Chanel bans crocodile and lizard skin from its collections

Chanel bans crocodile and lizard skin from its collections

Chanel becomes one of the first luxury labels to BAN crocodile and lizard skin from its collections – having previously sold exotic handbags for as much as £5,000

  • Chanel has announced it will no longer use exotic animal pelts in its collections
  • It is one of the first luxury labels to turn its back on crocodile and lizard skin 
  • Vintage Chanel handbags made from pelts can sell for upwards of £20,000 
  • Python skin bags were removed from Chanel’s official website on Tuesday 
  • But vintage bags are still on sale for tens of thousands of pounds elsewhere

Chanel has announced it will no longer use exotic animal pelts in its collections, making it one of the first major luxury labels to turn its back on crocodile and lizard skin. 

In a move hailed by animal rights groups, Chanel’s head of fashion Bruno Pavlovsky said the brand ‘would no longer use exotic skins in our future creations’, adding it was becoming more difficult to source high-quality pelts ethically.

The new policy will also see it ban fur from animals such as raccoon dog, mink and rabbit.

Handbags, coats and shoes made from snake, crocodile and stingray skin command premium prices, with vintage Chanel handbags made from pelts selling for upwards of £20,000 online.

Python skin bags were removed from Chanel’s official website on Tuesday, although second-hand bags are still on sale for tens of thousands of pounds on vintage sites.

Chanel has announced it is banning the use of animal skin in its collections, although vintage handbags are still available to buy elsewhere (this stingray skin cross-body bag is currently on sale for £2,968.53 at 1stdibs.co.uk)

Karl Lagerfeld, Chanel’s longtime creative director (pictured in Paris in October 2017) said that he used fur so rarely at Chanel that he couldn’t remember when it last featured on the catwalk

Chanel’s veteran designer Karl Lagerfeld told the website Women’s Wear Daily that the French brand had chosen itself to drop exotic skins rather than it ‘being imposed on us’, adding: ‘We did it because it’s in the air.

‘It’s a free choice,’ he added, insisting that he used fur so rarely at Chanel that he couldn’t remember when it last featured on the catwalk.


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Animal rights groups welcomed the move, with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) hailing Chanel as giving a lead to other luxury brands.

‘There’s nothing trendy about using stolen skins from tormented animals for clothing or accessories,’ it said.

‘It’s clear that the time is now for all companies, like Louis Vuitton, to follow Chanel’s lead and move to innovative materials that spare countless animals a miserable life and a violent, painful death,’ PETA added. 

This second-hand Chanel quilted chain bag, from the 1990s, is made from lizard skin and while animal pelt products have now been banned from the label’s website this one is available to buy for £3,360.61 on 1stdibs.co.uk

This vintage Chanel 2.55 shoulder bag is cut from crocodile skin, now banned in the label’s collections, and is listed for an eye-watering £22,000 on FarFetch

Although top fashion brands have been under heavy pressure to renounce fur, with Gucci, Armani, Versace and John Galliano all deciding to go fur free, Chanel’s decision to stop using exotic skins came out of the blue.

Animal rights campaigns against the use of crocodile and snake skin products have not got the same traction with the public as similar crusades against fur, with some luxury brands even investing in reptile farms so they can guarantee that skins are sourced ethically.

Humane Society International (HSI) UK Executive Director Claire Bass said ‘Fur is a bloody business that condemns millions of animals to miserable lives on fur farms, so HSI is delighted that Chanel has become yet another global fashion giant to drop fur from its collections. 

A Chanel Grey Python Mini Flap Bag on sale from HardlyEverWornIt (HEWI) for £3,950. The value of second-hand pieces like this vintage number is now likely to soar

‘The last two years have seen an unprecedented wave of the world’s top designers forgoing fur, and every single one strengthens the message that fur is firmly out of fashion. 

‘Chanel is also turning its back on exotic skins, saving countless crocodiles, lizards, snakes and stingrays from suffering. 

‘The growth in fabulous luxury and eco-friendly fibres that don’t involve animals suffering and dying is helping to drive forward this new era of ethical fashion. 

‘Fur-using brands such as Fendi, Dolce & Gabbana and Louis Vuitton need to take heed and embrace this fur-free future.’

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