Those of you who are true fashionistas at heart, may have come across this beautiful and timeless handbag, that we will be looking at today.
Think for a bit! What is the one bag that is still, today, after over 60 years from the date of its creation, held as a must-have item in your wardrobe?
True indeed, it is the gorgeous Chanel 2.55 handbag. You might have heard of it, read about it and there are some among you, we are sure, that have dreamt about it.
When it comes to the brand, Chanel, owning any of the products they have created, is not only a pleasure but a fashion statement. With instantly recognizable details and color combinations, it is no wonder that those who can afford to have them, do not think twice about it!
Let’s all get together and relax for a bit, have a chit-chat about the history of this brand, take a look at why and how it has become what we all know and love, and most importantly, talk about the Chanel 2.55 handbag.
It has never gone out of style and it never will!
From being a renowned mistress of several elite men of the time, to speculations of being a Nazi collaborator, Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel has had a life of adventure and interest.
Born to a poor family in 1883, she was orphaned at the age of 12, to then go on to live at an orphanage. This was a religious order in Aubazine, where she spent the next 6 years of her life.
We are giving you a look into her early life, because it is what later shaped her entire future, so bear with us. At the orphanage, she was taught how to sew and at the age of 18, when she was too old to remain there, she left and began work as a seamstress.
However, being a passionate, ambitious and dedicated girl, she worked towards a better life. At first she thought that she would make it as a stage star and began as a cabaret singer. This is where she got her nickname Coco, that went on to become part of her identity.
But, despite her efforts, she was not cut out to make it into that career and went on to become Europe’s most renowned designer at the time.
We can say, with certainty, that Chanel is the world’s most popular brand. Everyone knows about it, what their products are and which are the most iconic creations.
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The Chanel No.5 perfume is, to this day, one of the most purchased and world-renowned perfumes for women all over the world.
Why is that surprising and impressive? After all, there are many other perfumes by different famous brands that still sell at astounding numbers. Well, not many of them were created almost a century ago.
What Coco Chanel aspired to bring to the fashion world, she managed to do it with every little detail and piece of accessory she selected and created. The Chanel No.5 perfume is a proof of that. It was a daring scent, created to be sensual, yet bold and alluring.
Another major part of her creations are the clothes. Of course, the Chanel Suit is a true piece of feminine beauty, while at the same time a practical outfit. This goes for all of her designs.
She created them with practicality in mind. They were intended to liberate women from wearing the tight and restraining corsets, big dresses and the exaggerated clothes of the 19th century. Her designs were comfortable to wear for day-to-day activities, yet maintaining a classy and elegant look.
Even today, the brand continues to create new designs and also re-designing original creations, in order to bring to the public a piece of history that has adapted to the modern era. Just a simple online search would reveal hundreds of designs, worn by fashion bloggers, ladies like you and us and of course, celebrities.
The original designs have remained popular beyond their time and will most likely continue to do so.
Apart from the clothing and perfume collections, she designed different accessories, for a complete outfit.
Hats, headpieces and jewelry brought her a lot of attention when she first started. Famous actresses used her hats in different roles and public appearances, giving the fashion house a spot in the celebrity circles, as well as in the eyes of the public.
But what we are here together for, is one specific creation of hers, the Chanel 2.55 handbag.
There is a lot to say about the bag. From its history, how it is made, what sets it apart and, of course, how to tell if what you are after is a genuine Chanel 2.55 handbag.
First things first, the Chanel 2.55 is a luxury handbag. So not only we are looking at a classic piece of fashion, but at a high-end one too. But of course, you already knew that. Nonetheless, it is good to be reminded of that.
Luxury does not just mean “expensive”, but also high quality. Such is the case with this beautiful bag.
It was first designed in the 1920s but the final design and date of creation was in February 1955. If that date is stirring something in your mind, a) you are quite sharp and b) you are absolutely correct.
The bag’s name 2.55 is in reference to February (the second month), 1955. With that out of the way, let’s get into what it is made of.
Design And Material
The very first Chanel 2.55 was made of quilted wool fabric, with the inner compartment made in the color burgundy and the outer of the bag in the color black.
Not only is this combination striking and chic, it is said to have been done in reminiscence of her orphanage uniform, which was in the color burgundy, with the outer black color being one of her all-time favorite colors.
However, it is also quite convenient when it comes to it, because it makes finding things much easier.
With all-black bags, sometimes looking for something means having to take each item out or rummage for a while, to find what you are looking for. You are all set with this handbag.
