Designing a bag that looks both silly and extremely expensive is no small feat. Luxury, as a concept, is very self-serious, the fashion industry is endlessly self-aggrandizing. People who work in luxury fashion are not, by and large, the people you look to for jokes. Even brands who specialize in novelty usually only strike the correct balance some of the time–bags made to look like a luxe little joke often end up just looking like a joke.

In my mind, only two brands get novelty bags consistently right, and the first is Judith Leiber. The brand’s formula is simple: take an object, remake it as a crystal-covered clutch. The second brand is Chanel, and although the brand hasn’t been in this particular part of the handbag game as long as Leiber, its facility for high-end irreverence might be even more impressive when you consider its range. Most of the Chanel designs in question use plexiglass as their base, but from there, almost anything can happen, depending on the seasonal theme in question.

And when it comes to these designs, themes are very important. Many of these bags appear in collections that are centered around a particular city or country with a clear aesthetic history, and the brand tends to use cultural references from those locales to inform the design direction. It’s no coincidence that the locations chosen are frequently robust or emerging fashion markets, which likely makes the bags, which are already made in limited quantities, hot commodities for local VIP customers.

Of course, these rare, special bags come at a price. Most of the recent plexiglass pieces have broken the $10,000 retail mark, with the most expensive of the group being a $43,000 pearl-covered seashell from 2012. We’ve assembled all the ones we know of in chronological order before, but because the Internet is way heavier on information about collections from the last 10 years than those that came before, we may have missed some–feel free to help us fill in any blanks you see in the comments!

Chanel Casette Clutch
Circa 2004

Chanel Record Clutch
Season Unknown

Chanel Gold Bar Clutch
Circa 2006

Chanel Matryoshka Doll Clutch
Metiers d’Art Paris-Moscow 2009

Chanel Straw Bird Bag
Spring 2010

Chanel Doll Clutch
Metiers d’Art Paris-Shanghai 2010

Chanel Takeaway Box
Metiers d’Art Paris-Shanghai 2010

Chanel Ice Cube Bag
Fall 2010

Chanel Ice Cube Clutch
Fall 2010

Chanel Book Clutch
Spring 2011

Chanel Pearl Shell Clutch
Spring 2012

Chanel Doll Clutch
Metiers d’Art Paris-Bombay 2012

Chanel Gem Clutch
Fall 2012

Chanel Globe Clutch
Fall 2013

Chanel No. 5 Perfume Bottle Clutch
Cruise 2014

Chanel Drawing Portfolio
Spring 2014

Chanel Framed Flap Bag Clutch
Spring 2014

Chanel Strass Pistol Minaudiere
Metiers d’Art Paris-Dallas 2014

Chanel Belt Buckle Minaudiere
Chanel Paris-Dallas Metiers d’Art 2014

Chanel Embroidered Money Clutch
Metiers d’Art Paris-Dallas 2014

Chanel Lait de Coco Milk Box Minaudiere
Fall 2014

Chanel Meat Package Flap Bag
Fall 2014

Chanel Jerrycan Shoulder Bag
Cruise Dubai 2015

Chanel Premiere Watch Minaudiere
Cruise Dubai 2015

Chanel Jerrycan Minaudiere
Cruise Dubai 2015

Chanel Pearl Minaudiere
Cruise Dubai 2015

Chanel Powder Compact Clutch
Fall 2015

Chanel Brasserie Gabrielle Plate Minaudiere
Fall 2015

Chanel Turtle Shell Minaudiere
Cruise 2016

Chanel Dice Minaudiere
Pre-Collection Spring 2016

Chanel Playing Card Minaudiere
Pre-Collection Spring 2016

Chanel Trolley Minaudiere
Spring 2016

Chanel Perfume Bottle Minaudiere
Metiers d’Art Paris-Rome 2016

Chanel Movie Camera Minaudiere
Metiers d’Art Paris-Rome 2016

Chanel Gift Box Evening Bag
Pre-Collection Fall 2016

Chanel Thread Spool Clutch
Fall 2016

Chanel Jewelry Box Minaudiere
Fall 2016

Chanel Cigar Box Minaudiere
Cruise Cuba 2017

Chanel Robot Clutch
Spring 2017

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Lola
Lola
5 years ago

Both the Record clutch and the Cassette Clutch are from the Spring Summer 2004 collection.

Karl explained in a french TV program that those bags are very expensive because they have to create custom molds to make them…

srpldr
srpldr
5 years ago

Would the Lego clutches count? They did quite a few iterations of it. comment image

kemilia
kemilia
5 years ago

These are all fabulous, so fun to see.

Thank you for gathering them together; I’m sure a few have been missed and the Chanel ladies will note that but for me, this was fun eye candy!

Charlie
Charlie
5 years ago

I absolutely adore CHANEL and Karl Lagerfeld for these, they did it and did it in a fun and classy way

JaneH
JaneH
5 years ago

Chanel novelty bags are like the grown up sister version of Kate Spade novelties 🙂

Kristoffer
Kristoffer
5 years ago
Reply to  JaneH

When I think of tasteful novelties, Chanel and Kate Spade comes to mind.

Finem Lauda
Finem Lauda
5 years ago

Idk, these bore me. They are just missing something that makes them interesting. None of them look like they’d cost more than 50$. Maybe that’s just my Chanel hate bleeding through.

Shopper
Shopper
5 years ago

I love the cigar box.

GreenApple18r
GreenApple18r
5 years ago

Among all whimsical bags, the hula hoop bag is my all time favorite. When I first saw it I laughed so hard my stomach hurt.comment image

Chris
Chris
5 years ago
Reply to  GreenApple18r

Also my favorite. That was the best !!!! 🙂

Tess
Tess
5 years ago

Ugly!!! Tacky!!!!

Aminata Kanu
Aminata Kanu
5 years ago

Anya Hindmarch is the best but her novelty bags are very British. You have to know British culture to appreciate them.

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