In 1955, Coco Chanel created the Chanel classic bag with flap, one of the most admired and coveted cult bags by women all over the world. A bag with a history spanning more than half a century.
There are those who love it and those who hate it, but the Chanel classic bag, in its different styles, is still considered by many a symbol of elegance, femininity and allure.
A bit of history
The initials of the most iconic of the Chanel Classic Bags with a flap, the Chanel 2.55, indicate a date: February 1955.
A concise and essential name, as was customary for Coco Chanel.
But the inspirational idea behind this bag was born much earlier, even in the thirties, in line with the fashion concept of Mademoiselle Coco, that of elegant, but sober and above all comfortable clothing, born for a free and independent woman.
And the concept of the 2.55 was developed precisely on this principle: a functional bag, elegant but above all comfortable, that leaves your hands free, for an active and independent woman.
The First Chanel Classic Bag With a Flap
In February 1955, the first Chanel 2.55 appeared. The first models were in jersey, then came those in soft lambskin, and the surface was made of reversed leather and stitched with the classic diamond pattern.
The shoulder strap is a chain and is inspired by the key chain of the keepers of the orphanage where Coco Chanel grew up.
But the memories of the orphanage are also reflected in the interior of the bag, burgundy like the uniforms worn by the children who lived there.
Inside, there is a small pocket closed by a zipper, almost a secret compartment, while in the back there is a pocket designed to store coins. Even the closure is simple, rectangular and metal in the Reissue model, with the classic double C crossed in the classic model.
Today’s Chanel classic bag
It is not for nothing that the Chanel 2.55 has arrived almost intact to this day.
Of course, in the 1980s, designer Karl Lagerfeld came along and slightly updated the design, adding the two legendary crossed Cs to the clasp and the strip of leather woven into the chain of the shoulder strap, thus creating the Chanel Classic Flap.
In 2005, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the 2.55, Lagerfeld reissued the 2.55 identical to the original 1955 Coco Chanel design, giving it the name 2.55 Reissue.
The traditional lines of the 2.55, have been declined in various modes, colors and materials with each seasonal collection.
Even today, the Chanel 2.55 is produced with long and careful craftsmanship.
Each bag requires 18 hours of workmanship and top quality materials. Two thirds of the production is carried out in the Chanel factory in France, the rest is produced in Italy.
The Chanel Classic Bag is not mass-produced
This is not a mass-produced product: each piece is comparable to an atelier piece, entirely handmade with great attention to detail.
The bag is produced in three sizes: small, medium and large/Jumbo.
Prices increase horrendously from season to season and vary greatly from model to model.
More than a purchase, it is a real investment that in my opinion should be properly thought out: I gave it to myself (I chose the Jumbo Caviar double flap model) for my 50th birthday and, before that, I went twice to try it on in a boutique in Milan.
In partial exoneration for the constantly rising prices, we can say that we are dealing with a quality object that certainly does not last a single season, but that can be used for years and years, with a constant increase in its value.
This makes it so that if you decide to sell your Chanel years later, you generally get a great price. I previously had the medium model, purchased used (but practically new and provided with box, invoice, etc.), and even resold it at a small margin.
Given the cost of such an “investment”, I’ll list what, in my opinion, are the advantages and disadvantages of this bag.
- It is an iconic bag and a timeless bag.
- The value increases over time and if the bag is well maintained, it can be resold for a good price.
- In the Jumbo size, it is a comfortable and roomy bag.
- Still in the Jumbo size, it has a long shoulder strap that can also be “doubled”. This allows the bag to be carried in a variety of ways, all of which are very comfortable.
- It is an iconic bag that stands out.
- The Caviar leather is very durable.
- The weight is limited, it’s definitely not a heavy bag.
I would like to point out that, at least for me, most of the disadvantages are related to the classic model of the 2.55, that is the medium one.
I’ve had it for a few years and then I resold for lack of use. These are, of course, my completely personal opinions!
- The medium version has a short shoulder strap even for a person of average height like me, not only does not allow you to carry the bag cross body, but also worn on the shoulder in my opinion is short.
- Also, the medium version is not very roomy. I struggled to fit the essentials (zippy wallet, keys, cell phone).
- For all sizes: the lambskin leather is delicate and can easily scratch. Even the chain of the bag itself, if it rests on the leather, can mark it, as a kind vendeuse of the Chanel boutique in Milan told me.
- The design of the medium Chanel classic bag (this is my personal opinion!) looks really very traditional, even on a 50 year old woman like me with a fairly classic style.
Watch the video review I made on YouTube here (turn on English subtitles):
As mentioned, the already high prices for the Chanel 2.55 are steadily and frighteningly rising. However, it is possible to find some great alternatives in the luxury used.
In this regard, in addition to the “brick and mortar” luxury vintage stores found in many cities, I also recommend: