When searching for vintage Chanel bags, one of the main queries (and worries) is the bag you are looking at is genuine or not? Which I know is very important criteria when you are thinking about ‘investing’ in vintage Chanel piece. I am often a bit saddened that vintage Chanel is now synonymous with ‘fakes’ because vintage Chanel pieces are beautiful!
The history behind Chanel the designer and the person makes ‘Chanel’ even more intriguing and I really want to preserve Chanel’s integrity. I am really passionate vintage Chanel - it has to be vintage more than 10 years or older - I would rather have a ‘old’ piece over a ‘new’ piece any day being a collector and seller.
Here are some ‘inside’ tips of what to look for when you are searching for the authentic vintage Chanel bag. We concentrate a lot on what the bag looks ‘outside’ but some times its all about the details...
We are going to look at vintage zipper pulls, the following examples are some of the zipper pulls I have often come across from vintage Chanel bags from early 1980s to late 1990s. There are several variations, and if you have a vintage Chanel bag check against these pictures and if the zipper pull matches the below examples your bag is most likely to be authentic Chanel.
Company ‘DMC’ zipper pull with a rounded double ‘C’ pull tag
Three circles triple C
Quite common on the early 80’s style look for a circle with three ‘C’s inside the circle
Another common zipper pull found on bags from the 1990s
Lampo zippers are synonymous with vintage Chanel bags and are often found on the late 70s to early 80s bags. Lampo is an Italian company and has been make accessory zips since 1887.
Sometimes you can find ‘LAMPO’ engraved on the main zipper pull. Interestingly you can find Lampo zips not only on vintage Chanel bags but also on vintage Louis Vuitton and sometimes Gucci and YSL bags.
Sometimes you can tell a Lampo zip by its zipper pull it has a ‘bulbous’ shape, sometimes it may say ‘L’’ for Lampo on the reverse side sometimes its left blank with no ‘L’ stamping.
Reverse side of a ‘Lampo’ zip with initial ‘L’
Eclair zip on a vintage Hermes bag
Eclair zip on a vintage Chanel
Another company that is synonymous with luxury brands are 'Eclair' Zips. The first original zip was invented in the US in 1891. But in 1924 the 'zip' was patented in France by the French company 'Eclair' and their Rouen based factory become the main supplier of quality zips to majority of Europe. Often Eclair zips are used on late 70s or early 80s vintage Chanel bags and also on vintage Hermes bags.
Sometimes vintage Chanel bags have a 'plain slider' i.e a plain zipper pull with no company or trade markings - don't be alarmed this does not mean the bag is a 'fake' as long as it has a rounded double ‘C’ pull tag at the end it should be fine.
Early EP style zip with a rounded double ‘C’ pull tag. EP zipper pulls are still being used on present day ‘modern’ Chanel bags. I have also found EP zips used on vintage Celine bags. EP zips are part of the 'Eclair Prym' group - see orginal Eclair zip above, the French 'Eclair' group later merged with the German 'Prym' group in 1999.
MODERN EP ZIPPER
Example of a ‘modern’ day EP zipper as seen here on a authentic 2.55 caviar classic bag from the 2005 collection. This style of EP zipper is usually found on authentic 2.55 classic such as black, biege, white caviar and lambskin flap bags. The zipper pull usually have a thin leather pull tab please note that the leather pull tab should match the main bag base, i.e if the bag is caviar skin the leather pull tab should be caviar skin too!
YKK is a very common zipper make, they are found everywhere including even on some 'modern' day Chanel bags, the YKK zipper should be found on the following:
2005: Medium Red Caviar [seasonal]
2006: Large Coral Lambskin [seasonal]
2006-2007: Large Violet Lambskin [seasonal]
2006-2007: Large Bleu Fonce Lambskin [seasonal]