Chanel vs YSL – Which One Is Actually Better?
This page can contain affiliate links – we may receive a commission if you make a purchase using links on this page. This has no extra cost for you.
The battle that you were waiting for : Chanel vs YSL (Saint Laurent)
Luxury fashion enthusiasts will always have to choose between competing brands. And for decades, Chanel vs. YSL has been a typical battleground. The fundamental reason for this is that they are two of the most successful brands in the luxury fashion business, and both entice customers with great deals and quality products.
But which one is truly the king? How different are the two brands? Below, I compare these Chanel vs. YSL to assist you in making the best selection.
Let’s get started.
History: Chanel vs YSL
Chanel was founded in 1910 in Paris by couturière Gabrielle Coco Chanel, who had a special gift of designing revolutionary women’s styling and dressing. Therefore, it’s a unique luxury fashion house founded by a woman to cater to women’s fashion needs.
To start, Coco Chanel launched a millinery boutique in central Paris. Afterward, she added a ready-to-wear line to her company, which became incredibly successful owing to Chanel’s completely distinctive designs. Her designs eradicated corsets under any clothing, giving women more convenience and flexibility in their outfits.
Despite owning the Chanel brand, Coco was never in control but remained the brand’s designer until her demise in 1971. Afterward, in 1983, Karl Lagerfeld took over the designs department and wowed us with his stunning prêt-à-porter and haute couture collections.
Currently, Virginie Viard is the leading designer at Chanel, so the brand is once again designed by a woman for women.
Saint Laurent’s History
The French fashion house Yves Saint Laurent or YSL, was established in 1962 by Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Berge in Paris. Yves Saint Laurent worked as a head designer for another high-end brand, Christian Dior, before launching his own. Today, the company specializes in ready-to-wear, haute couture, footwear, and leather accessories.
YSL publicized the beatnik style, safari coats, thigh-high boots, and tight pants in the 1960s and 1970s. Additionally, in 1966, the company launched Le Smoking, a women’s tuxedo suit, and began creating ready-to-wear with the debut of the Rive Gauche design.
In 1978, Saint Laurent’s designs concentrated on a silhouette with broad shoulders and shoulder pads, a style that would later define the 1980s. In the 1990s, the brand’s radical fashion designs were no longer profitable, forcing the owners to sell the brand. Currently, YSL is owned by the global luxury conglomerate Kering.
Anthony Vaccarello is the current creative director at Saint Laurent.
Heritage Differences: Chanel Vs Saint Laurent
Both are luxury brands based in Paris, France with a rich history. Chanel is the older brand as it was established more than 50 years before YSL. Another key difference is that Chanel’s founder and current designer are women which is relatively rare in the fashion world, despite the target customers being women.
Read also: YSL Loulou versus Chanel 19. Which is the better buy?
Differences between Chanel and YSL
Here are the differences between Chanel and YSL, including price, exclusivity, aesthetics and more.
Price : Which is more expensive Chanel or YSL?
A common question we always encounter when dealing with luxury brands is whether price determines quality or vice versa. Is the costlier item of a higher quality? The answer is that it depends on the brand’s policy and marketing strategies. When it comes to the price battle between Chanel and YSL, Chanel is more expensive.
Because bags are among the most popular items from both brands, the category is ideal for understanding their pricing differences. Chanel bag prices cost an average of $5000-$9,000, with rarer editions running upwards of $15,000. And expect this price to get even higher. For example, the Chanel Flap Bag, priced at $4,400 in 2012, rose to $6,500 in 2020, $$7,800 in 2021, $8,800 in 2022 and a whooping $10,500 in 2023.
Read also: Chanel’s Price Increases Over the Years & March 2023 Astonishing Price Increase
On the other hand, YSL bags are more affordable and have price tags between $1,500 and $5,000, not including exotic skin bags which of course will cost more. Although, YSL is no stranger to price increases and they have been steadily increasing their prices as well. See the full price list here: ‘YSL’ Saint Laurent Price List: Reference in USD/EUR. How much does an YSL bag cost in 2023?
Overall, you can get two and even three equally-rated YSL bags for the price of one Chanel bag.
