Unflappable - The Story Behind Chanel's Magnificent Flap Bag

Posted: Sep 29 2016

 

We love the nostalgia of classic handbags and Coco Chanel’s Flap Bag may have the most fascinating history of all.  It began in 1929 when Chanel added a shoulder strap to one of her first handbag creations.  At that time, it was considered “unfeminine” for a woman to carry a bag on her shoulder.  Women were expected to carry handheld bags.  But, Chanel saw how impractical that rule was for women and created a stylish solution to the problem.  She simultaneously broke down a gender barrier, something she would continue to do with her designs throughout her career.  She was quoted as saying “luxury must be comfortable, otherwise it is not luxury.” 

This original handbag design later became the 2.55 Flap Bag when Chanel redesigned and released it in February 1955. (Hence the moniker 2.55.)  The expensive leather material and functional metal straps were unlike anything seen before in fashion.  It became an instant classic.

Through the years, the Flap Bag has undergone minor style variations to reflect current fashion trends.  But, the luxurious look and feel of this bag has never changed.  It is as timeless as Chanel herself!

5 Interesting Facts about the Flap Bag

 

1)  Although the interlocking CC closure is now the most famous feature of the Flap Bag, it was not part of the original 1955 design.  Karl Lagerfeld added the interlocking CCs to the bag in the 1980s.  Chanel’s original design included a Mademoiselle lock. Mademoiselle indicated the marital status of Chanel.  She never married.

 

 

 

2)  The burgundy lining in the 2.55 Flap Bag was actually inspired by a sad chapter in Chanel’s life.  She chose a shade of burgundy that matched the color of the uniform she wore in the orphanage where she was raised.  Biographies of Chanel reveal how desperately she wanted to erase that part of her life.  But, it must have stayed with her despite all of her success.

 

 

3)  Chanel's signature quilting was supposedly inspired by the riding coats of the male jockeys she knew. (We did say that this bag had an interesting history…)  Chanel’s quilting is one of the easiest ways to confirm an authentic Chanel handbag.  It will always perfectly align across the bag, including along the exterior back pocket.  The two most popular materials for Flap Bags are Caviar leather and Lambskin leather.

 

 

4)  References to Chanel Flap Bags can be confusing.  The 2.55 Bag refers specifically to Coco Chanel's original design with the Mademoiselle Lock.  The Classic Flap refers to the Flap Bags with CC locks that Karl Lagerfeld debuted in the 1980s.  To make things more confusing, Chanel released a “Reissue” 2.55 Flap Bag in February 2005 in honor of the 50th anniversary of the original creation.  It is an exact recreation of the original.  Basically, the title “Flap Bag” can be used for any of the above designs.

 

 

5)  Although a Chanel bag is considered a luxury item, it is also an excellent investment.  In 1955, the 2.55 Flap Bag sold for $220.  Today, a new Flap Bag costs over $3,000.

 

 

To learn more about the influential designer Coco Chanel, we recommend reading the biography Chanel:  A Woman of Her Own by Axel Madsen.

You can shop authentic Chanel in our store: www.princeandpark.com

 Photos Via Chanel