It seems that in the 1920s, Coco Chanel became tired of having to carry her handbags in her arms and decided to design a bag that free her hands. Inspired by the straps found on soldiers’ bags, she added thin straps and introduced the resulting design to the market in 1929. After her successful comeback to the fashion industry in 1954, Chanel decided to update her handbag for the modern women. The resulting design was called 2.55 after the date of creation, February 1955.
I’ve always wanted a to own a Chanel handbag; it was like a dream bag. I got my Chanel Classic Flap Bag years ago during a trip to Paris. I paid about €1,150 then but the price has since escalated to about S$6,000 now. Lucky me! So what’s in the 2.55?
- The bag originally came with a front lock called the “Mademoiselle Lock” (reference to Coco Chanel never marrying). Since the 1980s, versions came a lock in the shape of a double CC logo called “Classic Flaps”.
- Chanel recognizing that the modern women needed to have their hands free while attending social functions, designed a double chain shoulder strap, something common in down-market products, but rare in luxury circles at the time. The chains in the Chanel Classic Flap Bag were attached by leather-threaded chain inserted though eyelets. The caretakers of the convent she grew up in, held the keys at their waist dangling from the same type of chains as the 2.55 shoulder strap chains.
- The bag has a quilted diamond or herringbone pattern on the exterior. Using a running stitch, this gives the bag shape and volume. The pattern is believed to have been inspired by several sources: jockeys’ riding coats, stained-glass windows of a abbey at Aubazine, cushions in Chanel’s Paris apartment.
- The back has a flap for storage of money.
- There’s a secret zippered compartment inside the front flap. That’s where Chanel is rumoured to have stored her love letters in her original bag.
- The lining’s burgundy colour represents the colour of the uniforms at the convent where Coco Chanel grew up. Chanel 2.55, stylish today as it was 50 years ago! Check out my Guide To An Authentic Chanel Bag