbags are always perfect, otherwise they are never released.
  • Leather handbags that are stamped ‘Chanel’ in the interior, the stamp is always heat pressed into the bag.
  • Chanel typography will always be perfect, including the spacing and placement (centered). Chanel has slightly altered the fonts on hardware over the years to throw off counterfeiters.
  • Stitching will always be consistent, typical Chanel quilting will have 9 or 10 stitches per square, depending on size and style of handbag.
  • The interior lining of the bag will lay perfectly, flat around the edges with a smooth finish. Most Chanel bags have a burgundy interior and this is a nod to Chanels upbringing in a convent, this was the color of their uniforms.
  • Stamping on the inside of the back will alway match the color of the outer hardware.
  • Zipper manufacturers have changed over the years, but Lampo zipper teeth are still always used. In the 70’s Chanel used Lampo Zipper pulls, others have been, the EP which generally has a pull tag made of leather, CCC in a circle pull charm, the OPTI DMC, the éclair, the DMC, YKK, and the no mark zipper which is typically found on vintage Chanel bags.
  • Chanel only uses superior leather and you can feel it in the quality. Most Chanel handbags are made of calfskin leather or lambskin leather. The most classic bags will have  smooth calfskin or lambskin. Chanel also releases handbags in patent, crackled patent, distressed, iridescent lambskin, aged calfskin, glazed calfskin, iridescent calfskin, goatskin, iridescent goatskin, deerskin, jersey, tweed, canvas, velvet, as well as exotic skins. In 2018 Chanel announced they will no longer use exotic skins or furs. Prior they have procured alligator, crocodile, lizard, python, snake, shark, stingray, mink, fox among others. This is a major shift as Chanel is the first large fashion house to do so.
  • Hardware on handbags is always attached with flat head screws. There are a few handbags released in 2019/2020 that have star head screws, but these are limited edition/rare handbags.

 

Serial Number

 Date

Features

Image of Serial Number Sticker

26XXXXXX

2019-Present

  • 8 digit serial number on white sticker covered with clear tape
  • Dual interlocking Chanel CC logos
  • X cut to prevent sticker from being removed without damaging
  • “CHANEL" written vertically in black on the right side of the sticker
  • Darkened vertical line on the left side of sticker  
  • Gold speckles throughout tape
  • 0's have strikethroughs 
  • 1’s have small serifs

 

25XXXXXX

2018-2019

  • 8 digit serial number on white sticker covered with clear tape
  • Dual interlocking Chanel CC logos
  • X cut to prevent sticker from being removed without damaging
  • “CHANEL" written vertically in black on the right side of the sticker
  • Darkened vertical line on the left side of sticker  
  • Gold speckles throughout tape
  • 0's have strikethroughs 
  • 1’s have small serifs

 

24XXXXXX

2017-2018

  • 8 digit serial number on white sticker covered with clear tape
  • Dual interlocking Chanel CC logos
  • X cut to prevent sticker from being removed without damaging
  • “CHANEL" written vertically in black on the right side of the sticker
  • Darkened vertical line on the left side of sticker  
  • Gold speckles throughout tape
  • 0's have strikethroughs 
  • 1’s have small serifs

 

23XXXXXX

2016-2017

  • 8 digit serial number on white sticker covered with clear tape
  • Dual interlocking Chanel CC logos
  • X cut to prevent sticker from being removed without damaging
  • “CHANEL" written vertically in black on the right side of the sticker
  • Darkened vertical line on the left side of sticker  
  • Gold speckles throughout tape
  • 0's have strikethroughs 
  • 1’s have small serifs

 

22XXXXXX

2016-2017

  • 8 digit serial number on white sticker covered with clear tape
  • Dual interlocking Chanel CC logos
  • X cut to prevent sticker from being removed without damaging
  • “CHANEL" written vertically in black on the right side of the sticker
  • Darkened vertical line on the left side of sticker  
  • Gold speckles throughout tape
  • 0's have strikethroughs 
  • 1’s have small serifs

 

21XXXXXX

2015 to 2016

  • 8 digit serial number on white sticker covered with clear tape
  • Dual interlocking Chanel CC logos
  • X cut to prevent sticker from being removed without damaging
  • “CHANEL" written vertically in black on the right side of the sticker
  • Darkened vertical line on the left side of sticker  
  • Gold speckles throughout tape
  • 0's have strikethroughs 
  • 1’s have small serifs

 

20XXXXXX

2014 to 2015

  • 8 digit serial number on white sticker covered with clear tape
  • Dual interlocking Chanel CC logos
  • X cut to prevent sticker from being removed without damaging
  • “CHANEL" written vertically in black on the right side of the sticker
  • Darkened vertical line on the left side of sticker  
  • Gold speckles throughout tape
  • 0's have strikethroughs 
  • 1’s have small serifs

 

19XXXXXX

2014

  • 8 digit serial number on white sticker covered with clear tape
  • Dual interlocking Chanel CC logos
  • X cut to prevent sticker from being removed without damaging
  • “CHANEL" written vertically in black on the right side of the sticker
  • Darkened vertical line on the left side of sticker  
  • Gold speckles throughout tape
  • 0's have strikethroughs 
  • 1’s have small serifs

 

18XXXXXX

2013 to 2014

  • 8 digit serial number on white sticker covered with clear tape
  • Dual interlocking Chanel CC logos
  • X cut to prevent sticker from being removed without damaging
  • “CHANEL" written vertically in black on the right side of the sticker
  • Darkened vertical line on the left side of sticker  
  • Gold speckles throughout tape
  • 0's have strikethroughs 
  • 1’s have small serifs

 

17XXXXXX

2012 to 2013

  • 8 digit serial number on white sticker covered with clear tape
  • Dual interlocking Chanel CC logos
  • X cut to prevent sticker from being removed without damaging
  • “CHANEL" written vertically in black on the right side of the sticker
  • Darkened vertical line on the left side of sticker  
  • Gold speckles throughout tape
  • 0's have strikethroughs 
  • 1’s have small serifs

 

16XXXXXX

2012

  • 8 digit serial number on white sticker covered with clear tape
  • Dual interlocking Chanel CC logos
  • X cut to prevent sticker from being removed without damaging
  • “CHANEL" written vertically in black on the right side of the sticker
  • Darkened vertical line on the left side of sticker  
  • Gold speckles throughout tape
  • 0's have strikethroughs 
  • 1’s have small serifs

 

15XXXXXX

2011

  • 8 digit serial number on white sticker covered with clear tape
  • Dual interlocking Chanel CC logos
  • X cut to prevent sticker from being removed without damaging
  • “CHANEL" written vertically in black on the right side of the sticker
  • Darkened vertical line on the left side of sticker  
  • Gold speckles throughout tape
  • 0's have strikethroughs 
  • 1’s have small serifs

 

14XXXXXX

2010 to 2011

  • 8 digit serial number on white sticker covered with clear tape
  • Dual interlocking Chanel CC logos
  • X cut to prevent sticker from being removed without damaging
  • “CHANEL" written vertically in black on the right side of the sticker
  • Darkened vertical line on the left side of sticker  
  • Gold speckles throughout tape
  • 0's have strikethroughs 
  • 1’s have small serifs

 

13XXXXXX

2009 to 2010

  • 8 digit serial number on white sticker covered with clear tape
  • Dual interlocking Chanel CC logos
  • X cut to prevent sticker from being removed without damaging
  • “CHANEL" written vertically in black on the right side of the sticker
  • Darkened vertical line on the left side of sticker  
  • Gold speckles throughout tape
  • 0's have strikethroughs 
  • 1’s have small serifs

 

12XXXXXX

2008 to 2009

  • 8 digit serial number on white sticker covered with clear tape
  • Dual interlocking Chanel CC logos
  • X cut to prevent sticker from being removed without damaging
  • “CHANEL" written vertically in black on the right side of the sticker
  • Darkened vertical line on the left side of sticker  
  • Gold speckles throughout tape
  • 0's have strikethroughs 
  • 1’s have small serifs

 

11XXXXXX

2006 to 2008

  • 8 digit serial number on white sticker covered with clear tape
  • Dual interlocking Chanel CC logos
  • X cut to prevent sticker from being removed without damaging
  • “CHANEL" written vertically in black on the right side of the sticker
  • Darkened vertical line on the left side of sticker  
  • Gold speckles throughout tape
  • 0's have strikethroughs 
  • 1’s have small serifs

