Chanel is our editor’s favourite brand of handbag, so it makes sense that we’d ask advice fro Charlotte of the Handbag Clinic on how to Spot a Fake Chanel Handbag.

Charlotte Staerck of the Handbag Clinic explains

Chanel is one of the most luxurious brands we stock at Handbag Clinic and a personal favourite of mine. Chanel is also a brand that is heavily copied, replicas cost up to hundreds of pounds! and can be difficult for the untrained eye to spot. As Chanel is a brand which has remained popular for decades there are many fakes out there and each bag requires thorough assessment, but there are some key things the Store Managers and I look for when authenticating a Chanel.

Check the Code

When we receive a Chanel in store the first thing we look at is the authenticity code. This code of a Chanel Classic 2.55 will be in the front left corner of the bag. Bags originally are sold with an Authenticity Card as shown below. The code on the card should always match the serial number inside the bag. Each serial number reflects when the bag was made, if a brand new code had a serial number or sticker which would reflect an older model this may indicate a fake.

The card itself should have a gold border, this border should be gold and not have a rainbow affect, the gold should be the same tone as the gold numbering. The card should also have a grey circle in the top right corner if the bag was made after 2005. A bag with a serial number dated pre 2005 that has a card featuring the grey circle will most likely be a replica. It is common for people to lose the card and care guides which come with the bag, we do not rely on this to prove authenticity and use other methods in addition to the serial number.

Check the Leather

Once we have checked the serial number and if possible the authenticity card we will assess the leather, Chanel lambskin leather is soft to the touch and feels high quality. Caviar skin is made from pebbled calf leather. The leather has an iconic “bubbly” appearance and is more textured than lambskin leather. Although Chanel use a range of materials these are the two most common used and ooze luxury, replica manufacturers cannot match the same level of quality with their discount prices so a low quality leather is a quick give away.

Check the Lock

When Coco Chanel originally designed the bag the lock was rectangular with no branding, Chanel still make bags with a rectangular lock but the iconic CC lock is more popular in today’s market. This iconic lock can also separate the fakes from the authentic. The Cs on vintage 2.55s have a flat finish, they also appear to be larger on the majority of vintage Chanel’s. More contemporary Chanel 2.55 bags have raised, rounded Cs. On all Chanel bags the right C should always overlap the left C at the top and the left C should always overlap the bottom of the right C. If the CC is gold plated CC’s are marked with a gold plating symbol. Not all CC’s are gold plated but should always be at a high quality. The lock mechanism its self should be a smooth oblong shape, again, poor quality hardware will give away a fake Chanel.

On the inside of the bag the back of the turnstile lock you should see a backplate like the ones pictured below. Chanel only use flat (slot) head screws. Unless the original screws have been replaced different types of screw are a good indication of a fake bag. Handbag Clinic will always source metal work as close as possible to the original to ensure a high quality repair.

Check the Stitching

The stitching on a Chanel should always be neat and accurate. Each inch of a Chanel stitching should have at least 10 stitches, fake manufacturers will usually be looking for quick and cheaper ways to make a replica therefore will usually have a stitch count of around 8 or 9. The classic quilted patterned will always line up, where the back pocket is attached is the first place I would check for this accuracy. Another key part of the bag we assess for high quality stitching is the interlocking CC’s which feature on the interior of a Double Flap bag. Each C should be 9mm wide and be 1 and a half cm’s above the Chanel stamping. The stitching colour should perfectly match the interior leather of the bag. This mistake is something replica manufacturers sometimes fail to copy this perfectly.