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Chanel 2.55 vs. Classic Flap vs. Chanel 2.55 Reissue: Everything You Need To Know

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One could say that the Chanel 2.55 is the eighth (fashion) world wonder. Why? Because it is a work of art, making it undoubtedly the most famous accessory in fashion history. But what makes the 2.55 It-bag so unique? Here are some fascinating facts about the surprising past of the bag and Gabrielle’s personal influence on it. Text by Isabella Tombinski-Robb

The original Chanel 2.55 

A rectangular shape made of quilted leather, with an all-chain strap and the mademoiselle lock  – these are the most popular characteristics to identify the original Chanel 2.55 bag. It was designed by Gabrielle Chanel herself in February 1955, at the age of 71. It wasn’t one of her first designs, but it was the creation that dominated the fashion scene for many years to come. The name of the accessory refers to the date and year the bag was created – a wonderful number combination that still hasn’t lost its spark until today. 

What was the inspiration behind the Chanel 2.55?

To understand why the Chanel 2.55 bag has increased in value in the past +60 years, one has to look at the handbag designs of the late 18th century. Handbags at that time were designed for the elite, the wealthy and mainly society ladies. The shape was boxy, neoclassical, lacked in feminine silhouettes and didn’t allow women to walk hands-free. They were carried either on the crook of a woman’s arm or with both hands. It was one of the many reasons why Gabrielle was so eager to design a bag that could be better – classy, lightweight yet easy to carry around. 

Chanel 2.55 characteristics

The exterior

It is no secret that the 2.55’s elements have their roots in Gabrielle Chanel’s humble beginnings. Before its big debut in 1955, the bag’s previous version, worn by the designer since the 1920s, was initially made of quilted wool. Gabrielle was always known for being very fond of equestrian sports and attended horse races frequently. It is where she took inspiration for the exterior of the 2.55 – specifically jockey jackets and saddle blankets, to make up the soft silhouette. However, for the official debut in February 1955, she opted for firmer materials, primarily black quilted leather with a diamond and herringbone pattern. It proved to be a timeless material that would suit its wearer’s style and taste, no matter the occasion. 

The Chanel 2.55 comes in both diamond- and Chevron-quilted leather.

The interior

The interior of the traditional Chanel 2.55 unveils the true charm of the It-bag. It is inspired by Coco Chanel’s memories, mainly the convent orphanage where she was raised. 

Chanel 2.55 224 Lamb Dark Red

The traditional 2.55 is widely known as a double flap bag, meaning it consists of an exterior flap and interior flap, plus a spacious compartment. The interior of the bag features a subtle burgundy red, inspired by Gabrielle’s Catholic school uniform. Another surprising little secret awaits on the inside of the front flap – a zip pocket that was added by Gabrielle to store secret love letters.

The Mademoiselle Lock

Many believe that the interlocked CC closure had been the original hardware since its debut in 1955. However, it wasn’t until the 1980s, that Karl Lagerfeld added the signature CC closure. The traditional lock of the Chanel 2.55 is known as the ‘Mademoiselle Lock’, an elegant rectangular clasp, referring to the fact that the female designer never married. 

Chanel 2.55 vs Timeless Flap Bag
(1) The Chanel 2.55 ‘Mademoiselle Lock’ (2) Karl Lagerfeld’s CC closure

Chanel 2.55 Reissue  

The Reissue is a recreation of the classic Chanel 2.55 from 1955 by Karl Lagerfeld. This term is mainly used to describe the models that were launched as part of the 50th anniversary of the brand in 2005. The Reissue commemorates the original and features the same details as the original bag, like the iconic Mademoiselle Lock and an all-metal chain strap.  

However, since the launch of the 2.55 in 1955, newer models of the It-bag were released, featuring many variations to the iconic design. This includes everything from fabric to change of the chain strap and closure. It has often caused confusion among Chanel fans. 

Chanel 2.55 Handbag Tweed Pink
A Fall/Winter 2014 square Chanel 2.55 bag made from pink Tweed

Double Flap vs. Single Flap

The Chanel 2.55 classifies as a double flap bag. The same can be applied to Classic Flaps and the Reissue model. However, there was a time when 2.55 bags featured a single flap – with only the exterior flap closure and a spacious single compartment. They were discontinued in 2014, as they were being seen as deviating from the original. Since then, the double flap has become a standard element and a must-have feature in Chanel bags.  

Chanel 2.55 vs. Classic Flap vs. Chanel 2.55 Reissue 

Here are some of the most significant differences to look out for:

Chanel 2.55 (since 1955)

  • Has the iconic Mademoiselle Lock
  • Features the signature all-metal-chain 
  • consists of exterior and interior flap compartment, classified as double flap
Chanel 2.55 Reissue 225 Lamb Rose Handbag Silver Mademoiselle Lock
Chanel 2.55 225 Lamb Rose

Classic Flaps (introduced since 1983)

  • Feature the popular CC turn-lock that was designed by Lagerfeld
  • The leather-interwoven chain strap 
  • Caviar or lambskin leather as exterior
  • Also classify as double flaps

 Chanel 2.55 Reissue (only models released in 2005)

  • Has the iconic Mademoiselle Lock
  • Features the signature all-metal-chain 
  • Has a double flap except the Jumbo Classic models
  • Aged Calfskin leather, with a vintage appearance

Read on if you want to learn more about how to look after your Chanel bag in our CARE GUIDE.

What Chanel bag have you set your sights on? Let us know what’s on your WISHLIST, and we’ll take care of it.


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