Chanel 2.55 is a handbag created in February 1955, where 2.55 comes from. It’s more than 60 years old now yet its elegance has never gone out of style.
The story behind Chanel 2.55 handbag
When 2.55 was made available in the market, it became the bag every fashion lover wanted probably because of style and story behind it. Coco Chanel spent her childhood in an orphanage run by nuns who taught her to sew. She designed her first handbag in 1929, causing a near scandal for sewing on a shoulder strap, considered lowbrow at the time. “I got fed up with holding my purses in my hands and losing them,” the ever-practical Chanel said. “So I added a strap and carried them over my shoulder.” Madame redesigned this bag late in her career (at 71), releasing it in February 1955—hence the name 2.55—and it became an instant hit.
This model is, however, also extremely important due to its iconic quilted leather, which is now synonymous with Chanel bags. Although there is no official reason behind this manufacturing detail, it is commonly thought to be in honor of Coco Chanel’s love of riding horses.
What Chanel aficionados say about 2.55 handbag?
As Chanel aficionados will tell you, the 2.55 is a very specific handbag, but the 2.55 has also become shorthand for any of Chanel’s so-called “classic flap” bags. And today, you’re as liable to see them on Park Avenue doyennes as on Hollywood starlets in white Ts and torn jeans. “Those bags elevate what you have on—they have the power to do that,” said Stellene Volandes, executive style director for Town & Country. The Chanel bag, she added, “means that you have taste, means you have money and that you got the bag everyone wanted.”
Modified and updated though they’ve been, the bags remain highly evocative of Chanel’s childhood—from the wine-red interior lining (an allusion to the color of orphanage uniforms) to the equestrian-style outer quilting (a reference to Chanel’s love of horses, or jockeys, or both). They also remain practical, which Volandes believes is a critical ingredient. “For a bag that was made in 1955, it is amazingly adaptable to modern technology,” she said. “You can fit sunglasses, a Kindle, makeup—it’s like a magic bag. The thing about Coco Chanel was she was wildly inventive, but very sensitive to a modern woman’s life and, amazingly, this bag still works.”