It's the bag, not me.

>>  I could almost feel the daggers of hate FLYING towards me when I stepped out with this bad boy on my back in Paris.  How?  Why?  Urgh, what a street style baiter.  Not that I need to be all apologetic about it but in my defense, I am merely grabbing the chance to carry what in my mind is the most “me” of Chanel bags to have emerged in recent seasons.  The “poor art student” backpack was of course a standout accessory from Karl Lagerfeld’s street-savvy art attack of a SS14 collection for Chanel.  The backpack itself has taken a life of its own, having commandeered the windows at colette and many an editorial where levity, sportswear and “street” inspired looks dominate.  Full disclosure, Chanel very kindly asked if I would like to borrow a few pieces for the shows and being that this collection in particular got me a little bit hyperactive, to refuse would have been needlessly coy, especially where the backpack is concerned.  I wanted to have a go at getting to grips with what is the super heightened successor (at super high prices – these babies start from EUR2,300) to those vintage quilted Chanel backpacks that I used to repeatedly search for on eBay.

Here comes the blurb.  It’s a tough sell to ask people to fork out around £2k on what is essentially a canvas backpack but judging by the sales at colette (brisk, I’m told!), clearly there’s an audience that is convinced.  It’s made of a thick linen canvas that has been specially printed repeatedly with a “rusty” graffiti effect so that it looks gradiated and faded at different parts.  It’s got all the CC reminders a Chanel-O fangirl (or boy) would want with the frayed edged quilting, the silver pendant, the spray painted logo and even “Chanel” printed on the carabiner.  Weathered grey leather, not normally something you associate with Chanel, make up the hand-woven handle, luggage and zipper tags.  The final bit of Lagerfeld whimsy is a hand-woven scoubidou in vibrant primary hues, to hark back to days of knotting up friendship bracelets and toy section craft kits.  “There’s a certain lightness and a certain kind of humour in all this,” says Kaiser Karl.

When Lagerfeld sends out a lego-inspired clutch, a quilted bag on a hula hoop, a Russian doll minaudière or indeed, a faux-arty rucksack, he’s cleverly building up a language of Insta-fashion recognisability, using humour, kitsch and eye-bait to draw you in.  They become anchors to Chanel collections, hooking people to a different perspective of those double CC’s.  With this canvas rucksack in particular though, Lagerfeld taps into the possibility that a new Chanel customer is rising – one that is younger, slubbier and perhaps even less likely to tote a 2.55 on their shoulder.  Scratch the young bit out and that’s me.  There’s much to admire in the classic 2.55 – its longevity, the tactile quality of that quilted leather and the way it elevates even the grubbiest of outfits.  Whenever I’ve had one (I don’t own one) temporarily on my shoulder, I feel a little like a child walking around in my mother’s shoes or someone who is constantly stepping on the train of a long gown.  It’s always felt a bit “prim” for my awks demeanour.  The Chanel arty rucksack on the other hand, whilst theme-y, specific and probably the opposite in terms of the values of a 2.55, can be worn with one strap holsted on one shoulder or two straps on both.  It can be slung and flung around.  You can swing it around the front when you’re hunting for your Oyster Card or dumped on the floor of a caff.  As ridiculous as it sounds, when talking about a £2k rucksack, it just feels more like something that fits in to day-to-day functionality.  Then there’s the practical issue of its size – DSLR, press releases, and at a squeeze, the Macbook Air too (and I was only toting around the smaller sized backpack).  It packs a sizeable punch.

pfw-street-style-day-1-017_112658310115 Photo by Phil Oh for

Susie Bubble at Rochas FW2014 - detail Photo by Marcy Swingle of Gastro Chic – Wearing Martina Spetlova top and trousers, COS poloneck, Nike trainers, Chanel backpack and “headphones” necklace














Having tried and tested it the last few days, and having passed by colette at least ten times this week (it’s around the corner from my hotel), I did get a bit of a buyer’s itch.  The backpack in two sizes and in three colourways and the matching tote are all available in colette in Paris until March 8th in addition to Chanel boutiques.  I have three more days to mull it over.  I’ll most probably see sense and go home empty handed sans backpack.  It was nice knowing how it felt to fling it around though.


31 Replies to “It's the bag, not me.”

  1. I totally agree the bag is cute, the £2k price tag, not so cute! Give me the Boy all day! C x

    1. i totally hate what karl is doing: appropriating the work of street artists in the vain hope that he will also get their authenticity. and that shameless price tag!!!

      i’d rather ask a real street artist to customize me a bag: it’d be unique and so much cooler 🙂

      1. this.
        I’m equally perturbed. I feel like Karl is just effing with us. Don’t fall for it, Susie. Although it’s probably too late…

      2. hey andreea, i actually customised my very own design and it only cost me a few penny, thought u might check it out.

  2. Such a beautiful bad that I wouldn’t automatically associate with Chanel but what a beautiful change. Perhaps justifies a quarter of the price when you consider how much use you would get out of it with the ability to pair it with so many outfits on an everyday basis. Ok, not a quarter, but I’m trying to justify this £2k price tag. Craziness.

    Hannah @

  3. I couldn’t agree more your saying “I feel a little like a child walking around in my mother’s shoes “! Whenever I have price-high bags on subway, It is difficult to take care of it.(my bags is already scratched..) good review! thanks!

  4. Love that bag, but it’s a canvas back pack still it’s beautiful though.
    x SASHA

  5. Its a really nice backpack for sure. The details, the roughness, the accessories are really nice. It does have the unauthentic ‘authentic’ fading/art student thing going on, thats not a good thing. I think the price tag would feel less painful had they presented those details in a less “poor art student” way. (A great description be the way).

    Nice post

  6. The most impressive detail about this rucksack is not in its detailing or Chanel logo stamp or Chanel signs but in its price tag, which I am clearly not getting from any sensible perspective, unless it’s packed with Chanel History 🙂 your feedback was very interesting to read as always! <3 Zhanna

  7. It is a nice bag. And I’d love to have borrowed it like you. BUT I would prefer to spend that money on a classic Chanel or a Celine. Something that will last me seasons and not just be a bag of the moment. I do agree with you that it is far more you than their 2.55 though.

    The thing that made me weak at the knees was your big ‘headphone’ pearl Chanel collar though. Would you mind sending it my way for me to borrow? LUCKY YOU!

  8. I was curious if you ever thought of changing the structure of your blog?
    Its very well written; I love what youve got to say. But maybe you
    could a little more in the way of content so people could connect with it better.
    Youve got an awful lot of text for only having one or two
    images. Maybe you could space it out better?

    1. Taking this onboard but not sure what you meant by “maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people could connect with it better.” did you miss a word? I do tend to be quite text-heavy, but here there are also 10+ images (normally the case with most posts).

      1. I love that your posts are text heavy. You’re posts have always been like this since I started reading in 2008. Your outlook is down to earth and realistic, which is really what keep me coming back. Personally, I love the format of your posts!

        1. I like your text heavy blog as well, I don’t normally like fashion blogs, cos’ they just post loads of photos and say nothing, even the famous ones, I wonder what makes them “famous” by posting lots of photos without saying much.
          Keep it going!

  9. Loving the bag, we took inspiration and went around Covent Garden in search of a high end and low budget bag, check it out!

    Mr DressMe

  10. Gurl can that back pack create portals? Act as a time machine? Does it even do dishes?!? I wouldn’t and Mr. Karl knows what a slave to labels and the false sense of status it gives people. Well played Karl

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