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Chanel vs. Hermes is a question you might have had when deciding on your next purchase.
Chanel and Hermes are the crème de la crème of the luxury fashion world. Both brands are well-known across the globe for their innovative designs, upmarket clothing, and exorbitant prices. Their luxury, quality, and staggering price tags have made them a must have for celebrities and fashionistas alike.
The luxury giants have never failed to grab the masses’ minds and hearts. Many people hear or learn about these fantastic brands from afar, thanks to artists, influencers, actors, or sports personalities, but only a handful experience them firsthand.
But, given the brands’ penchant for raising prices, are they really worth it? How does Chanel compare to Hermes? Today, I invite you to join me as we explore the beautiful world of fashion brands!
But first, some history of the brands.
History: Chanel vs Hermes
Gabrielle Coco Chanel founded the House of Chanel in 1910 in Paris. She had a strong passion for fashion and began with a millinery shop at 160 Boulevard Malesherbes, central Paris. Her vision was to create modern and stylish women’s clothing, as she had a great distaste for 19th-century heavy dresses.
In 1921, Chanel launched her first fragrance, the iconic Chanel No. 5, followed by the Little Black Dress in 1926. Unfortunately, Coco Chanel died on 10 January 1971. Karl Lagerfeld took over as the brand’s chief designer in 1983 and elevated the company’s stock to greater heights. He incorporated detailing such as chains, gold accents, and tweed into Chanel items.
Thierry Hermes was a unique creator and inventor with a great vision for his company. Currently, Hermes items are very expensive, but that hasn’t always been the case. Hermes started his company in 1837 to serve the European noblemen. His workshop in the Grands Boulevards quarter of Paris specialized in premium-quality bridles and harnesses for carriage trade.
In the 1920s, Hermès introduced their first leather bags, watches, golf jackets, and jewelry. After much success in Europe, North Africa, Asia, and Russia, the company opened its first two shops in the United States in 1924. True to its innovative nature, the company came up with the Sac à dépêches in 1935 (later dubbed the Kelly bag in 1956 after Grace Kelly was pictured with it).
Today, most Hermès items are handcrafted in its French workshops, and the company is still family-owned, emphasizing quality and exclusivity.
As you can see, both brands are French with a rich heritage. Hermes is the oldest brand about 73 years older than Chanel. Both fashion houses are independently owned and not a part of big corporations. Thus, both
Differences between Chanel and Hermes
1.Price: Chanel vs. Hermes
Since bags rank high among the most sought-after items from both brands, the segment suits us best in our quest to know their price differences. Regarding ultra-luxurious limited creations, including handbags, Hermès is more expensive than Chanel. More so when you compare the magnificent Hermes Birkin and Chanel Maxi Flap. Fair enough, some Chanel items are more costly than some Hermès pieces.
A quick look at the most expensive handbags in the world quickly ascertains that Hermes is a more expensive brand. The brand has three bags in the top 5 most expensive bags in the current pre-loved market. The Hermès Kelly Rose Gold has a staggering price tag of $2 million! Conversely, Chanel Diamond Forever Handbag costs $261,000.
On the lower end, you can get Chanel scarfs for as low as $425 and $435 for Hermes scarfs. Also, a Chanel small wallet will cost you a minimum of $900, whereas the cheapest Hermes will cost at least $2,225.
2.Exclusivity: Which brand is more exclusive?
Hermes’s limited production and scarcity make the brand more exclusive than Chanel. However, Chanel’s recent move to regulate production and sales in an effort to improve exclusivity means they might catch up to Hermes in the near future. Additionally, Chanel has 128 official stores in North America compared to Hermes’ 39 in the US and 5 in Canada.
Even though Hermes is much harder to buy, you might be surprised to find out that you can actually buy some Hermes handbags online, on their own website. See our guide on how to score a Hermes bag directly on their website. Chanel, on the other hand, does not sell any handbags directly online.
Of course, if we talk about the highly sought after Kelly, Birkin and Constance they are way harder to buy new and exclusive than the Classic Chanel Flaps.
