Now that the seed for a small and colorful crossbody bag has been planted in my head, I considered my options. A mini flap in burgundy also caught my eye, but I decided the color was too dark and the shape and style was too similar to my medium flap. I wasn't set on buying a Chanel, so I expanded my search to other brands but focused on their red selections only. I considered the Coach Legacy Penny Shoulder in carnelian, J.Crew Little Edie in flame, Tory Burch Robinson Crossbody Mini in raspberry, and the Marc Jacobs Single in burgundy. After sleeping on these options for a few days, the excitement for each soon faded for one reason or another (color/shape/size/style). It was back to the drawing board for me.
SIL on the other hand, had reached a decision on The One, a small bright pink Boy bag in stingray. She talked about how she used The Purse Forum to do all her research, even picking out a store with a specific SA in mind to buy from. It's been awhile since I've actively used tPF, so that conversation with her triggered thoughts of the rose camellia WOC from a few weeks back.
Through tPF, I familiarized myself with all the information I could find on camellia WOCs, current and past colors, leather options, quality, size, etc. The more photos I saw, the more enamored I became with the camellia embossing. The design is beautiful up close, feminine, and different than the quilting on my medium flap. Best of all, the camellia WOC comes in various shades of red, depending on the year/collection. Some were bright red with orange undertones, some a true lipstick red, some a darker wine-colored red. Photo comparisons helped, but I much rather see the colors in person if I could.
I went to two stores before the SA brought out the color that made my heart aflutter. The Chanel Camellia WOC in 11A red with silver hardware (tag info / buy pre-owned) was the perfect shade of red for me, not too bright, no orange undertones, a true wine-colored red. 11A means the bag was part of the 2011 Autumn collection, where it debut in the $1400-1500 range. A year and a couple price hikes later, the bag now retails for $1700. Ouch. I had been following the eBay market for pre-owned red camellia WOCs and haven't seen many I'd be comfortable with below $1600, so I figured I'd sleep much better at night buying brand new for a little more.
I believe the camellia WOC comes in only two types of leather: patent and lambskin (please correct me if caviar exists). Although patent would be much easier to take care of, I've read of potential creasing issues on the underside of the flap. For me, lambskin was the easy choice as I already own a flap in caviar. I also felt the more delicate but luxurious leather looked best with the camellia embossing (the shiny sheen from patent leather takes away from the floral design).
This bag will top my Balenciaga as the most high maintenance. At the boutique, the SA showed me a blue camellia WOC in lambskin and there were already many scratches and signs of wear around the CC lock, just from people trying it on. I've also noticed the zipper above the CHANEL logo (see photo below) has already marred the leather slightly from when the WOC is closed.
The camellia WOC measures 7.5" x 4.75" x 1.5". I've heard that it's the largest of all WOCs, but unfortunately I don't own any others to confirm. There are 6 card slots, a main compartment, a zippered section, and a front slot that's similar to the outer back slot of classic flaps. The WOC is classified as a wallet, so it doesn't come with a dust bag. Instead, it comes wrapped in a sheet of felt. My SA was generous and gave me a small dust bag when I asked her for the best way to store and protect lambskin (lying flat with chain strap tucked inside).
When worn with the chain straps, I'm able to fit a coin purse, an iPod Touch, and a small cell phone in the main compartment. If worn as a clutch/wallet, I would go without the coin purse to make room for storing the chain straps inside.
I've compiled 6 ways to wear the WOC (or any other similar cross-body type bags). If you know of any others, please feel free to share. For reference, the strap drop on the camellia WOC is 24.5" and I'm about 5'5".
(3) single chained for over-the-shoulder look - thank you Jean for this idea and showing us how to shorten the strap to a desired length
(4) double chained for over-the-shoulder look
(5*) triple chained worn at the crook of the elbow - I personally think this would look really cute with a dress
(6*) triple chained for hand carrying
*A big thank you to my SA, Shim at Tysons Neiman Marcus for sharing her knowledge