2.55 Chanel bag – quilted classic

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The legendary 2.55 Chanel bag – symbol of elegance and good taste, but also one of the most iconic female accessories of all times. It is also an object of desire of millions of women around the world. What makes this bag so constantly desired by so many women? Let us take a closer look at the history of this black quilted bag, which took the fashion world by storm and for decades belongs to one of the most commonly bought luxury accessories.

Coco Chanel reissue 255 flap bag torebka

source: zanita.com

History of creation

We wrote about ‘Coco’ Chanel’s history and the revolution she brought to the world of fashion in this article. The second World War forced Chanel to close her fashion house. But in 1954, when she was 71-year-old, she managed to come back in triumph. She proposed her clients a new design – black quilted bag with metal details, hanging on a chain. Its premiere took place in February of 1955 and immediately took the fashion world by storm.

The concept of 2.55 Chanel bag was born three decades earlier, in 1929, from need of having a bag that would fit the contemporaneous women. Chanel, as a modern and active woman, valued comfort the most, which was hard to obtain while having your hands occupied with carrying a bag. Back then, women were wearing small clutch bags or bigger bags with very short handles. Gabrielle Chanel, inspired by soldiers’ backpacks, designed something that quickly gained its deserved popularity. Practical, but at the same time stylish element – the chain, due to which it was possible to hang the bag on a shoulder, revolutionised the fashion market. This model very rapidly gained popularity and turned out to be the perfect capstone of the fashion house’s work renewal, becoming its flagship product along the Chanel N°5 perfume. The bag worn since the 1920s’ by its designer, initially was made from woolen fabric. However, from fer official premiere in 1955, the material for its production has been changed for soft quilted leather.

This quilting is considered to be very classic, composing little rhombuses. Probably, the source of inspiration were the horse riders’ jackets. Chanel was very well acquainted with aristocracy and upper classes, which had enormous influence on her love for horse riding.

torebka 255 chanel bag reissue

source: chanel.com

Coco Chanel liked naming her designs logically. In case of the 2.55 Chanel bag the name is derived from the date of its creation, in the case of perfumes Chanel N° 5, the name is derived from a blind shot in which the perfumer and the designer’s friend – Ernest Beaux, presented Chanel five aromatic compositions from which she chose the last one, fifth sample.

chanel 2.55 reissue bag

source: chanel.com

Every characteristic of the timeless 2.55 bag model, starting from the lining, and ending on the chain, has something to do with the designer’s life. The rumour has it, that the chain on which the bag is hanging, was inspired by the chains on which nuns, from the orphanage in which the designer grew up, were wearing their keys. Also, the burgundy lining is connected to Coco’s staying at the nuns’ because it refers to the uniforms’ colours worn in the nunnery.

Mademoiselle Chanel used to say that the bag’s inside should be just as beautiful as it’s outer appearance. There is always a special zipped compartment on the inside of the front flap. There is an interesting history about its creation too – Chanel in her own bag stored her love letters in the exact same place. There are also three other pockets inside – one for a lipstick, without which Chanel never showed publicly. On the outer back surface of the bag, there is a pocket designed for storing money.

chanel 2.55 bag reissue inside

źródło: chanel.com

Process of creation

The quilting stitch is pretty dense – the standard is ten or more spikes of the needle for one inch, which makes the rhombuses not very convex and not look too pumped. There is an embroidered logo on the inside, and below that there is a stamp with name. There is also a made in France or made in Italy caption on the inside, according to the model and year of production. The colouring of the stamp should be identical to colour of the metal used in the particular model’s production.


source: academyawards-2012.blogspot.com

Time of production of one bag is 10-18 hours and from 6 to 15 people take part in it. Only skillful artist are allowed to participate in this process, artists who worked for the Chanel fashion house for more than five years. This bag composes 60 elements, which are put together both manually and automatically. Three lambskins are used to produce each bag, because only their most delicate parts are selected. In each bag the inside is created as first, which later on is turned inside-out. It is said that only a crafswoman can properly shape the Chanel 2.55 bag, because its creation requires precision and is an extremely tiring process.

After a long process of creation, each bag has to undergo a thorough quality control. An unbelievable series of tests is held on a constant level for many years now. Colour, details and stitches are being checked for their usage, UV radiation, fractures, and water. Durability and resistance to high temperatures and humidity are tested by putting the bag in a room of 95% humidity and 60° C temperature for 72 hours. The bags are currently quilted in two ways: diamond and herringbone. Available in four sizes: small, medium/large, jumbo and maxi.


source: reachcouture.com

Anniversary and new face of the bag

In 1983, Karl Lagerfeld became the head of Chanel, and he decided to refresh the quilted bag’s appearance. It was then when the iconic 2.55 sister’s premiere took place. In the original design, the 2.55 bag had a rectangular fastening, which currently is called “the Mademoiselle Lock” (referring to the fact that Coco never got married). In the new version, the bag became fastened with double crossed “C” letters, and the chain was interwoven with leather. Since then, only the model with CC fastening had been produced for many years.

chanel cc lock classic flap bag torebka

source: chanel.com

chanel 2.55 bag quilted cc lock

source: bagshopvips.com

In February 2005, wanting to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the bag, Karl Lagerfeld presented a renewed edition of 2.55. Version from 2005 is en exact copy of the model from 1955 along with “the Mademoiselle Lock” rectangular fastening.

Since then, Chanel boutiques offer two models of the iconic bag: “Classic Flap Style” with CC fastening and chain interwoven with leather and the classic 2.55 known as “Chanel Reissue 2.55” with the original “Mademoiselle” fastening and chain wholly made of metal. Despite the name “Reissue 2.55”, the initial bag’s name 2.55 is commonly used.

chanel cc lock flap bag 255

source: pursebop.com

In 2015 in order to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the iconic model creation, the bags museum in Amsterdam – Tassenmuseum Hendrikje, organised a temporal exhibition called “Happy Birthday Chanel! 60 years of the 2.55” during which selected models of the bag were shown, presenting their history and influence they had on the fashion world.

Since the bag creation, the Chanel fashion house released contless number of models in new colours and patterns, designed from various materials, being variations of the original model.

The quilting became a timeless identification of the brand – Chanel offers quilted wallets, sachets, bags of various shapes and colours, and recently also backpacks.

chanel bag 2.55 flap limited

source (from left right corner): lechodraui.com, portero.com, 1stdibs.com, portero.com

What has not changed in the bag up until this day and what most certainly will never change is that 2.55 was and is a symbol of elegance and sophistication, simutaneously being a versatile accessory that may suit every outfit. Trends come and go, but the 2.55 Chanel bag stays an undoubted and timeless classic. Its value is greater with each year, and popularity just the same as it was back in 1955. During the past 5-6 years, the 2.55 bag doubled its price, and many happy owners treat it as way more than just a clothing element. For many it has a collector’s value and stands for a good investment.

Regardless of the type of fastening or chain, Chanel bags and their history still steal women’s heart from all over the world. One of Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel’s biggest dream, for all the world to wear her designs, became true.

2.55 flap chanel bag limited

source: spottybags.com, purseblog.com