A History of the Chanel 2.55 Bag

Easily considered to be one of the most classically beautiful bags to wear today, the Chanel 2.55 or classic flap as it is sometimes called, is one of our absolute favorite styles at The Vintage Contessa. The beauty of the bag lies in its total versatility, whether you wear it over your shoulder with jeans and a T shirt, or as an evening bag paired with a classic black dress for a night time soiree. 

The 2.55 was first conceived in the 1920s when Coco Chanel grew bored of  having to carry her bag in her hands. At the time it was considered to be lower class to carry a bag over your shoulder, however never one to follow the rules, Coco rethought this and developed a new shoulder bag style.

In 1929 she brought to market a bag with thin long straps inspired by the straps used on the bags carried by soldiers. Twenty six years later she re-worked the bag and in February 1955 (the provenance of the name 2.55) the classic 2.55 bag that we know today was born.

Since then the bag has gone through some evolutions. Varying fabrications have been used, the chain has differed over time, and in the 1980s Karl Lagerfeld introduced the double CC lock. However throughout all of these tweaks the bag has stayed essentially true to itself, becoming one of the most classic fashion pieces of our time. You can find over twenty classic double flaps and 2.55 bags in our store now. Happy Shopping!

Some fun Chanel 2.55 facts…

Each and every aspect of the bag was designed by Coco with a memory, story or specific use in mind.

The burgundy lining of the bag is the same color as the uniforms worn by the orphans in the orphanage that Coco grew up in.

The zippered compartment inside the inner front flap is believed to be a place to hide love letters. Coco is said to have hid hers inside the flap of her own bag.

The exterior pocket is specifically for carrying money in. 

The long straps on the bag were first inspired by the straps on soldiers bags. However when the woven strap was introduced in 1955 the design behind it was credited to the keychains that the caretakers at the convent used to carry around their waist.

The quilted diamond pattern that is woven on the exterior of the bag gives it it’s shape and volume and is crafted with a running stitch. The inspiration for the design has been credited to the uniforms  worn by jockeys, the cushions in Coco’s apartment and also the stained glass windows of the abbey at Aubazine.

The original lock was known as the ‘Mademoiselle lock’ so called due to Coco Chanel’s unmarried status. Karl Lagerfeld introduced the double CC lock in the 1980s, and bags with this style are called the classic flap style.

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