Last Tuesday WWD reported that Chanel is about to increase prices for Chanel 2.55 flap bags, Boy bag and 11.12 bag by 20% in the European Union come April 8th while dropping them in China immediately.
Beeing a loyal fan of the brand for so many years I felt devastated. How the hell could they do something like that to all their European customers? Many of my friend had the same feelings and felt certainly a little betrayed. Having a more detailed look on the matter and discussing things with my husband I soon started discovering that there hasn’t been a real chance for Chanel! The Euro has dropped against the Dollar as much as 11% within recent times. Chanel and many other European luxury products have always been between 30 and 60% more expensive in China than in Europe. With the drop of the Euro the price difference has increased further. As a matter of fact the black market trade, which means people buying bags in Europe and reselling them in China has exploded. Of course not all of them traded with the real thing. Consequently, a huge mistrust against Chanel products had emerged in China, thus undermining the brand image on a global scale.
So Chanel might not have betrayed its European customers while trying to protect the brand image on a global scale, but certainly the price increase stimulates us Europeans to look around and search a little deeper to find options! In a previous post I already told you about the Boy bag, which is only 4 years old – so not a real heritage thing, and tried to show you some alternatives. Lets talk Chanel 2.55 this time!
“… certainly you can find alternatives for the Chanel Boy bag! Its not a heritage thing yet. Time hasn’t decided for or against the bag. But an alternative for the 2.55 flap? I don’t think it exists. You can go and buy in a vintage store when the in store prices soar, but there won’t be an alternative from another brand.” a friend told me over lunch last week. Chanel has done a good job in marketing the heritage of this bag I was thinking – the red interior reminiscent of the uniforms in the convent where Coco Chanel grew up, the chain strap resembling the chains the nuns in the convent where wearing … everyone knows the story, many identify and most importantly no one questions.
So what about Celine Classic bag as an alternative? Its another flap style shoulder bag. Isn’t inspired by the Chanel. It has no obvious branding, comes in calf or goat skin, with a lambskin lining, the interior is perfectly made with several compartments including one with a zipper and the leather strap is likely to make it more comfortable to wear than the Chanel metal straps. It has no real history or story. Does it differentiate enough from other brands like Proenza Schoulder to justify the quite high price?
- Celine classic bag, EUR 2,500.00 , celine.com
Another thing is M2Malletier – the bags with the needle handle! Established in 2012 M2Malletier is a relatively young brand from Barcelona. The bag is interesting, but will the very recognizable handle really stand the test of time?
And than there is Loewe, the Spanish heritage brand, which is in season one with its new creative director J.W. Anderson this spring. I know that talking Loewe at the moment means talking puzzle bag. But there is a little more to see like a very simple flap bag style called the Flamenco.
- Loewe Flamenco Flap bag, EUR 1,500.00 loewe.com
But come September there will be another flap bag, which has been presented in Paris a few weeks ago on the runway and was immediately taken out into the streets by the models. But doesn’t this bag scream a little too much inspired by the Chanel Boy bag?
Certainly there are other styles, like Miss Dior, that are even closer to the Chanel 2.55 but calling them an alternative seems to be a little odd. So what are your feelings? Do you feel that the Chanel Boy bags runs the risk of being killed in Europe by the price increase and the huge amount of similar bags with a lower price point from the likes of Dior or Loewe flooding the market? Do you agree that the Chanel 2.55 flap is an unquestioned icon without alternatives?