What is it about Chanel? Its the brand with endless cachet and je ne sais quoi that few can resist. By all accounts Coco Chanel, though an innovative, feminist genius, was an anti-semite who resented her licensing deal with Pierre Wertheimer, even know he set her up with an apartment at The Ritz Paris for life (I’d happily sell my name, my soul, and my first born for an apartment at The Ritz). In 1983 Karl Lagerfeld revived the house and, particularly in the last couple decades, changed the aesthetic from The Ladies who Lunch to The Cool Kids. Chanel is now synonymous with Karl Lagerfeld; he is also creative director of Fendi and boasts his own namesake line, but its Chanel and Karl that go hand in hand. I can’t think of a single true fashionista who doesn’t die for Chanel. Unlike other instantly recognizable luxury brands like Hermes, Chanel is a statement, not just a status symbol. Its not particularly avante-garde, but somehow its always at the forefront of high fashion. And that’s why we love Chanel.
The baby boomers will never forget where they were when President Kennedy was shot. My generation will never forget where they were when Ross said Rachel’s name at his wedding to Emily, and I’ll never forget where I was when I got my very first Chanel bag. The year was 2005 and I had been lusting after a Chanel bag all year, thanks to Mischa Barton on The OC and a pre-rehab Lindsay Lohan. I was fortunate to own other designer bags from Gucci, Chloe, and Dior but I knew in my heart that I would live a meaningless and empty life if I didn’t get my hands on a Chanel Cambon purse. Fortunately, I was graduating from law school and convinced my mom (and believe me it took some convincing…no I do not want a new laptop, mom) that the Chanel Cambon was the ideal present. The price point wasn’t ridiculous and the style was young and trendy. We purchased the bag at the Chanel boutique inside Neiman Marcus at Tysons Corner in Virginia and I was instantly hooked and longing for more.
Making your first Chanel purchase is a slippery slope, as I truly believe its the crack of designer labels. The Cambon bag was a gateway drug, and I craved a flap, a pearl necklace, and ready to wear until it turned into a full on addiction. When you purchase your first Chanel, be sure and read the fine print, because you basically make a lifelong committment to the brand. Your purchase consititues a legally binding contract to love, cherish, and honor Chanel so long as you and Karl Lagerfeld shall live. And to be honest, given the men out there, I’d happily marry a chanel handbag if our union would be legally recognized by the state of Florida.