Both excellent Chanel bags to invest in, the 2.55 and classic flap bags can often be mistaken for each other. With many similarities, both bags were officially imagined (or reimagined) by two of the world’s most influential fashion designers. Below we unravel the characteristics of each bag, the history and the unique differences.

The 2.55 

Created by Coco Chanel herself, the 2.55 was debuted in February of 1955 — hence the 2.55 naming. Because of the added shoulder strap — unheard of in women’s fashion at the time — the 2.55 became a revolutionary handbag. After centuries of carrying the bag on the arm or in the hand, a shoulder strap allowed women to tackle daily life hands-free, whilst still holding all the essentials close.

The most iconic features include the elegant, rectangular Mademoiselle lock, double flap design (a point which often causes confusion) and the all-chain strap. A ‘secret’ zipped pocket can be found on the front flap. Legend has it that Chanel stored love letters here, from various love affairs.

The 2.55 Reissue

In 2005, the 2.55 was reimagined and rereleased by Karl Lagerfeld. Like the original 2.55 bag, the reissue doesn’t feature a CC lock. And the chain isn’t entwined with leather-like the Classic Flap bags mentioned below.

Both the original 2.55 and reissue feature a double flap system, with an interior and exterior flap.

Copyright Ashley Cooper on Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Today the 2.55 reissue can be purchased in a mix of sizes, vibrant colours and iconic leather types. However, most Chanel enthusiasts appreciate their Chanel bags in the classic, minimalist black quilted leather that became a Chanel staple.

The rerelease saw the bag ascend to ‘it-bag’ status, as the timeless style could seamlessly blend into any rapidly evolving fashion scene. With Chanel’s guaranteed price rises investing in a 2.55 is widely seen as a risk-free investment.

The Chanel Classic Flap (the 11.12)

After the passing of Coco Chanel in 1971, the fashion powerhouse experienced a period of near dormancy. However, in 1983 Karl Lagerfeld joined as creative director and brought in a much-needed spark. In a bid to reawaken the fashion powerhouse, he designed a new handbag, to bring fresh interest. Paying homage to Chanel’s original design, he reimagined the 2.55 bag, and the Classic Flap was created. Unlike the 2.55, the 11.12 does not reference a date — it’s simply a style code used to identify the bag.

The Chanel Classic Double Flap in light pink

Classic Flap Characteristics 

The Classic Flap bags have the same soft, rectangular form, however, a few critical features have changed. Instead of the Mademoiselle lock, Classic Flap bags feature the highly iconic interlocking CC logo. The bag chains are also interwoven with leather, adding a luxe layer of comfort when worn on the shoulder.

A cotton, hot pink Chanel Classic Single Flap on Timeless Vintage Co.

Single Flap or Double Flap?

The Classic Flap bags were introduced as a single flap version too, but this was soon discontinued in 2014. These bags were thought to have drifted too far from Coco Chanel’s original iteration of the 2.55 bag. They featured a single flap that covered the open interior of the bag.

Chanel 2.55 vs Classic Flap

Whether you prefer the understated glamour of the 2.55 or the iconic status of the Classic Flap. Both bags have become timeless classics that appear on the must-have lists of fashion enthusiasts around the world. If you’re looking to invite one into your wardrobe, have you considered opting for a pre-loved Chanel bag?

Featured Image: Chanel Classic Double Flap in Pink with a Photo by Ashley Cooper on Flickr (CC BY 2.0)


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