VINTAGE COLUMN: CHANEL 2.55 BAG
Welcome back to our Vintage Colum. Today we close the chapter about the iconic bags of the great Maisons!
Last but not least… The Chanel 2.55 Bag! The Queen of all It Bags!
It’s an evergreen icon. A reccurent dream for every generation, ever since Mademoiselle Coco created it.
The acronym 2.55 is a short way to write the time in which this model was first released (February 1955), but the inspiration came way before.
It was during the 20s and women used to carry handbags, shoulder bags were “for men” and for soldiers. Think about how uncomfortable that must have been! Coco Chanel couldn’t stand feeling uncomfortable: she wanted to be free and independent.
That’s why in 1955 the first Chanel 2.55 appeared, created according to this principle: a functional model, elegant but comfortable, that leaves the hands free, for an active, independent woman.
The first model were made of jersey, then came the ones in soft lamb.
In creating it, Mademoiselle Coco took inspiration from her daily life:
The surface is in reversed leather, stitched with the classic rhombus matelassè pattern. This pattern is taken from the cushions Coco had in her flat.
The inside of the bag is in calf leather, a harder kind of leather that keeps the shape. The color is bordeaux and it was chosen in memory of the uniforms Coco and her sister wore in the orphanage where they lived as children.
The shoulder strap is a chain and this, too, is to remember the stylist’s childhood: it’s inspired to the keychain of the keepers of the orphanage.
Another innovative element of this bag are the pockets: seven, to be precise. The first is on the back and it’s round like Mona Lisa’s smile and that’s how it’s called. The others are in the inside, conceived for cards, business cards and powder holders. One is specifically designed for the lipstick, one is “secret“, closed by a zip and then there are two larger ones, for letters and documents. Back in those years, Coco Chanel already enviosioned a free and modern woman, just like she was!
This bag is still one of the symbols of the Maison and of contemporary luxury and that’s why it’s iconic: despite the constant change of trends and fashion, this model remains extremely modern and sought after. It’s not by chance that Chanel 2.55 arrived almost unchanged to our days. Yes, during the 80s Karl Lagerfeld came to freshen it up a little with the two legendary crossed Cs on the buckle and the strip of leather in the chain.
In 2005, to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of this bag, Lagerfeld proposed a 2.55 identical to the one designed by Coco Chanel in 1955, with the name of 2.55 Reissue. The traditional lines of the bag were presented in several styles, colors and materials.
Chanel 2.55 is still handcrafted. It’s not produced in series, each piece is compared to an atelier piece!
Who knows if, while designing the 2.55, Coco Chanel could foresee the impact of this bag in the years to come!