Another design feature is the quilting. While there are different claims as to what inspired this, one of which being the pattern on the jockey’s coat, one thing is for sure. The diamond pattern gives it volume and shape.
While it is referred to as a handbag, it is technically a shoulder bag. We will get into why that is important in a little bit.
The shoulder straps are two chains that can be adjusted for either a shoulder wear or to put the bag across the body.
Later variations feature a double-chain with leather threaded through the eyelets. Nowadays it is more of a choice of the buyer or collector, however, the original design came with chain straps.
What inspired the design for the chains, is said to be the chains that the caretakers at the convent she grew up in, held their keys.
In overall look and shape, it is a rectangular-shaped bag, which comes in a variety of sizes, colors and details.
But, and this is very important, if you are looking for the original design of the bag, as created in the 1930s, three elements are what set this design apart from the more recent variations: the mademoiselle lock and all metal straps.
What is the mademoiselle lock? Glad you asked, since there seems to be some confusion about it.
Contrary to what you may have heard or might come across in the future, the CC lock is not what is referred to as the “mademoiselle lock”. Instead, this lock, which is also the original on the bag, is a rectangular lock, that opens with a twist.
And the name? If the only French you know is “Chanel”, “mademoiselle” means “miss”. The lock got the name because despite being in many relationships, Coco never married.
Why It Was Designed
At the time, the women of the higher classes carried their bags and purses in their hands.
When you were a socialite, trying to do many things at once, while remaining graceful and elegant, was of utmost importance. But, a bag that needs to be carried by hand at all times, can prove to be less than helpful.
To free the hands and provide a more comfortable, while also practical bag, Coco Chanel came up with shoulder straps in women’s bags. Until then, this was used in military bags for men and it was unheard of for women’s bags.
This is why this handbag holds such an important spot in the history of fashion.
Those that already own a Chanel 2.55 can go on and on about the incredible quality and craftsmanship put into creating this bag. The testing process is intensive and if the product excels through it, then and only then it is launched for purchase.
Just as a bit of trivia, the testing process is done by leaving the bag in a room at 60 ° Celsius (140F), with 95% humidity, for 72 hours.
If it can withstand 3 whole days in a damp and hot room, then the product is finished and the quality as it should be.
Interestingly, this is a method of testing that continues today, as Karl Lagerfeld kept it unchanged, in order to guarantee that the bag was of the highest quality.
A Look At The Space
The inside compartment under the front flap is zippered, for carrying a variety of belongings. For the romantic among you, it is said that this is where she kept her love letters.
On the back, there is the outside flap, which she used for keeping extra money.
This way, they were hidden and therefore protected. It is a valuable and nifty feature even in modern times, as pickpockets will find it impossible to get to the money.
Price And Worth
Chanel 2.55 is an expensive bag, priced just under $5000 at the moment. While to some it is crazy that you would spend that much money on a bag, this bag is an investment, if you look at its history.
No, not an investment because of its interesting history or an emotional investment, but a genuine financial investment.
Each year, the price for this bag increases by roughly 20-30%. In the 1950s it was sold for about $200 and look at what that price is now.
Despite the price, it is still one of the most sold-out bags. This is typical with iconic bags, but few sell like Chanel 2.55. A contributing factor to this is definitely the limited number launched each year, that provides less quantity in a high-demand market.
The original bag came in the size 9″ medium. Today, however, there are several sizes, from XS to Jumbo.
Another variation is also in style and patterns. Each collection that comes out, varies from the previous due to different patterns, colors and material. Some are made of lambskin, some of exotic skins, canvas and so on.
But, with each new collection, there is a limited amount of the original design launched, too, for those that prefer the classic style of the bag.
In 2005, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Chanel 2.55’s first release, the brand released Reissue 2.55.
These were exact copies of the original design for the most part. But there were also variations for both the chain shoulder straps, as well as the lock.
You can find this version in either the rectangular “mademoiselle” lock or the CC lock. The latter are referred to as Classic flaps.
Deservingly so, the Chanel 2.55 is referred to as the timeless bag. Even today, 60 years later, it is as stylish and elegant as it was back then.
It is a bag that provides practicality, while being versatile to wear with different outfits, ranging from casual ones, to red-carpet gowns.
And we have come to the end of our get-together. We hope you enjoyed yourself! Until next time!
Lastly, here is a nice infographic about the Chanel 2.55: