The Guide to Chanel Leathers and Materials

Chanel Leather Guide

The decision to buy a Chanel bag is always easy, but choosing which Chanel leather to pick is much more challenging. With many exquisite options readily available, how do you know which is the best for you?  

Every Chanel leather type is lovely — after all, it is Chanel!  But, each leather that Chanel uses bestows a different look and feel, and also varies in proper handling and care.

Consult our guide below to select the best Chanel leather for your new handbag! We cover the most popular Chanel materials, leathers, and fabrics, as well as the discontinued exotic skins. And, we also cover how to care for your classic Chanel handbag to ensure it looks its best for years of enjoyment.

The Most Popular Chanel Leathers

These are the Chanel leather types in current production and prove the most popular in sales. 

Chanel Lambskin Leather 

Chanel Lambskin Leather

Without a doubt, Lambskin is one of the most popular Chanel leathers, and it is undoubtedly the softest one among luxury handbags. It figures prominently in our list of the best bags for the discerning Chanel collector. Most often used in the Classic Flap Bags, Lambskin is almost velvet-like to the touch, and it has a soft, rich sheen. This sophisticated leather requires the utmost care to remain in great condition. It is critical to store Chanel Lambskin bags with the chains tucked inside to prevent denting the leather. Moisturize the lambskin often to keep it soft and supple.

Chanel Iridescent Lambskin Leather

Chanel Iridescent Lambskin Leather

Soft to the touch and with a beautiful sheen, this Chanel Iridescent Lambskin leather is coated to produce an exquisite mother of pearl sheen that picks up different colors. In addition, the coating makes the surface far more resistant to scratches and easier to maintain. Any scratches that do occur can be easily buffed out with a clean finger.

Chanel Caviar Leather

Chanel Caviar Leather

Chanel’s Caviar Leather is perhaps the most recognizable leather of the French Chanel’s Caviar leather is perhaps the most recognizable leather of the celebrated French fashion house. Caviar is the most highly coveted of all Chanel leathers, and it holds the highest resale value. It is made from pebbled calfskin with visible and tactile grains making this leather tougher and heavier than Lambskin, and a popular choice among those who want to carry their Chanel bag more often.

When crafted in Chanel’s iconic diamond quilt, Caviar holds the puffed appearance longer than Lambskin. Caviar also holds the bag’s overall shape better than any other Chanel leather. Although Caviar doesn’t show scratches and blemishes as easily as other leathers, it is still essential to properly care for and store it. Also, be aware that light-colored Caviar leather is prone to color transfer, so be careful not to place it against dark fabrics.

Chanel Calfskin Leather

Chanel Calfskin Leather

Soft and smooth, Chanel Calfskin is made from calf hide. Most often used in Chanel’s iconic quilted designs, such as the Boy bag, its small and delicate grains give it an elegant texture. Calfskin is very versatile, nicely balancing the soft, supple feel of Lambskin with the look of Caviar. Despite its smooth look and feel, Calfskin is quite durable.

Chanel Aged Calfskin Leather

Chanel Aged Calfskin Leather

Often seen in Chanel’s Reissue line because of its vintage look with visible wrinkles, Aged Calfskin is an excellent choice for those looking for a slouchier handbag for daily use. This Chanel leather doesn’t show scratches or blemishes easily. It is soft to the touch yet nearly as tough and durable as Caviar.

Chanel Glazed Calfskin Leather

Chanel Glazed Calfskin Leather

Smooth to the touch with a shiny look, this Chanel leather has a polished quality that attracts many. However, be careful to store any Glazed Calfskin leather bag with the handles inside the bag, and don’t let it rub against any hard surfaces, as the glazing can come off. Glazed Calfskin will crack slightly with wear, with many enjoying this “worn” look.

Chanel Iridescent Calfskin Leather

Chanel Iridescent Calfskin Leather

Shiny, shimmering, and splendid. Often compared to Caviar in terms of durability, Chanel’s Iridescent Calfskin doesn’t show scratches, and it’s perfect for handbags that see a lot of wear. In addition, this easy-to-clean Chanel leather can be dressed up or dressed down depending on the occasion.

Chanel Goatskin (Chevre) Leather

Chanel Goatskin (Chevre) Leather

Goat hide is one of the toughest and most durable leathers among all luxury handbags. It can withstand tremendous wear and tear, and it’s a great option for hard-working handbags that see a great deal of use, such as totes. Despite its toughness, Goatskin is very soft to the touch. Something to keep in mind with this Chanel leather is that with wear, Goatskin leather handbags will slouch a bit from the top, but the sides will keep their shape nicely.

Chanel Iridescent Goatskin Leather

Chanel Iridescent Goatskin Leather

This Chanel leather has the same durable qualities as Goatskin but is coated to create a beautiful metallic sheen. With lots of wear, the metallic film on the bag can start to peel or fall off, so be careful with your Metallic Goatskin Chanel bag, and always carry it with the utmost care, or reserve it for special occasions.

Chanel Patent Leather

Chanel Patent Leather

Made from calf hide, shiny Patent leather gives any bag an instant vintage look and feel. Please be aware that this Chanel leather is prone to color transfer, so keep light color Patent leather bags away from any dark fabrics, like denim. Patent leather requires extra care when wearing or storing, as scratches are impossible to remove.

Chanel Crackled Patent Leather

Chanel Crackled Patent Leather

With its soft grain and crackled appearance, this Chanel leather has a distinctive vintage appeal. Any scratches and blemishes blend right into the look of the Crackled Patent leather, so they don’t show, making this the go-to Chanel Patent leather for people who don’t want to baby their bags.

