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Sunday, November 29, 2009

Product Review: Chanel-inspired Bags

It is said that no wardrobe is complete without a Chanel 2.55 handbag.
Originally issued in 1955 (hence the name!) with variations issued over the years,
every element of the bag's design held a special meaning to the iconic Coco Chanel. :)

This is the review you have been waiting for.

And this, shopping kaki, is what the original design looked like:

(Picture credits to Bag Snob)

Although this is what the classic flap bag design looks like (with the double "C" logo):

The bag is gorgeous.
Chic, classy, and absolutely timeless.
Quilted perfection, intertwined chain straps, practical clasp.
Widely said to be the fundamental pillar of all designer handbags.

But ...
it costs thousands of dollars (and even more in Ringgit Malaysia).
With the state of the economy, most of us can't afford to splurge like that. :(

Solution? :D
Why go for imitation products when you can
be content with a Chanel-inspired bag? :)

The questions that remain with us:
"So many blogshops sell Chanel-inspired bags online! What's the difference?
What do the pre-order ones actually look like?
How do I decide which one to buy?"

I guess you can say that I had all those questions in mind, and I really wanted to find out the answers - but nobody could give them to me! So over the past few months, I set out to collect/photograph as many of these bags as I could - and now with six Chanel-inspired bags in my experience dossier, I can finally write this review for you. :D

All bags reviewed below are now available for purchase from:

Ready Stocks
Blooming Butterfly Boutique (I bought the red one from them) | RM57
Agape Boutique (Large white) | RM35 including Pos Laju
Nakalicious (White with silver clasp and chain) | RM83

Bagz Pool (Black) | RM43
B-ZENN (White with gold clasp and chain) | RM85
Garderobe (Pink) | RM50 including Pos Laju

Before I dive into my personal reviews of each bag, I would like to emphasise that these product reviews are non-commercial - not paid for, not unduly influenced, and I'm trying to be as honest as I can. :) Also remember that these opinions are only my personal opinions, and hopefully with the information I'm about to provide, you can form your own. :D

Here are the six bags you're about to get to know! :D
All photos below are taken by me, and can be clicked on for a larger and clearer view.

Personally, when it comes to bags, I think one of the most important things for me to know is the length of the strap. That's always a good way to compare bags - instead of tossing the coin or leaving it to the price alone. Since all the bags here are reasonably affordable (under RM100), the bag you love every aspect of is always worth investing in.

Agape Boutique | Bagz Pool | Nakalicious | Blooming Butterfly Boutique | Garderobe | B-ZENN

Compare the strap lengths using the picture above. :) Note that all the bags can be worn as sling bags. Although, I feel that Bagz Pool and B-ZENN's bags are not so suitable for that, as the straps are shorter. However, all the bags can be worn with a long strap on the shoulder as the chains are adjustable - each bag offers two strap-length options (double-chained or single). In terms of length, the most versatile would be Agape Boutique's bag because the straps are connected with lobster clasps and can be completely removed (thus becoming your unconventional oversized clutch) or more conventionally, clasped at any part of the chain to be any length that you like! :)

The other important comparison-factor for me is the thickness of the bag - because that helps if you're asking yourself whether you want to put lots of stuff in the bag, or just the bare necessities. :) Look at the picture below - and you can see how each bag is different.

Agape Boutique | Bagz Pool | B-ZENN | Nakalicious | Blooming Butterfly Boutique | Garderobe

For those who are looking for the favourite "lunchbox" shape, you have your winners from Blooming Butterfly Boutique and Garderobe. These two bags are basically exactly the same size, texture, quality, shape, weight - except that Garderobe's pink one has a zipper inside and Blooming Butterfly Boutique's red one doesn't. Nakalicious' white bag is almost the same as the two, but it is sort of curvier at the roof - as you can see in the photo above. B-ZENN's gold-chained bag is a smaller boxy shape, a slimmer and smaller version of the bag. More details and pictures below in the individual reviews!


From Nakalicious RM83

Definitely a really nice bag. This one is mine, so I use it really often. :) It's a powdery-white, but not a sharp white like the other 2 white bags - and it's not too heavy but not as light as some of the other bags. The shape is not as boxy as the pink and red bags - so it depends which shape you prefer. The texture and material is not as smooth as some of the bags - it kind of feels like there's more friction, but this is only apparent in direct comparison because it's still a smooth-feeling bag and great to use as white goes with everything. :) Flawless bag.

Click here to grab the discount codes to get discounts for this bag, plus free shipping if you pay within 24 hours of your order!

Details as pictured above: Close-up of the material, the zipper, the interior, pockets, magnetic pocket in front - and yes, it looks like I forgot to take a photo of the back! But don't worry, I just checked it and its back is the same as all the other ones - with the cute li'l pocket. :P

From Bagz Pool RM43

Pretty much the perfect bag to stud. :P The flap is thinner than the others, so the studs can just about go through - any thicker and it'll be too hard. The material is visibly more crinkled-looking, more lines - although the texture doesn't feel like it, it's as smooth as any other bag. This bag is also the lightest of all the bags. However, the intertwined "pleather" (PU leather a.k.a. faux leather) on the chains are not flawless - the workmanship doesn't seem top-notch, some parts appear to be coming apart from the glue. But it's been a few months of vigorous use and everything's intact, plus it's really affordable. :) Might also be the only Chanel-inspired bag capable of being studded!

