The Chanel brand has always been associated with classic, timeless elegance. To this day, a Chanel handbag remains one of the most recognized and respected accessories in the world.
Mademoiselle Chanel designed her accessories to be both practical and sensible, and to her accessories signified the true emblem of luxury and elegance. In the 1920’s, Coco Chanel became tired of having to carry her handbags in her arms and decided to update her handbag, for the modern woman. The resulting design was called 2.55 after the date of creation, February 1955.
From the very beginning, Coco Chanel strove for functionality. For this reason, the bag features a double flap with a zip-fastened pocket intended as a secret place for storing a love letter. On the inside of the bag there are three bellow pockets, meant to store a lady’s necessities like lipstick and perfume.
The bag has a quilted diamond or herringbone pattern on the exterior. Using a running stitch, this gives the bag shape and volume. The pattern is believed to have been inspired by several sources: by jockeys’ riding coats, the stained-glass windows of the abbey at Aubazine, as well as by the cushions in Chanel’s Paris apartment. The original 2.55 is lined in a burgundy color which represents the color of the uniform she wore growing up in an orphanage. The famous double C emblem, (“Coco Chanel”) is stitched on the inside flap like a coat of arms. The bag originally came with a front lock called “the Mademoiselle Lock” (in reference to Coco Chanel never marrying). Since the 1980s, versions can also be supplied with a lock in the shape of the double C logo. Both the iconic rectangular clasp that is gilted with gold and the famous leather and chain shoulder strap had never been seen on a handbag before Coco Chanel added them.
Since it’s introduction, there have been several variations of the original design including different colors, leather/fabric combinations, metal and interwoven leather straps and the lock, mademoiselle vs. interlocking CC. Chanel released an exact copy of the original 2.55 in February 2005 in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the creation of the original. Though the name “Reissue 2.55” should apply only to those commemorative handbags it is now commonly used now as a name for all the handbags resembling the original 2.55.