As one of Chanel’s most popular bags, we’ve delved into the history of Chanel Flap Bags to uncover why it continuously remains in the heart of the designer handbag scene.
The Chanel 2.55 Flap Bag is recognised the World over — its elegant practicality guaranteeing its status as the ideal of what a handbag should be.
WHERE IT ALL BEGAN
The Chanel 2.55 Flap Bag Was Designed by Coco Chanel Herself
The origins of the Chanel 2.55 flap bag begin in Paris… Coco Chanel began creating handbags that closely followed the current handbag trends of the time — but as she developed more experience, her creativity inspired the creation of a new bag style. Handbags at the time were bulky and often an inconvenience for a more modern woman with an active lifestyle. So in 1955, Coco debuted a bag with a practical shoulder strap, forever changing the course of handbag history for women.
A Timeline of All The Flap Bag Iterations
Over the years Chanel Flap Bags have evolved, with minor tweaks from famous Chanel designers, each making the bag even more irresistible and relevant to the preferences of each generation.
The Original 2.55 Flap Bag
The bag that inspired all other iterations of the Chanel flap bag. Here are a few quick facts about this iconic bag…
- The name 2.55 is in reference to the year that Coco Chanel designed the bag — 1955.
- The interior of the original 2.55 flap bag was a burgundy leather. It was inspired by the uniform of children at the orphanage where Coco Chanel also spent her childhood.
- The iconic quilting pattern was inspired by the equestrian jackets worn by stablehands.
- These bags are always known as ‘double flap’ bags, because of the interior and exterior flaps.
- The lock is known as a “Mademoiselle Turn lock”. The name was inspired by the fact that Coco Chanel never married.
- On the inner side of the top flap there was a secret zip compartment. It is supposedly an addition suggested by Coco Chanel, as she used the compartment to store secret love letters from a particular affair she was involved with at the time.
The Classic Flap (The 11.12 Handbag)
In 1983, Karl Lagerfeld made a few minor changes to the 2.55 to create a new flap bag style. He altered the chain strap and also created the iconic double CC lock.
The shoulder strap has always been an iconic part of the Chanel flap bag, but the strap on classic Chanel flap bags is now entwined with a length of leather — adding an additional layer of comfort and a new characteristic, as different plaits and colours can be created.
The Reissue (The 2.55 Handbag)
The reissue was also created by Karl Lagerfeld and it was debuted in 2005. It is a recreation of the 2.55 that mirrors the classic shape and detailing that is synonymous with the original 2.55 flap bags. It is available in the original black with gold-tone hardware, but also a selection of covetable colours too.
The bags always feature the elegant Mademoiselle lock, and the strap is a metal chain that is not interlaced with leather.
For true Chanel connoisseurs, the Reissue can often be a favourite as it has a more understated appearance with the Mademoiselle lock.
Whether you choose to buy a Reissue or Classic Flap — or even if you discover a true vintage 2.55 — Chanel flap bags are well known for holding their value. They also occasionally increase in value if the bag is in good condition and is from a well-loved season. A Chanel flap bag is always a great investment piece, as well as being a beautiful addition to your wardrobe.