Winner: if you’re looking for affordability, then YSL has to be the winner as it’s cheaper than Chanel.
Exclusivity : which bags are more exclusive?
Chanel’s recent decision to control manufacturing and sales to increase exclusivity serves the company well. As a customer, this tight grip on distribution will see the prices of some classic items, including Classic Flap, rise more than ever.
Exclusivity is pivotal in establishing a distinct value proposition for your target markets. Most popular luxury fashion houses rely heavily on differentiation or conveying that their products are larger, different, or superior to others.
The fact that Chanel does not sell online, have astronomical prices and limits the purchase of certain bags makes the brand seem very exclusive and luxurious.
On the other hand, YSL has no limitations on the production and distribution of its bags across the globe. You can easily buy a Saint Laurent bag directly from YSL.com or from the many online stockists. And although expensive, buying an YSL bag is still manageable for many people.
Winner: Hands down Chanel wins the exclusivity battle, as it’s a much more exclusive brand than YSL.
Resale Value : Does YSL or Chanel have a better resale value?
You can recoup some of your money if you decide to sell both brands. However, due to YSL items being cheaper and less exclusive and Chanel’s habit of raising prices substantially, the latter’s items have better resale values from a financial standpoint. You’ll get more money by selling your second-hand Chanel bag than you would by selling a YSL.
Chanel bags are renowned for high resale prices, which are unlikely to change. If anything, the rising second-hand market demand promotes Chanel in effectively raising prices since buyers can be sure there is a flourishing market if they wish to resell. As global prices grow, it will be interesting to watch if resellers can eventually demand higher premiums on Chanel handbags.
Winner: Chanel definitely has a better resale value, especially for their Classic Flaps.
Quality: Which brand has better quality?
Regarding quality, Chanel is regarded as being higher quality than YSL. Chanel makes their items from high-quality materials (like lambskin, caviar leather, goatskin and more) and they pride themselves of having immaculate stitching and hardware. They also offer a SPA service for up to 5 years from the date of purchase.
Even though the quality of Chanel bags is usually great, there have been many instances of quality issues reported. We have a full article about Chanel's quality issues here.
Read more Chanel Leathers & Materials Full Guide. Ranked From Best to Worst
Similar to Chanel, YSL is also usually great quality. Customers typically like their buttery soft lambskin leather as well as the bold hardware. However, like Chanel, Saint Laurent also has had reports of poor quality like uneven stitching or even hardware chipping.
Luxury denotes a distinct market sector. While Chanel and YSL items are often pricey, their price is not a direct correlation to their quality (although quality is definitely part of it).
Winner: Chanel has better craftsmanship and quality but both brands can have quality issues. If we take the price into consideration we must say that Chanel does not have 3x quality to justify 3x the price.
Brand Style / Aesthetic : YSL or Chanel?
Chanel's style is lady-like, stylish, and classic. The majority of their items have prominent branding while preferring functionality over glamor. We're familiar with Chanel's mirrored and interlaced letter "C."
On the other hand, YSL's style focuses more on blurring gender-specific lines. YSL bags are usually bolder, more "rock n roll", although they have plenty of more understated bags as well. According to Yves Saint Laurent's words, "I am not proposing a new style, which is new rules, but freedom."
Winner: both brands have amazing bags that are stylish and wearable. It all depends on your personal style.
Most Popular Items
Bags: Chanel Classic Flaps, Chanel 2.55, Chanel Boy, Chanel 19 and Chanel 22
Bags: LouLou, Puffer, Le 5 à 7, ICARE, College and Solferino.
Conclusion: Which Brand Is Better Chanel vs YSL?
As Chanel and YSL are well-established brands in the luxury fashion industry, there is yet to be a definitive answer to which is the better. Your brand choice depends on your budget, lifestyle, and the availability of the items.
We've answered the most frequent questions people have while comparing these two brands. But to be specific, Chanel is more exclusive, has a better resale value, but it's much more expensive than YSL.
If you want a cheaper luxury option with daring designs and still an okay resale value, YSL is the way to go.
Remember, whatever route you take, one thing is sure: you'll be adding a great bag to your collection.
Chanel vs. Hermes – Which One Is Better?