Hermès vs Chanel
There are many big names in fashion but not many are as widely coveted as Hermès and Chanel. Two french fashion houses that some would say should never be compared, yet that’s exactly what we’re going to do. Let’s debate: Hermès or Chanel?
Using myGemma’s 1Q22 sales data, we see how Hermès fares against Chanel (and vice versa).
Founded in Paris in 1837 by Thierry Hermès, the designer’s eponymous brand began as a leather harness shop. Thierry’s son Charles-Émile moved the store to 24 Rue du Faubourg, where it remains to this day as the headquarters.
Hermès expanded its repertoire into saddlery in the decades that followed. In the 1920s, bags and accessories entered into the mix, making the maison a household name on a global scale. The 1930s saw the iconic - now known as - Kelly bag introduced, which was renamed as such after Grace Kelly.
Fast forward to 1984, when CEO Jean-Louis Dumas met actress and singer Jane Birkin on a plane, where she described and sketched the bag she felt she needed. This bag was the revered Birkin bag.
The house now has over 300 stores and is considered the pinnacle of luxury craftsmanship in the world of fashion.
In 1910, a 27-year old Coco Chanel opened her first store in Paris. Chanel’s first store sold hats, but five years later she looked to Biarritz to open her third store, yet her first couture shop. Over the next decade, the house rapidly introduced a variety of categories from perfume to cosmetics.
Chanel designed the Ford dress in 1926, which was hailed by American Vogue as a style essential and is what we know today as ‘the little black dress’. Fast forward to 1955, Chanel’s 2.55 flap bag was introduced and is still considered a foundational classic in the house’s line-up.
The brand is to this day an iconic name with a loyal fan base from royalties and celebrities alike.
Hermès vs Chanel: Style
Rooted in quality and impeccable design, Hermès and Chanel are not worlds apart yet they both have their own signature looks. Whereas Hermès is renowned for timeless, structured silhouettes with top-handle bags as the distinctive shapes, Chanel is celebrated for its use of diamond quilting and chain-link shoulder straps. Chanel also caters to a younger audience, with trend-influenced hues and playful designs within their portfolio, whereas Hermès is typically more classic.
Hermès vs Chanel: Quality
When it comes to leather goods, Hermès and Chanel offer the pinnacle of craftsmanship and quality. However, Chanel bags tend to be less structured and they often use smooth leather, which can be more susceptible to damage. This is why it is important to look after luxury bags and if possible keep them in their box or dust bag when not in use.
Hermès vs Chanel: Prices
Chanel prices have notoriously soared over the years, with flap bags having increased at around 200% in the last decade. Both Hermès and Chanel’s starting prices for bags are in the thousands of dollars, with Chanel’s most affordable offering at $1,700. Hermès prices are overall higher, with Birkin prices starting at over $9,000.
Best Selling Bags: Hermès vs Chanel
The Hermès Birkin Bag
As of April 2022, the Birkin 25 in black is the most coveted Hermès bag. Black bags tend to be popular thanks to their timeless look and versatile nature. However, spring hues closely follow behind as shoppers look forward to warmer weather. After red, the most popular colorways are in various shades of blue, pink and red.
The hottest limited edition Birkin bags are the Fray Fray Birkins and Shadow Birkins, which on average sell at around 3x their retail price.
The style of Birkin that was most resold for 1Q22 is the 35 size, which has become less popular in favor of the 25 and 30 sizes.
The Chanel Flap Bag
Chanel prices have soared over the years, which leaves buyers going to the secondary market for pre-loved styles in excellent condition. The most sought after Chanel bag in early 2022 is the Large Classic Flap, which sells for $11,000 in excellent condition and even more when sold new in box. Chanel's current retail price is $9,500.
In terms of resale, the single flap bag is a clear winner this past quarter, as it has outsold other Chanel styles by at least two to one. Double flap bags and tote bags jointly get silver medal.
Similarly to Hermès, black hues reign supreme with over 50% of sales. Shades of beige and cream, blue and white follow up behind.
Hermès Resale Value vs Chanel Resale Value
There are two types of sellers in the luxury resale market: the opportunistic seller and the base seller. The opportunistic seller will make a profit by flipping a best-selling item they were fortunate enough to pay retail for. The base seller will part ways with old designs to make space for new ones.
Luxury resale is a win-win for everyone, from bargain hunters to limited-edition style seekers. Whether it’s affordability or rare, exclusive styles you’re looking for, resale is the sustainable way to shop, making it the best way to shop.
With rising prices from Chanel and the exclusive nature of sourcing an Hermès bag firsthand, it’s no wonder buyers love to buy both brands secondhand. For many, it’s the only way to be able to afford or to get hands on hard-to-source styles (notably, the Birkin).