Updated: Feb 21
Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel, a feminist fashion designer also known as the iconic Coco Chanel, was a French fashion designer, who founded the fashion house called after her on 1909. She was active until she passed away on 1971. Chanel was considered a pioneer in the fashion industry, and contributed to the feministic movement through her designs. She is known as the one who led to the concession of the corset as an essential fashion item, since she designed simple and comfortable clothes for the modern woman. This approach was very revolutionary at the time, and she is therefore, the only woman, to appear in the list of "100 influential people of the 20th century" issued by the Time Magazine.
Until the 1980's, when Karl Lagerfeld added the Chanel CC lock, The Chanel bags had the Mademoiselle lock - a simple rectangular swivel lock, with the word Chanel written on the bottom. Though it is hard to imagine now days a Chanel Bag without the CC logo, it was not there in the beginning, today, the old buckle returned, like many brands that appreciate their origins, Chanel went back to the vintage look (maybe one of the reasons is the endless attempts to copy the CC buckle)!
The Original Chanel 2.55
On 1929, Chanel designed her 1st bag, it was hand carried like all the bags of upper-class women, at that time. It took her 26 more years to design the iconic bag known as Chanel 2.55 – the name was inspired from the time it was designed in- February 1955. This bag was designed to be carried on the shoulder, and changed the history of bags. It allowed women for the 1st time, to carry their bag on their shoulder, a shoulder bag is so obvious to us now but, it did not exist back then!
When Chanel started designing this bag, she wanted it to be functional, so she thought about an envelope bag, with a double flap with a zipper pocket inside, intended for storing love letters or a blanc note. The inside part of the bag has 3 more pockets for storing important lady things like lipstick.
Since Chanel spent a part of her childhood in a convent orphanage, she chose the burgundy color for the lining, it reminded her of the uniforms color in the convent where she was raised. In order to give the bag some body, Chanelle invented the quilted diamond shape leather. It gives the bag it's puffiness, reminding of a warm blanket that you want to keep close to you. When she created it, she was inspired from the jackets worn by male stable hands, that she was particularly fond of. The early Chanel 2.55 had a double chain. Over the years, the story says that Chanel added a leather-filled straps. Today it's one of the markers of a Chanel bag. The modern version of this particular bag, today, has double chain strap.
What is between the classic double flap Chanel 2.55, and the Issued Karl Lagerfeld bag at 1980, and Reissued on 2005?
When classic Flap Chanel bags are mentioned, people refer to the CC lock bags issued by KL in the 1980s. They also refer sometimes to all Chanel bags with this classic structure. The 2.55 bag refers especially to the original design with the Mademoiselle (swivel lock, with the word Chanel written in the bottom). On 2005 KL reissued the classic 2.55, very similar to the original design. Often this term is used for all the 2.55 bags made since then. When you look at the Chanel website, you can find the reissued 2.55 made of lamb leather, and several fabrics as well, in many colors. It is still a very desirable bag! (see pictures from current Chanel website, previous paragraph)
Chanel 2.55 - Pricing.
The original 2.55 introduced in 1955, cost $220. In 2014, it reached $6000 and in 2020 it could be found for $7,100. (enclosed please find a chart from Yogi's closet)
The combination of luxury, attention to handmade details that last a life time, and a classic design, is manifested in the Chanel 2.55 Bag.
If you have one, you are lucky, and if it is a vintage bag, you are extremely lucky! Chanel bag is a family asset, it goes from mother to daughter, and it's a great investment. In my opinion, if you are so lucky to put your hands on one, just stick to it enjoy it, and hand it over to your daughter!
After saying that, I believe that a woman should buy quality bags, that will last for years. Not all will last for 50 years and you can pass them on to your daughter, but, if it's made of quality materials, and the work is a quality work, it will last for a long time, and age gracefully!
If you are interested in quality leather bags, you are most welcome to my bag shop! www.likamia.com/shop
Two colleagues of mine have an interesting blog. I would like to refer you to The Jeweler Irit Digmi who creates beautiful earrings. In this post she writes about How she keeps sanity in these challenging times you can find the post here and my friend the talented painter who adores Paris and tells the story about a visit to Chanel's 1st store in Paris. You can find the post here