 

10XXXXXX

2005 to 2006

  • 8 digit serial number on white sticker covered with clear tape
  • Dual interlocking Chanel CC logos
  • X cut to prevent sticker from being removed without damaging
  • “CHANEL" written vertically in black on the right side of the sticker
  • Darkened vertical line on the left side of sticker  
  • Gold speckles throughout tape
  • 0's have strikethroughs 
  • 1’s have small serifs

 

9XXXXXX

2004 to 2005

  • 7 digit serial number on white sticker covered with clear tape
  • Dual interlocking Chanel CC logos
  • X cut to prevent sticker from being removed without damaging
  • “CHANEL" written vertically in black on the right side of the sticker
  • Darkened vertical line on the left side of sticker  
  • Gold speckles throughout tape
  • 0's have strikethroughs 
  • 1’s have small serifs

 

8XXXXXX

2003 to 2004

  • 7 digit serial number on white sticker covered with clear tape
  • Dual interlocking Chanel CC logos
  • X cut to prevent sticker from being removed without damaging
  • “CHANEL" written vertically in black on the right side of the sticker
  • Darkened vertical line on the left side of sticker  
  • Gold speckles throughout tape
  • 0's have strikethroughs 
  • 1’s have small serifs

 

7XXXXXX

2002 to 2003

  • 7 digit serial number on white sticker covered with clear tape
  • Dual interlocking Chanel CC logos
  • X cut to prevent sticker from being removed without damaging
  • “CHANEL" written vertically in black on the right side of the sticker
  • Darkened vertical line on the left side of sticker  
  • Gold speckles throughout tape
  • 0's have strikethroughs 
  • 1’s have small serifs

 

6XXXXXX

2000-2002

  • 7 digit serial number printed on white sticker covered with clear tape -Cover in dual interlocking Chanel CC logos

 

  • 0’s have strikethroughs up to 51XXXXX

 

  • 0’s have no strikethroughs from 52XXXXX to 56XXXXX.

 

  • From 57XXXXX on:
  • 0’s have strikethroughs 
  • 1’s have small serifs
  • X cut to prevent sticker from being removed without damaging.
  • “CHANEL" written vertically in black on the right side of the sticker
  • Darkened vertical line on the left side of sticker  
  • Gold speckles throughout tape

 

5XXXXXX

1997 to 1999

  • 7 digit serial number printed on white sticker
  • Covered with interlocking Chanel CC logos
  • Opaque film covers sticker 
  • 0’s have strikethroughs 
  • 1’s are sans-serifs

 

4XXXXXX

1996 to 1997

  • 7 digit serial number printed on white sticker
  • Covered with interlocking Chanel CC logos
  • Opaque film covers sticker 
  • 0’s have strikethroughs 
  • 1’s are sans-serifs

 

3XXXXXX

1994 to 1996

  • 7 digit serial number printed on white sticker
  • Covered with interlocking Chanel CC logos
  • Opaque film covers sticker 
  • 0’s no strikethroughs up to 27XXXXXX
  • 1’s have serifs

 

2XXXXXX

1991 to 1994

  • 7 digit serial number printed on white sticker
  • Covered with interlocking Chanel CC logos
  • Opaque film covers sticker 
  • 0’s no strikethroughs up to 27XXXXXX
  • 1’s have serifs

 

1XXXXXX

1989 to 1991

  • 7 digit serial number printed on white sticker
  • Covered with interlocking Chanel CC logos
  • Cut out on the left side, serial number printed on cut out piece
  • Opaque film covers sticker 
  • 0’s no strikethroughs 
  • 1’s have serifs

 

0XXXXXX

1986 to 1988

  • 7 digit serial number printed on white sticker
  • Covered with interlocking Chanel CC logos
  • Cut out on the left side, serial number printed on cut out piece
  • Opaque film covers sticker 
  • 0’s no strikethroughs 
  • 1’s have serifs

 

1XXXXX or 2XXXXX

1984-1986

  • 6 digit serial number printed on larger white sticker
  • Serial Number begins with 1 or 2

 

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