Chanel purses are considered some of the most luxurious in the handbag market. Due to the fact they're sought after by fashionistas worldwide, there are many replica purses made that try to copy the authentic look of Chanel. However, it's easy to tell whether a Chanel purse is real or fake if you know what to look out for.
Authentic Chanel purses are either made from lambskin or caviar leather (made from calfskin). Often, you can tell if a purse is fake based on the look of the leather.
For instance, a lambskin Chanel purse will have a buttery soft texture, whereas the caviar leather will have a bubbly aesthetic. Essentially, if the leather doesn't look like the highest possible quality, then you're probably dealing with a counterfeit product.
If the product in question consists of Chanel's signature diamond quilted design, an authentic purse will have consistent lines that align at every opportunity. If the lines misalign around the fastening, across the flap, or anywhere else, consider the purse unreal.
All authentic Chanel purses have a high stitch count (more than ten stitches per inch) for durability and added value. If the purse you're checking out has fewer than ten stitches per inch and looks puffy, then it must be fake. After all, replica manufacturers lower the stitch count to reduce the cost of craftsmanship so they can sell their purses for a fraction of the price of an authentic Chanel.
Fake Chanel purses don't stand up straight and usually have a boxy shape in comparison to genuine Chanel bags. They also have rounded corners due to the poor quality material used to construct the bag. As Chanel epitomizes luxury and uses the best materials that are made to last, they are much more sturdy, structured, and stand up straight.
Lock and Hardware
You can easily tell the difference between a real and fake Chanel purse if you analyze the lock fastening and/or hardware.
Chanel purses like the classic 2.55 quilted flap handbag from previous years feature the designer's iconic interlocking double C logo. If the bag is authentic, this hardware will be very well-defined and centered, with the right C crossing over the left C at the top of the logo and the left C crossing over the right C at the bottom. The width of each C should also match the width of the gap between the two C's demonstrating further precision. In terms of the finish, the logo on an authentic Chanel will have a smooth, flat edge and sometimes a marking on one C, which indicates the country where the purse was made.
On any real Chanel purse, the inside of the lock should state "Chanel" on the left-hand side and "Paris" on the right-hand side. The lock should also be attached by two flathead screws and look perfectly parallel to the edge of the bag or the flap (if it has a flap). Any lock that appears wonky or has the screw popping up is an undeniable fake.
Inspect your zipper and make sure it is one of the few genuine types that Chanel purses use. These include the Lampo zipper for metal teeth, the EP zipper featuring a leather pull tag, the three C's in a circle zipper, the OPTI DMC zipper, the éclair zipper, the DMC zipper, the YKK zipper, and the no mark zipper found on vintage Chanel bags.
Chain and Leather Woven Straps
Sometimes you can spot a counterfeit Chanel purse just by glancing at the straps.
One of Chanel's signature strap designs is a chain and leather combination woven together. The chain section is made with 24-carat gold that is rich and yellow in hue, making it feel quite heavy. However, fakes often use a pale yellow gold chain that isn't authentic gold, and therefore feel incredibly lightweight as a result.
In terms of the stitching on an authentic Chanel purse strap, it should be clean and seamless. You shouldn't be able to see any crooked lines or bumps, like with a counterfeit version.
It's not just the exterior of a Chanel purse that gives the game away when it comes to its authenticity. You should analyze its interior detailing too.
For a clear indication of whether a Chanel purse is real, check how closely the lining sits within the body of the bag. It should be tight to the edges with a smooth finish unlike with a fake, where the lining is lumpy and ill-fitting.
Most authentic Chanel purses have a quilted interlocking C logo on the inner flap or body. The "Chanel" gold stamping should be approximately 1.5 cm below this logo and be 3.3cm in width, otherwise, the purse is a replica. There should also be a stamp stating "Made in France" either directly below the "Chanel" stamping or opposite it on the inner body.
Every real Chanel purse comes with an authenticity card in one of its compartments. This should have gold edges, be as thick as a credit card, and feature perfectly aligned text. If the card in your purse has a multi-colored hologram effect, is thin like cardboard, or the text is misaligned, then you have to question if it is genuine.
Inside every Chanel purse ever made, there will be a small, white serial sticker attached to the lining in the bottom left-hand corner. This serial sticker should contain a six, seven, or eight digit code indicating when the purse was manufactured. If the serial sticker of a purse has more than an eight digit code or doesn't have a sticker at all, then it's clearly a fake.
The final indication of whether a Chanel purse is real or fake involves the dust bag that it comes in (or if it comes with a dust bag at all!) Chanel purses have different types of dust bags they're sold in, whether you're buying or renting, and they're just as high quality as the purse itself. Common authentic Chanel dust bags include:
- A cream felt version with a centered double C logo in black and no drawstring
- A black fabric version with a centered double C logo in white and no drawstring
- A black fabric version stating "Chanel" centrally in white with a drawstring
- A cream felt version with diamond quilting design in black and a flap instead of a drawstring
If your purse is provided with a dust bag that looks and feels cheap or isn't provided with a dust bag at all, then this should be a major red flag.
Spotting a Replica Chanel Purse
Even though it can be sometimes difficult to spot the difference between a real Chanel purse and a replica at first glance, it becomes obvious as soon as you start examining the product. Always remember fake purses cut corners with their manufacturing process to keep the costs down, and that is often reflected in the detailing.