Auction celebrates the timeless fashions of Gabrielle 'Coco' Chanel

5 minutes

(Image: A Chanel crystal and simulated baroque black pearl CC brooch, estimate of £250-350)

As the world celebrates the 140th anniversary of the birth of Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel, many of the designer’s iconic fashions are going to auction at Bonhams’ The Art of Luxury: Chanel sale, in London – and here’s an early view of what’s going under the hammer.

Fashion designer Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel was born in Saumur, a town on the River Loire in Western France, 140 years ago on August 19, 1883 – which made me think how incredible it is that her coveted styles are as fresh as the day she designed them.

From the 2.55 flap handbag to the boucle suit, Chanel’s iconic fashion statements have stood the test of time and still attract a worldwide following, so I expect there will be plenty of interest at Bonhams’ The Art of Luxury: Chanel sale.

The online sale from September 11-21 features bags, jewellery and haute couture with estimated prices from £200.

Meg Randell, Bonhams Head of Designer Bags & Fashion, UK says Chanel has long been known as the name behind ‘the world’s most coveted style’.

She adds: “Gabrielle Chanel created some of the most iconic and elegant fashion statements that continue to garner intense interest at auction. Bonhams dedicated auction to Chanel is ideal for those wishing to acquire their first piece of Chanel or the seasoned collector looking to add to their collection.”

Highlights include ‘an exceptional design’ Chanel Haute Couture cream and gold silk jacket, circa fall/winter 1966-1967 created by the master herself Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel.

Meg said: “The hip-length jacket with its original Chanel label, features a Nehru collar and gold chain woven buttons set on an elegant gold embroidered tweed design on cream silk with black stitch detail framing the collar and cuffs. The jacket has cream silk lining with gold chain hem detail and is offered with an estimate of £500-£800.”

(Image: A Chanel Patron original pale blue tweed skirt suit, estimate of £700-1,000)

Further eye-catching clothing includes a Chanel, Karl Lagerfeld, Haute Couture pink tweed skirt suit, circa spring 2015, runway look 8 with an estimate of £2,500-3,500.

Described by Lagerfeld as ‘high-fashion ecology’, a beaded and woven ensemble with a nod to nature, circa spring 2016, is offered with an estimate of £2,500-£3,500. The top is a masterful display of ornate beadwork, combined with cork and wood to create a geometric design, paired with the textured woven skirt.

A Chanel Patron original is also up for auction. This pale blue tweed skirt suit, circa 1965-1971, is comprised of wool and mohair with black stitch detailing to the trim and metal buttons and has an estimate of £700-£1,000.

(Image: A Chanel, Karl Lagerfeld, Haute Couture, estimate of £2,500-3,500)

Costume jewellery ‘broke all the rules’

The Art of Luxury sale also features an array of costume jewellery. Meg Randell says Chanel’s 1920s vision of fusing natural with imitation jewels ‘broke all the rules’. She explained: “Chanel created a modern approach to dressing, making costume jewellery fashionable, a style that still endures today.”

There is also a selection of designs from the reign of Karl Lagerfeld who was creative director at Chanel from 1983-2019 and French jewellery designer Victoire de Castellane who worked with Chanel between 1984 and 1998.

The Victoire de Castellane for Chanel pieces include a pair of No5 oversized hoop clip back earrings circa 1987 offered with an estimate of £1,200-£1,800 and a Chanel matte gold clover CC necklace and earclip suite, circa 1995, featuring a four-leaf clover pendant necklace with CC logo.

Further jewellery items include a simulated pearl and rhinestone CC long necklace estimated at £600-800, a moon pendant necklace with an estimate of £400-£600 and a gold glitter charm necklace with simulated pearls interspersed with winter-themed charms including a wishbone, pinecone, and holly leaf, circa 2005, with an estimate of £300-£500.

A pair of 2010 Chanel crystal CC logo teardrop earrings in silver metal have an estimate of £300-£500 while brooches include a Chanel ruthenium black resin CC brooch featuring black sparkly resin cabochons, black crystals, and CC logo, circa 2000, with an estimate of £200-£300 and a Chanel black resin and crystal CC logo cuff bracelet, circa 2014, which features black and clear crystals in a CC design and has an estimate of £250-£350.

(Image: Chanel simulated pearl clip earrings and pin brooch, estimate of £300-500)

Iconic handbags

Last, but definitely not least, are the iconic handbags including a Chanel black lambskin jumbo double flap bag, circa 2011, featuring gold hardware and offered with an estimate of £4,000-£6,000 and a Chanel black and white silk scarf flap bag with lambskin trim and silver hardware, circa 2003, which features chocolate bar quilted white silk printed with monochrome scenes of fashionable women. The design includes a removable silk scarf to the front. Offered with an estimate of £2,000-£3,000.

(Image: A Chanel black lambskin jumbo double flap bag, estimate of £4,000-6,000)

The Art of Luxury: Chanel
Online auction from September 11-21, 2023
Viewings at Bonhams, Knightsbridge, London

See the Chanel exhibition
Gabrielle Chanel Fashion Manifesto at V&A South Kensington, London from September 16 to February 25, 2024

Read our story of the first UK exhibition dedicated to pioneering couturière ‘Coco’ Chanel.

Insurance advice

Don’t forget that if you own a collection of designer fashions it should be insured under the valuables section of your contents policy. Ensure there is a good description with distinguishing features, size and images which will help with identification. Consider the cost of replacement if damaged.

Valuations for insurance are normally based upon a retail replacement value, i.e., what it would cost the owner in the retail market. So, think about where you would replace the item (a top-end antique shop or auction) and by doing this at the outset you are avoiding disputes and queries at a later date, or in the event of a claim.

A Chanel black and white silk scarf flap bag, estimate of £2,000-3,000

A Chanel champagne gold and crystal brooch, estimate of £200-300

A Chanel moon pendant necklace, estimate of £400-600


Chanel black resin and crystal CC logo cuff bracelet, estimate of £250-350

Chanel white clip earrings, estimate of £200-300

Victoire de Castellane for Chanel Gripoix and gold cruciform brooch, estimate of £300-500