Whether you’re an avid collector or simply want to know more about Chanel’s take on a famously functional bag, this guide delves into the history of Chanel backpacks and which styles to invest in.

The House of Chanel has dominated the Parisian fashion scene for more than a century. During this time, the label has established a cohort of signatures that continue to prove integral to the brand’s identity and commercial success. From iconic age-old designs like the 2.55 Flap bag, two-tone slingback pumps and vintage Chanel tweed suit, to newer phenomenons, notably the label’s extravagantly themed runway shows. The fashion house has no shortage of memorable tropes. 

There’s one aspect of Chanel’s design archives which perfectly encapsulates the uniquely Parisian spirit of the house. Effortlessly chic, Chanel backpacks are not only a beloved chapter of the brand’s history but they continue to occupy an important place within its design offerings. While Chanel is undoubtedly most famous for pioneering the shoulder bag silhouette, the backpack has long been an integral style within the fashion powerhouse’s handbag arsenal.


Offering effortless, functional and hands-free style, the concept of the backpack ties in closely with Chanel’s design ethos and brand identity. When Coco Chanel set about creating classic and wearable styles to help empower the modern woman of the early 20th century through style, she revolutionised what was considered elegant. Through utilising traditionally masculine silhouettes and materials, she directly responded to what women needed from clothes and accessories. And, just like the functionality of the 2.55 Flap bag, the versatility of two-tone slingbacks and the comfort of vintage Chanel tweed suits, backpacks are a response to what consumers seek from fashion. Offering both a beautiful form and function, the iconic backpack silhouette holds a special place in fashion. 

Chanel’s selection in particular stands out amongst the pack of luxury backpacks. Whether it’s designer vintage Chanel pieces, newer street style approved creations or limited-edition iterations, Chanel backpacks continue to be some of the most highly sought-after accessories within fashion. The notoriously practical silhouette is an increasingly investment-worthy piece on the secondary market, with collectors and Chanel newbies alike routinely searching for pre-owned Chanel backpacks.

At Rewind Vintage Affairs, our range of second-hand Chanel backpacks spans from the 1990s to the 2010s and features some of the label’s most sought-after styles, ready for you to shop with ease.  


The History of Chanel Backpacks

It was 1984 when Miuccia Prada introduced the Prada Nylon Backpack, also known as the Vela, and, in doing so, changed the course of handbag history. Big, bulky and crafted from traditionally utilitarian nylon, the bag was quickly dubbed as anti-luxury. It signified a new wave of high fashion that was distinct from the more traditionally elegant designs which had dominated luxury fashion during the 20th century. Prada’s Nylon Backpack was an instant commercial success and attracted younger customers to the label, opening up Prada to an entire new consumer base. Other luxury brands took note, including Chanel.

It wasn’t just the bag’s use of nylon, a novel material in the luxury sphere at the time, that made the design such a success. The backpack style proved innovative and practical with multiple styling options. Suitable for travel, work, casual outfitting and more, backpacks became one of the hottest new silhouettes for luxury houses to incorporate into their bag offerings. In the 1990s, Chanel’s then Creative Director Karl Lagerfeld began introducing backpacks to his collections. By the end of the decade, leather backpacks sporting gold-toned logo hardware were a staple of the house and today these styles are often dream pieces for collectors and those looking to buy vintage Chanel on the second-hand market.

Chanel’s beloved design features, notably its classic diamond-quilted stitching and interlocking CC insignia, adapted to the backpack style perfectly and delighted customers by offering these signatures plus an ultra-roomy silhouette with hands-free carry. Early favourites included the Duma, Triple CC and shiny patent leather backpacks.

Credit: FashionJackson

Vintage Chanel Backpacks 

Vintage backpacks are among the most coveted pre-owned Chanel bags on the luxury resale market. Ranging from structured bucket bag style backpacks to slouchy silhouettes and quilted leather to plush velvet finishes, the brand’s varied backpack designs continue to attract shoppers to pre-owned Chanel. Designer vintage Chanel backpacks from the 1990s all tend to incorporate the brand’s signature design elements. Channelling the wildly popular logomania phenomenon, backpacks from this era are statement pieces offering both style and functionality.