Note that this is a pre-order bag, unless they bring in more ready-stocks again. With pre-orders, the estimated time is anywhere between two to four weeks, but because there are so many factors outside your control - unforeseen delays can occur. I waited over a month for this bag because of overseas delays, but the entire time the seller (Chelsea) kept me updated and apologised for the delay. :) But nevertheless, don't take a pre-order if you cannot wait. I sometimes think pre-orders are worth waiting for because it is usually more affordable. :)

Details as pictured above: The back pocket, a close-up of the material (and my studs! :P), the zipper, the interior, pockets (no zipper pockets inside though), and yes - magnetic front pocket as pictured earlier above too.

From Garderobe RM50 including Pos Laju

A gorgeous, gorgeous shade of pearly pink - and the only pink bag in my wardrobe. :P Flawless stitching with a roomy, boxy shape that is exactly the same as the red bag (see below). With an identical interior to the red one, it comes with two pockets in the interior but no zipper inside. The only visible difference between the two bags is that this one has a zipper - the red one is open after the clasp is undone.

The other difference is that this bag is a pre-order one, which means there is a wait - anytime between two weeks to five weeks, because of so many external factors, unexpected delays can happen. I waited over a month for this bag (I guess I have no speed luck when it comes to pre-orders! :P) - but this bag is certainly worth the wait. :) My first pink bag, lol!

Details as pictured above: The back pocket, a close-up of the material (pictured earlier above), the zipper, the interior, pockets (no zipper pockets inside though), magnetic front pocket, and the view-from-the-top to show the thick lunchbox shape of the bag.

From Agape Boutique RM35 including Pos Laju

They have the lunchbox-version of the Chanel-inspired bag too (for RM34 including Pos Laju), but I opted to get this larger, softer one to review (since there might be some of you interested to get this version instead!). I have to admit, the catalogue pictures didn't impress me at all - there was a chance that the bag could be made out of that glossy PVC material that falls into the danger of looking tacky - but wow, when I got this soft, marshmallow-smooth beauty of a bag, I totally changed my mind! :P

For a price like RM35 (plus free shipping!), I thought that the price would compromise the quality - but I was wrong! The quality of this bag is really fantastic - the stitching, chains, interior and texture of the bag are flawless - no weird defects like some cheap pre-orders can bring, and to top it all off, these bags are ready-stocked. :D You can pre-order it if they run out of stock (which happens quite often because their prices are so affordable), but if it's in their Ready Stock Bags album, it's available. :)

Details as pictured above: The back pocket, a close-up of the material (pictured earlier above), the zipper, the interior, pockets (zipper pocket inside), magnetic front pocket, and shots of the lobster clasp that makes the straps detachable! :D Take it all off to turn this into an oversized clutch (haha) or just use this versatility to adjust the length of the straps to anything you like.

The only bag without the zipper inside! I actually prefer bags without zippers because they're quicker to use, but I think it comes down to personal preference because some people think it is safer to have the zipper. :) Comes with the standard magnetic front pocket, li'l pocket at the back, and two large pockets inside (no zipper pockets). A striking red colour - a must-have shade for the Chanel 2.55-inspired bag lover. :P Flawless stitching and material. More or less ready-stocked, as these bags are locally sourced. They are open for restocks. :)

From B-ZENN RM85

This bag is the smallest one - the petite handbag with a luxurious gold clasp and chain. :) It's very hard - so it keeps its shape really well. The texture is extremely smooth, and the shade of white is very white - I didn't even know how white it was until it sat next to other white bags and made them look less white. :P The price might be a li'l steep but it's really good quality, so I would say that it's worth it. :) Flawless chains, stitching, material. A very ladylike, small bag - bought this as a present for my ladylike, small aunt, so I think that it'll make a perfect gift. :D

This is a pre-order bag, and it doesn't take very long to arrive (less than a month) - but the only thing is that they need 15 orders minimum per shipment to place the order. :) Read more about this blogshop here to know that you can trust them with your money! The only blogshop I've come across with gold clasp and chain instead of silver. :D

Details as pictured above: The back pocket, a close-up of the material, the zipper, the interior, pockets (zipper pocket inside), and the magnetic front pocket.

Something to bear in mind:
With pre-order sites, the same catalogue pictures may not mean the products look the same. In the case of Bagz Pool and Garderobe, they used more or less the same catalogue pictures but their bags are as different as variations can go. :P Whenever possible, ask for real photos of the bags. :)

The catalogue photos, which looks like Nakalicious' bag

The actual photos of the bags from Bagz Pool and Garderobe
Which are both nice in their own ways, although they differ from the catalogue pics :P

And that's my review. :D I hope this will help at least one person reading this!
Leave a comment to share your Chanel-inspired bag story! :)

Happy Shopping!
Your Shopping Kaki :)


The Soul said...

I think I want to get one now :(

anndaprincess said...

