Iconic Bags Countdown #2: Chanel 2.55
As Christmas marches ever closer, the bags in our countdown just keep getting even more special, and few styles have been as universally worn, loved, coveted and copied than the Chanel 2.55 flap bag. Here's a little bit of info on how the bag came to be and what we think makes it great.
Handbag History: The 2.55 is a bag bursting with history and nice little factoids for the true handbag nerd! There are also a fair few myths surrounding this bag's creation, so we'll do our best to stick to reputable sources here, and filter out anything that sounds like an urban myth.
So called because it was released in February of 1955, the 2.55 is very much a bag designed for women by a woman: its long strap came about after Coco Chanel grew tired of having to carry her handbags in her hand and wanted to free them up by use of a strap. This 'feminist' approach to handbag design is still commented on when designers bring out cross-body handsfree bags today, so in this respect Coco Chanel was hugely ahead of her time.
The bag is also said to be heavily influenced by motifs relating to Coco Chanel's childhood. The lining's burgundy colour represents the colour of the uniforms at the convent where she grew up, and the zip compartment inside the front flap of every 2.55 is rumoured to be where the young Chanel stashed away her love letters.
The interwoven metallic and leather strap was said to have been inspired by military equipment, while the quilting that has now become so strongly associated with Chanel was originally inspired by the coats worn by jockeys! While that seems like an odd connection nowadays, it's worth remembering that equestrian styling and handbags have long shared a connection (cf. Dior saddle bag and most high-end bags made before the '30s!)
In Our View: Possibly the most ladylike and elegant bag ever made, the 2.55 is a highly wearable piece that lends the owner instant sophistication and poise. It has become synonymous with the legend that was Coco Chanel and can be regarded as one of her most defining pieces. Despite its innate 'smartness' the bag can be dressed up or down and works for all kinds of occasions.
Celeb Fans: Lily Allen, Tara Palmer-Tomkinson, Colleen Rooney, Alanis Morisette, Chantelle Houghton, Miley Cyrus, Hilary Duff, Abigail Clancey, Heidi Montag, Katy Perry, Penelope Cruz, Tila Tequila, Holly Valance, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Lady Gaga, Sienna Miller, Thandie Newton, Kate Moss, Nicola Roberts, Alexa Chung, Keira Knightley, Kelly Osbourne, Ashley Tisdale, Cameron Diaz, Victoria Beckham, Nadine Coyle, Christina Ricci
Get the Look: The 2.55 is sold from around £1,700 either direct from Chenel or at various outlets including Selfridges or Farfetch online. and other high-end stores.