Chanel Handbags: Caviar Leather or Lambskin? 


Chanel Handbags: Caviar Leather or Lambskin?

Lordy, I do love a good Chanel handbag. I can remember the days I dreamed of owning one, God knows how I ended up with a collection of… well, let’s not chat numbers. But I have a handful now! I wrote a blog post about the importance of choosing the right Chanel bag for you, now I think it’s time to discuss leather finishes. When I got my first Chanel bag, I picked Lambskin because I liked it best, but since then I have acquired a few different bags in a few different finishes and I wanted to talk about them, as it’s important to consider not only the look of the leather, but the durability and weight of it too.

First of all, there are many different materials Chanel make their bags out of; cloth (tweed, Jersey, canvas, satin etc.) occasionally Perspex (mainly the clutch bags) and patent leather. But today, we are just discussing the classic flap bag and lambskin v caviar. Some bags, like the Boy Bag and GST will only come in specific finishes each season, so you won’t often get a choice of leather. However, with the classic flap bag (in the black and the classic size) you will often get a choice between the two leathers.



As you might expect, Chanel use the most beautiful Lambskin to make their handbags; it’s, soft, smooth, supple and perfect. It has been treated, so it has a slight sheen to it, but it’s super soft and delicate. However, it’s this delicacy of it, is it’s major drawback. It’s not that it’s going to tear or break, but over time you will start to see surface scratches and perhaps stains on it. You will need to treat it carefully and it’s not ideal for every day use. If you are planning on using your Chanel bag every single day, you might want to consider getting the caviar leather as it is so much more durable. Also, if you are buying a coloured lambskin bag, you need to be very careful with colour transfer. For instance, I have a green lambskin Chanel bag which I worn with a black wool coat and the back of the bag is now slightly darkened. I also one got pooped on by a bird(!!!) and it landed inches away from my bag, it was bad enough getting pooped on but I would have sobbed it if had landed on my bag. In terms of colour transfer, please do check out the images of how the green bag looks, it’s not too drastic, but it is to be considered. You don’t need to worry about colour transfer if you are buying a black Chanel, but think long and hard before you buy a beige or coloured lambskin Chanel.


Caviar Leather

The Cavier leather is calfskin with a grainy finish. It has more of a treated feel to it, with a heavier sheen and it has more of a ‘water-resistant’ finish. Speaking of rain, I wouldn’t take any Chanel bag out during a rainstorm, but if it did start spitting, I would rather have a Cavier leather bag with me than Lambskin. The Cavier leather is much harder wearing, this is the bag you could throw around; put on the floor, take to a club or throw over your shoulder and go for a bike ride. It’s not invincible, but it is much harder wearing. Even if you prefer the look of the lambskin, I would recommend buying the Caviar leather if you plan to use it day-in-day-out. I have seen images of women carrying around the Caviar leather bags and even after they are ten-plus years old, they still look great! I also think in general, the Caviar leather is beautiful as it has such a ‘smart’ feel to it, many women prefer the look of the caviar leather as it often looks a little more formal. In terms of weight, the Cavier leather does weigh a little more than lambskin, which is something to consider as the larger sized flap bags can get heavy fast (although I think the larger flap bags only come in Caviar leather). In fact, the reason I have never bought the GST is because I’m worried once I put everything in it, it will be annoyingly heavy. The being said, I do love that bag, I think it’s really cool, it has quite a retro Chanel feel to it and it’s on my ‘one day’ wishlist.

 chanel lambskin caviar leather finish

Head V Heart

Personally, I own more Chanel handbags in Lambskin than Caviar, I know it’s less practical, but I shop with my heart, rather than my head and often find myself falling in love with the lambskin bags. Other times I just haven’t had the option of the bag in Caviar leather, for instance, the green flap bag, I only ever saw it in patent leather or lambskin, and the Boy bag only came in lambskin too. That being said, next on my wishlist is a WOC, which I am hoping to get in Caviar, as I think it looks really cute in this finish. Personally, I think you need to consider with you heart, what you love the most, but you do need to think with your head what you need practically from your bag. I hope this has helped, but please do comment below if you have any questions for me! Which do you prefer? The Caviar leather or the Lambskin leather?

Go Shopping!

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