At Chanel, two legends live on through the timeless Classic Flap bag designed by Mademoiselle Coco herself and the nearly identical 2.55 Reissue designed by Karl Lagerfeld. The fashion world may still be in mourning, but what better time is there to remember brilliance?
The story began in 1929, when Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel just couldn’t resist defying yet another social norm to liberate socialite women. She too wanted to enjoy champagne and hors d’oeuvres without juggling a clutch in hand. Et voila! Inspired by soldiers’ bags, the Chanel Classic Flap was born. Behind the leather-woven, double-chain shoulder straps and burgundy leather lining, there are memories of Coco’s childhood. Did you know she grew up in a convent? The chain was reminiscent of the chatelaines the sisters wore around their waists, while the burgundy red was taken from the orphanage uniforms. The double interlocked CC on the flap became the iconic Chanel Logo but also functioned as the lock closure for the bag, which she designed herself. And did you know she was also a fan of horse racing? This would explain the quilting of the leather, which not only echoed jackets worn by jockeys but also gave the bag structure.
But… who designed the 2.55? Originally Coco did, in February 1955, thus the name. However, after King Karl took over the maison, he designed the Reissue 2.55 commemorating the 50th anniversary of the bag. He, as any genius would, recognized that the bag was already perfect so he simply narrowed down Chanel’s offering to the Classic Flap Bag and the 2.55 Reissue, taking away all of the redundant versions and making our lives that much easier. Merci Karl!
So let’s identify how the 2.55 is different from the Classic Flap. The rectangular “mademoiselle” turn lock replaced the double interlocking CC, referring to Miss. Coco who never married. The chain straps were not interwoven with leather, but all Reissue bags have a double flap. Karl Lagerfeld’s version also comes in a more vintage style leather choice, enhancing the bag’s heritage. Today the 2.55 Reissue comes in any size you need, with luxurious leather choices far beyond the supple lambskin or caviar calfskin, and a vast array of modern textiles to keep any wardrobe avant-garde, not to mention the wool tweed Chanel is famous for.
Either way, should any of Coco’s girls be guilty of being “hopelessly out of fashion”, as Harper’s Bazaar so appropriately coined it? None of Karl’s “Choupettes” should be without one, should they? No. Definitely not.