3.Resale value : Does Chanel or Hermes holds its value better?
According to a Rebag report, Hermes handbags retained their value more than Chanel. The e-commerce and retail store claims that Hermes tops the list among all luxury brands, with its handbags retaining an average of 103% of their value. Chanel comes third with an 87% average value retention.
The uniqueness and scarcity of Hermes products is a distinguishing characteristic that makes them extremely desirable. If you are to believe in a brand’s worth, Hermes will have it based on scarcity. For example, Hermes creates a limited number of leather items daily.
The company, which has an excess of 4,300 leather artisans working in its factories, is yet to find a way to satisfy demand. It is of course done on purpose. Hermes is just playing its cards right by focusing its production and and business on quality, limited products.
4.Quality: Which one has the best quality and craftsmanship?
Chanel and Hermes are established brands in the luxury segment. And as you may be aware, the fashion industry is very dynamic and competitive, resulting in only a handful of companies excelling. When it comes to quality, Hermes is the clear winner– and by a distance.
First, let’s look at the two brands’ most popular products- bags. The quality of construction is what distinguishes the two brands’ bags. Whereas each Hermes Birkin is handcrafted by a single artisan in the Hermès ateliers in France for up to 40 hours, Chanel bags have been argued to be mass-produced.
While much of this is speculation and should be taken with a grain of salt, seasoned Chanel loyalists appear to be united in their belief that Chanel’s quality has dropped compared to its previous pieces.
5.Brand Style / Aesthetic
Chanel’s style is bold, chic, and confident, or what I would consider a loud luxury style. Most of their products feature highly visible brand markings. We all know the Chanel mirrored and intertwined letter “C.” On the other hand, Hermes’ style is simple and leans towards the quiet luxury segment. The brand instead focuses more on quality, beauty, and craftsmanship.
Both brands produce beautiful handbags, so it mostly depends on your style and the occasion. For example, you might choose a beautiful Chanel clutch for the evening and an inconspicuous Hermes Garden Party tote for your work bag.
6.Best Investment piece: Chanel vs. Hermes
Given its resale value and durability, we would say that Hermes makes a better investment overall. Especially when talking about Hermes’ quota bags (Birkin, Kelly and Constance) you can rest assured that they will hold both their value and their place in the fashion world for years to come.
However, as Chanel moves into restricting its purchases for the Classic Bags, we would say that it might make more sense to buy a Classic Flap than a Hermes starter handbag.
Most Popular Items Chanel vs. Hermes
Bags: Chanel Classic Flap, Chanel 2.55, Chanel 19, Chanel 22, Chanel Boy, and Chanel Gabrielle bags.
Shoes: Chanel Ballet Flats, Chanel Espadrilles
Costume jewelry: Chanel CC Broches and Earrings
Perfumes: Chanel No. 5
Bags: Hermès Kelly, Hermès Birkin, Hermès Constance,
Bracelets: Hermès Clic Clac H, Hermès Collier de Chien
Belts: Hermes Constance
Other items: 1937 Hermès scarf, Avalon Throw Blanket, Oran Sandal, Hermès Cape Cod Watch.
Chanel is best known for their beautiful, quilted shoulder bags called the Chanel Classic Flaps as well as flat shoes (ballet flats and espadrilles) and a plethora of CC costume jewelry.
Hermes is of course known for the famous Birkin and Kelly. Luxury lovers would also be familiar with all their other bags, including: Constance, Picotin and Lindy. They also have quite a selection of home items including cups and the popular Avalon blanket.
Conclusion: Which Brand Is Better, Chanel or Hermes?
We hope we have addressed some of your concerns and reservations regarding either brand. More specifically, Hermes is superior when considering quality, exclusivity, resale value, and durability. On the other hand, Chanel is cheaper overall, has more items, and is a great choice for those that prefer a bold style. But that’s not to say that Chanel sacrifices quality. Its products are still high quality and durable.
And, whatever bag you select, you will invest in a premium item produced with the highest level of craftsmanship. So really, it comes down to personal preference and you can’t go wrong with either brand!