How Chanel bags are created
“We can not say no to Karl Lagerfeld,” says Rodolphe Mokolen, the director of the atelier in which Chanel bags are made. “We have four weeks for everything. For defile all should be ready on time. ” After receiving a sketch with a pattern of the model in a dress and with a bag, supplemented by couturier’s comments and a sample of fabric, the creative department of the studio begins working on the creation of the bag. Determine the size and make a draft version of the accessory from leatherette or textiles – the first task. The team atelier selects the appropriate options for materials, decor and accessories, which in the House is called bag jewelery (“bag ornaments”). With stones, pearls and sequins, the details of the handbags are manually expanded in the studio of Lesage. Despite the difficulties, it’s still necessary to have time in a month. Finally, after three to five approvals, the prototype approved by the studio becomes part of the new collection.
In the boutique, the bags shown on the show can be presented in several colors. In the matter of color choice, many brands follow the recommendations of marketers, but in Chanel, Karl Lagerfeld takes the decision about which versions of the bags will be launched into production. “Lack of piety and a little sense of humor – that’s what is needed to make the legend remain relevant,” the couturier is convinced. His creative tirelessness sets the rhythm – a new model of bags in the studio is created every day. This year, the pace will accelerate: two more regular ones will be added to the six prêt-à-porter and two Haute Couture collections – the summer Coco Beach (Coco on the Beach) and the winter Coco Neige (Coco in the Mountains).
Each skin flap and twig detachment, each metal part is tested for durability, wear and moisture resistance. “Survive” the best. Parts that have passed the test are ready for new stages – cutting, flat and bulky assembly, as well as adding bag jewelery. To avoid errors in all halls, the workshops installed the same daylight lamps.
Creating a Chanel bag, depending on the model, requires 180 to 300 operations, most of which are done manually. The laser-cut details of the soft skin of a lamb or calf are aligned in thickness, and their edges are made thinner to avoid seals in place of future seams. “The error of 0.5 cm – and for some models and 1 mm – can lead to the fact that at the last stage parts of the product will not coincide”, explains Rodolphe Mokolen. The skill of each employee is polished for years, so such cases occur extremely rarely. Before becoming one, there are two bags – external and internal. The elements of each master are stitched together so that when the connection is made, only the front side remains visible – both outside and inside.
If years later the owner wants to update the lining or accessories, a separate team in the studio is ready to renovate. Here boutiques from around the world send bags of customers to replace the worn parts. It’s amazing, but in this department there are only four employees. “This also says a lot about our quality,” says Rodolphe Mokolen.