Dovey lovey sells this bag too. Superb quality I would say. :D

liz said...

I bought one from a pre-order-ish blogshop a day before you announce you'd be doing a review on Chanel inspired bags, I got it a while later and regret not waiting for a while more (at least til you post up your review!)
I personally think it's ugly and I did not know what to do with the bag - to resell it? to use it?
I know no one would buy it if they were to see the real photo of it
But now that you wrote a review on it, we shoppers will be much more careful when it comes to buying this sort of bags, so thank you thank you THANK YOU!!!

L said...

aww. finally the review!i love it! and im thinking of buying more. lol.

personally i have 3 inspired chanel inspired bag. 2 of them are the lunch box version and the other one is the big one like your agape's bag. but mine kinda lil big than urs since the bottom of urs is curvy. so im thinking of getting 1 like urs from agape.

i just couldnt stop on loving quilted design. including those 3 chanel insipred bag, i hve 6 quilted bag in total which i never get bored, yet i still want to add those collection. :))

lastly, congratulation for the great review of chanel inspired bag. you really inspire me to buy more of them. hehe.

fara said...

wah babe! niceeee! this review is what i've been waiting for ages haha :P

personally i only have two chanel inspired bags T.T one is in turquoise and another one is in hot pink. both are from alice wonders :D the price? its quite reasonable as they're of good quality.

the one in turquoise (now sold out at alice wonders) is box-like. silver chains and clasp. like the ones from garderobe and blooming butterfly boutique. but its hard which also keeps the bag in shape :) patent material. then the compartment is a bit small since its divided in two. costs below RM70, i can't recall the exact price since i bought it during raya so its been quite a while already. haha lol. excellent material, i tell you! but then you have to take good care of it since if you accidentally scratch it, of course it will leave hideous marks since its patent. you know la patent material bags right. hehe.

the hot pink is a bit like the one from nakalicious. smooth and soft material. which is very nice :D hehe. the gold chains and clasp make me go whoopeeee for no reason. haha. i even get 20% off for this bag since i answered their survey and so it costs only RM60 w/o postage since i pay within 24 hours. wahhh! i knowww. reasonable righttt? ^^ but then this one don't have a variety of colours since its only available in hot pink and grey -.-"

i think you should add another review for alice wonders :P they bags are exactly like the pictures they provided at their site. since they're all real pictures of the products. so they don't differ much :D thumbs up for their excellent service, the convenience of their site to shop, with gorgeous and reasonably priced bags as well ;) it may be a bit pricey for those who likes to bargain for stuffs (me) but its veeeeery worth it since its of qood quality and i can say that i'm very satisfied when i received the bags :)

well, that's just part of my story and was just giving out my opinion and thoughts :) i'm talking frankly based on what i experienced. just wanna help you guys to make the right choice aite ^^

anyway, i love your review. this helps me a lot. now i wanna order another one from agape boutique :P hehe.

you rock YSK! ^^

Anonymous said...

to liz> hey! can i know which blogshop u mention that the chanel bag u got is ugly? that way, we wont get from there. thanks!

JT said...

Hi! =) I really like the bag from Nakalicious. The quality looks good and not too boxy. =) but sadly im still a low budget student. big sigh.Is it possible to get good quality and the same item for a price below RM50? Thank you!

Anonymous said...

As much as I am for saving money and all, I can never bring myself to buy an imitation or an inspired (which to me, in my book anyway, is the same thing). I've seen and touched the real deal, and from the looks of it, these inspired ones are no where near it. Not to mention its pretty obvious if you by an inspired one (again, to me anyway).

If at all possible, I think you should invest in the real deal. It may cost a bomb, but think of it as an investment. Like buying jewelry, Chanel items worth goes up as well. I've seen loads of people selling of their real ones on ebay too and overseas, they have them in vintage shops. So, if you can wait, I, personally, would wait till I can get the real thing.

Thats just my opinion on the whole imitation and fake designer bags thing.

Also, as an added note, you guys should watch the documentary on fake (I suppose, not to be confused with inspired? I don't know...) designer bags. Its a horrid industry, and we, as shoppers should now support it.

Cheers. :)

liz said...

I wish I could tell you but I don't think it's very nice to do so
Just be extremely careful with sites with all those Taiwan models, they may look good in those pictures (or even their so-called real pictures - they would claim that they use DSLR or all those powerful cameras, that's why their "real pictures" look better compared to our lousy digital camera)
Make sure you ask for super close up photos okay

Nowadays I feel that it's better to be annoying and ask more questions, than to suffer the consequences of not knowing what to do with something you do not like in the end

Good luck!

B-zenn said...

hi , all.. we now taking orders.. pre-order date : 03 dec till 10 dec 2009

# full payment needs
# Rm85 only (pos laju west/Rm94),(poslaju east / Rm97)

only wait for 7days - 14days.. by plane.

hurry up...
no more restock..
quality supper nice...

Bag manufacturers said...

Thanks so much for this! I haven't been this moved by a blog for a long time! You’ve got it, whatever that means in blogging. Anyway, You are definitely someone that has something to say that people need to hear. Keep up the good work. Keep on inspiring the people!
Bag Manufacturers

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