Chanel Galuchat Leather

Chanel Galuchat Leather

Most often seen on Boy bags, this exotic Chanel leather is made from sharkskin or stingray skin. It is named after leather craftsman Jean-Claude Galuchat, who used new techniques to create it. Galuchat leather is often painted in various colors, and it’s impressively durable, even more so than cowhide leathers.

Chanel Exotic Skins

Chanel leathers derived from exotic skins like crocodiles and pythons have been discontinued, but there’s always a chance to locate a special piece on the secondary market. 

Chanel Alligator Leather

Chanel Alligator Leather

A popular Chanel material is alligator skin. A Chanel alligator handbag will have exceptionally vibrant colors and is very sophisticated. The leather is also quite durable as it does not show scratches. However, alligator skin should be moisturized and properly stored to keep it looking beautiful and fresh for as long as possible.

Chanel Crocodile Leather

Chanel Crocodile Leather

Chanel’s Crocodile handbags differ from their alligator counterparts due to the size of the scales. Alligator scales are more symmetrical, while crocodile scales are more defined. Crocodile skin has small “pores” in the middle of each scale, another distinction. Both of these exotics skins should be kept away from water and moisturized often.

Chanel Python Leather

Chanel Python Leather

The scales on Python skin show off color beautifully, and the wide range of patterns guarantees that not two Chanel Python bags are ever exactly alike. Python is a lightweight and relatively easy-to-maintain Chanel leather, but must be kept away from water to prevent damage. Python scales have a tendency to lift and are difficult to return to a flat position. Coated Python is more durable than untreated Python, though the scales are not as pronounced when coated.

Other Chanel Materials

Not all Chanel bag materials are leather. Chanel bags elevate the look and feel of simple fabrics to luxury levels like only Chanel can achieve.

Chanel Jersey Fabric

Chanel Jersey Fabric

If you’re looking for a more casual bag that is still every inch a Chanel, you simply cannot go wrong with Jersey. This knit material is great for everyday use, but keep in mind that, as with any Chanel fabric material, stains can occur, and this is one Jersey you should never attempt to wash yourself. Professional cleaning is recommended. When purchasing a Jersey Chanel bag, keep in mind that pilling can occur over time with heavy wear. 

Chanel Tweed Fabric

Chanel Tweed Fabric

Fewer things are more iconic than a Chanel tweed or bouclé suit. If you love the material but are not much of a suit person, Tweed Chanel bags are chic and eye-catching. This Chanel material can be rough to the touch, but it’s quite durable. Just be careful not to let your Tweed bag get caught on anything, as holes are difficult to repair.

Chanel Canvas Fabric

Chanel Canvas Fabric

Chanel Canvas is a stylish option for those wanting a more casual look. This Chanel fabric material provides little to no structure, giving any canvas handbag a relaxed look. Chanel uses canvas in their popular Deauville totes. Just like any fabric, be careful with stains, as they’re hard to remove. But the very tight weave of the material ensures that Chanel Canvas bags won’t pill and are unlikely to catch.

Chanel Velvet Fabric

Chanel Velvet Fabric

Velvet has come back in popularity in the past few years, no doubt because its regal elegance makes any Velvet Chanel bag instantly Instagrammable. This Chanel fabric material is every bit as dressy as the finest leather. However, velvet must be treated with the utmost care, as the fabric can be rubbed away, and any stains or blemishes are difficult to remedy. 

Leather Chanel Bag Cleaning and Storage 

Now that we have reviewed the Chanel leathers and fabrics let’s take a look at how to care for these exquisite accessories. While Chanel does offer a “spa treatment” to revitalize worn bags, learning to handle your own Chanel bag cleaning and care will ensure it looks its best for years to come.

Leather Chanel Bag Cleaning

Leather Chanel bag cleaning can not and must not include water. The leather may stain or blister with water. And hard water may leave water deposits that can prove challenging to remove. Instead, clean, moisturize, and condition your Chanel leather bags with a gentle, colorless conditioning creme. At Madison Avenue Couture, we use Meltonian Delicate Cream 170 to nourish and bring out the luster in our Chanel leather bags. Apply the cream to a clean microfiber cloth. Gently dab it on the leather bag, then rub it in gently. Allow the bag to sit for 30 minutes, soaking up the moisturizer, then gently buff the leather to a shine. You can also use a baby wipe (choose one with no additives) for spot cleaning, but don’t forget to moisturize the leather.

If the Chanel logo or hardware becomes tarnished, use a silver cleaning cloth to buff the metal. This will remove the tarnish and can minimize the appearance of small scratches. 

How to Store Leather Chanel Bag

When storing Chanel bags, it is essential to do so in an environment free of smoke, perfume, and mothballs. These odors will permeate the Chanel leather and fabric and can be impossible to eradicate.

Empty your Chanel bag of wallet, keys, and other contents. You don’t want these items to put pressure on the leather or fabric and risk creating creases or dents. Tuck the chain handles inside the bag to prevent damage to the leather surface, then slip the bag into your dust bag. Store in a temperature-controlled environment, and keep it away from excessive dryness or humidity.

Shopping for Chanel Leather Bags

Now, you have the inside scoop on all the Chanel leathers and materials, as well as how to care for them. No matter which Chanel leather handbag you’re looking to purchase, we’re sure you can find the bag of your dreams at Madison Avenue Couture. Happy shopping!

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