Chanel Gabrielle Bag: a New Classic in the Making?

Chanel’s got a brand spanking new bag out for its SS17 collection. 

Another season, another Chanel bag launch. Thankfully this time it’s not another tired rehash of the Boy silhouette. I’m waiting for someone from the brand to admit it but I’m almost certain the pervasiveness of that design is singularly because of the interest of Chinese buyers.

New money craves symbolic wealth – and the flap and 2.55s are apparently a bit dowdy. Whatever, new money can be crass and often incapable of buying taste.

A bad idea

The Gabrielle, though, I think has sleeper potential to become a real modern classic. The new bag made its debut at Chanel’s 2017 SS17 Data Centre ready to wear show. Truthfully, after the strange Girl bag from 2015, anything seems better so the bar isn’t terribly high. But the Gabrielle is in good steed. It borrows its name not from gender gimmicks of the French brand’s history, but from the founder herself. In spirit, its an ode to the dually masculine and feminine codes of the house. A quilted lambskin body sits atop a thermoformed rigid base. Hard and soft, black and white, male and female – you get the drift.


It really is quite a soft stunner, though. By that I mean it’s a great and practical design that’s also pretty in its classicism. There’s a touch of equestrian pragmatism to the design, alongside some real carrying versatility. The shape was, apparently, inspired by virtual reality glasses and binocular carrying cases. A strange and unconvincing press note, but sure. The chain straps are silver and gold, and come in a length that allows for variations. On shoulder, over body, and a strange mix of both.

I really don’t want to say, as everything with Chanel does, that Karl Lagerfeld has reinvented another house code. As he gets older, I get the suspicion the design team at the house is doing most of the work. He’s a notorious hard worker and old-school designer, ie. he sketches and actually, you know, designs the product; but at his wobbly age I doubt he’s still shouldering the full burden of the job. Another post on that for another day.


Anyway, the Gabrielle comes in two silhouettes: the intended boxy one and a bucket shape. It’s got the classic black, white, navy and beige colourways – in monos and bicolour options. We’re still in the pre-collection delivery period for boutiques, but the bags should hit stores very soon.


Backstage accessories close-up images by Stephane Gallois; Packshots from Chanel; Girl bag photos from Purseblog



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