Fashion & Travel Blog

Friday, 27 February 2015

The History of the Chanel 2.55 bag

Worn on the arms of the rich and famous, the Chanel 2.55 is one of the most iconic designer bags in the world. It is one of the most timeless accessories a lady could ever own. The Chanel 2.55 is the epitome of pure luxury and is one of the few designer bags in the world that is recognisable by the general public. Because of the Chanel 2.55's popularity it inspired many fakes or imitations. However Coco Chanel did not get angry over this but instead took it as flattery “I would shed tears the day no one copied me.”


The Chanel 2.55 bag gets its name from its launch date, February 1955. In 1955 the bag didn't look the same as it is today. The bag that many of us think of today is the bag that Karl Lagerfeld redesigned in the 1980's. The bags feature the same shape however the chain and clasps differ. The original Chanel 2.55 featured a rectangular lock, called the Mademoiselle lock (because Coco Chanel never married). The new Chanel 2.55 features the now legendary CC lock. Karl Lagerfeld also changed the chain in the 80's by adding leather that is threaded through the chain. The original bag also had a secret pocket behind the flap where it is rumoured Chanel kept her love letters from her lover, the Nazi spy Hans G√ľnter von Dincklage. In 2005 Karl Lagerfeld reissued the original 2.55 bag from 1955 to commemorate the bag's 50th anniversary.
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The original Chanel 2.55

A 1980's Chanel 2.55

The Chanel 2.55 bag is inspired by Chanel's time spent in an orphanage. The red/brown colour of the interior of the bag is the same colour as the uniform Chanel would have worn. Chanel's interested in horse racing also influenced the bag. The signature quilted leather is inspired by the jackets worn by the jockeys.

The Chanel 2.55 bag was one of the most revolutionary bags of its time due to the introduction of a chain strap, enabling women to carry their purse on their arm instead of in their hand  Coco Chanel was tired of carrying her own handbag and often losing bags at theatres, fashion shows and events. So she added the long chain strap. The double chain is another playful nod to her life in the orphanage. The caretakers would dangle keys from similar chains for the children to play with.

The Chanel 2.55 bag still remains today the it bag that it was in 1955. It has been worn by everyone from Grace Kelly to Olivia Palermo. The Chanel 2.55 is now more than a handbag, it is an Icon.

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