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Why does the iconic Chanel“wallet on chain” stand the test of time?

Launched in 1997, this super chic mini bag or rather “small leather good” (SLG) - the intent was to be a

wallet first and the chain was added convenience; it has aged like a fine wine. I believe this is due to the evolution of the phone. Stay with me.


In 1997 Nokia was THE phone brand and it cornered the market - with its flip phones and then the iconic 3200 series (the hours I’ve wasted beating my own top score on Snake). I can hear you “what this has to do with the iconic wallet or chain” or WOC for short. Well the Chanel WOC was designed with a wider compartment that could hold small items. This elevated the SLG to becoming the go to evening bag. It was lightweight, convenient, convertible and most importantly cheaper than any other Chanel bag.


I digress, why has it aged like a fine wine(?) - so many bags started integrating phone compartments and on the preloved market we are often referring to these as “handy slip pockets” because essentially they have become redundant by the ever changing form of mobile phones. We thought they would get smaller and smaller, until they were built into our hands, but they didn’t. The age of the digital market became integral to our daily lives; “the screen” was born. This has become an extension of who we are - love it or hate it. Whether you stay connected or your an “off the grid” kind of soul (and by off the grid I mean you don’t have an instagram account) - the phone has become a part of everyday life. Even if it’s just to watch your favourite show on your way home from work. My point is the Chanel Wallet on Chain still fits our phones.


By some incredible foresight, the designers of this little gem knew the dimensions of the iPhone Pro Max back in 1997 and made sure that the “WOC” would stand the test of time by remaining one of the most practical mini bags on the market. And there really isn’t a brand that doesn’t make a version, or “sort of” version of this bag now. It is truly an impressive little item that had a forward thinking design team at its core.


All four WOCs photographed are available now.

@𝗹𝗼𝘃𝗲𝗱𝘁𝗼𝗴𝗼 (𝗶𝗻𝘀𝘁𝗮 / 𝗙𝗮𝗰𝗲𝗯𝗼𝗼𝗸)




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