The Duma design is among the most well-known Chanel backpacks from this period. In true Chanel fashion, it features a logoed flap opening and is covered in the brand’s classic leather with diamond-stitched quilting. The straps are made from Chanel’s iconic chains interwoven with leather for a unique and elegant take on the backpack style’s functionality. Another designer vintage Chanel favourite is the Triple CC backpack. Complete with logo embroidery, a structured flat base and thin leather straps, the style’s shape is akin to the beloved bucket bag silhouette.


Gabrielle Backpack 

A key reason behind Chanel’s success with backpacks lies in the brand’s diverse range of styles. From mini and structured to large and slouchy, Chanel has successfully interpreted a range of its most popular designs in the form of a backpack. Take the Gabrielle. Lagerfeld first introduced his line of Gabrielle bags for Spring/Summer 2017 to wild success. The design, most recognisable from its hard shell structured base, comes in four iterations - hobo, purse, shopper and backpack.

 While each style has its own unique draws, the backpack version is largely regarded as the most versatile. Complete with an easy-sliding chain, the Gabrielle backpack can be worn over the shoulder, crossbody, with each strap over a shoulder to form a stylish V shape, hand carried or worn as a normal backpack. The practical design comes in at a lower price point than its shoulder bag counterparts, making it a favourite pre-loved Chanel bag on the luxury resale market.


Graffiti Art School Backpack

Backpacks are a regular favourite of those on the hunt to score rare and limited-edition pre-owned Chanel bags. Designer vintage Chanel styles crafted from leather are most commonly thought of when it comes to limited-edition backpacks. However, there’s one Chanel backpack from the 2010s that proves an increasingly popular collector’s piece. The Graffiti Art School backpack is a coveted runway favourite from the label’s Spring/Summer 2014 collection. 

Made from canvas and sporting a slew of braided charms, the design is Chanel’s answer to a Cali cool accessory. In stark contrast to the brand’s quilted leather styles, this unstructured canvas bag is beloved as the quintessential carry-all for cool kids. It features an enlarged graffiti-style print of Chanel’s CC logo and the famous 31 Rue Cambon Paris address.

Credit: Getty Images

The Denimpression

In recent years, Chanel has introduced the Denimpression collection, adding a contemporary twist to their backpack line. Denim has long been associated with versatility and casual fashion, and Chanel effortlessly blends it with their iconic designs. The Denimpression backpacks offer a youthful appeal, combining the comfort of denim with the timeless allure of Chanel. They are perfect for those seeking a more relaxed and modern aesthetic.

Credit: Bragmybag

Other Materials 

When looking to buy a Chanel backpack, the most obvious choice is undoubtedly a quilted leather style. But the brand offers practical backpack silhouettes in a range of other materials, too. From vintage Chanel tweed iterations and luxurious velvet styles to casual denim designs and backpacks trimmed with shearling fit for cold-weather ensembles. Favourites include the Chanel Deauville Backpack that is available in canvas and denim, along with tweed iterations of the popular Duma design.

Chanel backpacks are not just about aesthetics; they also prioritize functionality. The spacious interiors and various compartments allow for easy organization and efficient storage. The adjustable straps ensure comfort during long hours of wear, making them an excellent choice for travel, work, or everyday use. The fusion of practicality and elegance is a testament to Chanel's commitment to meeting the needs of the modern fashion connoisseur.

Credit: Chanel Cruise 2020

Buying preloved Chanel backpacks is a trend that is gaining momentum in the fashion world. Opting for preloved pieces allows you to own a genuine Chanel accessory at a more affordable price and contributes to sustainability efforts. By extending the lifecycle of these designer bags, you help reduce waste and minimize the environmental impact associated with fast fashion.

So whether you’re a fan of runway-favourite canvas designs or the more traditional quilted leather iterations, browse our range of pre-loved Chanel backpacks at Rewind Vintage Affairs to discover roomy accessories with a sense of Parisian-approved effortless style.

Remember, when purchasing a Chanel backpack,prioritize authenticity, consider preloved options for sustainability, and relish the joy of owning a meticulously crafted designer bag that embodies the essence of Chanel's legacy.