French Fashion: Chanel’s Not-So-Poor Art Student


While being surrounded by the international attendees of this past Autumn/ Winter 2014 Paris Fashion Week, I was introduced to the upcoming season’s trend of fun, standout accessories. But the one thing that stood out the most was a bag I recognized from the eccentric Colette storefront display from this past February, which seemed to be popular among the likes of Kristen Stewart and fashion blogger Susie Bubble. The “poor art student” backpack was a standout in Karl Lagerfeld’s Spring/Summer 2014 “street-inspired” runway show (and carried by favorite top model Cara Delevingne). This French fashion trend quickly flooded the streets during Paris Fashion Week, so I decided to do some digging and see what all this backpack hype was about.

But here’s the catch: to get your hands on one of these bags, you’ll have to hand over €2,350 ($3,400) for a small or €2,500 ($3,800) for a medium-sized bag. But that did not stop dozens of people from queuing up outside Colette to get their own canvas backpack shortly after its release. Sales for Chanel’s newest accessory went quickly, although if you’re lucky, you might still be able to grab the last one at your local Chanel boutique. But what was it that convinced the public to drop thousands of euros on this designer pack?

This do-it-yourself punk backpack, as Mr. Lagerfeld calls it, emulates the revival of the street-punk style that seems to be popular among the younger fashion crowd today. You can tell the graffiti-style Chanel logo, the quilt stitching and the fringe detail mimic the familiar-yet-fun essence of a Chanel product. With the oversize, recognizable CC spray-painted front and center, and colorful rope and chain intertwined throughout, the price for one of these babies seems a little steep, especially for something that was inspired by the well-known struggling student (and for something that looks like you could make at home).

But in the words of the great Karl Lagerfeld, “My greatest luxury is to not have to justify myself to anyone.” So if you’re willing to spend the cash for this street/punk look, go for it!

Insider tip: Planning a trip to Paris? Be sure to get the GO-Card, your access to our little black book of resources on how to eat, live, play and stay in Paris. You’ll also get great deals from all of our 250-plus partners.

Photographs taken by Alexis Barnett. For more, visit