2.55 vs. Classic Flap vs. Chanel 2.55 Reissue: Everything You Need To Know
Coco Chanel was one of the most influential fashion designers in history. The Chanel 2.55 was her gift to stylish women worldwide. It was the first purse with a shoulder strap, making a statement that women of significant social standing were not just ornamental beings but busy people who needed their hands free to conduct their business throughout the day.
The iconic Chanel 2.55 has been reimagined and re-released several times. Let’s explore the top Chanel bags and consider the similarities and distinctions between the Chanel 2.55 vs. the Classic Flap bag. Then we’ll see how they compare to the 2.55 Reissue.
The Original Chanel 2.55 Bag
Coco Chanel was a magnificent rule-breaker whose risk-taking repeatedly redefined fashion in the twentieth century. She was not bound by tradition or social mores. When it came to her purse, she said, “I got fed up with holding my purses in my hands and losing them, so I added a strap.” Inspired by the strap on WWI soldiers’ packs, Chanel made practicality chic. The ground-breaking bag was launched in February 1955, hence the name: Chanel 2.55.
Every detail of the 2.55 Chanel bag was conceived to meet the modern woman’s needs while reflecting the life and style of Coco Chanel.
Original Chanel 2.55 Exterior
It wasn’t just the Chanel 2.55 strap that broke the fashion rules. Initially, Chanel scandalized society by making her new shoulder bags of jersey. At the time, the soft fabric was used only for making men’s underwear. Chanel was the first to use the comfortable material for women’s clothing and accessories. Ultimately, the 2.55 bag was crafted from supple lambskin and other leathers.
The Chanel 2.55 bag’s iconic, diamond-pattern quilting was inspired by the quilted jackets jockeys wore in Chanel’s youth. Each bag is meticulously sewn, with every diamond perfectly formed and matched across seams and the bag’s flap. The perfection of the diamond pattern and stitching is key to authenticating a Chanel bag.
The exterior flap on the Chanel 2.55 provides security for the essentials it carries and gives the bag its unique look.
Original Chanel 2.55 Interior
Every facet of the Chanel 2.55’s interior was designed for the busy woman on the go. The bag’s signature burgundy interior is the same color as the children’s uniforms Chanel once wore at the orphanage where she was raised. The color also provides a helpful contrast with a woman’s belongings, making them easy to spot in the bag’s dark confines. There are seven functional pockets, including one intended for lipstick. A zippered “secret pocket” on the underside of the interior flap is where Chanel stashed her love letters from international polo star Boy Capel.
The 2.55 Chanel bag's second internal flap provides an additional measure of security and modesty as it secures the contents. This interior flap snaps, lending the bag significant structural support, so it retains its shape even after years of wear.
Original Chanel 2.55 Hardware
The metal hardware of the Chanel 2.55 lends sparkle to the quilted leather, like fine jewelry for an ensemble. The revolutionary shoulder strap was made from a metal chain fashioned to resemble the chain the orphanage’s caretakers used to carry keys in Chanel’s youth.
The metal clasp was called the Mademoiselle lock, paying homage to the fact that Chanel never married. She is said to have responded to a marriage proposal from the Duke of Westminster by saying, “There are many duchesses, but there is only one Coco Chanel.”
The original 2.55 bag made fashion history over 65 years ago. In 1984, it was updated by the design house’s legendary creative director, Karl Lagerfeld. So, let’s consider the Chanel 2.55 vs. his Classic Flap bag.
The Chanel Classic Flap Bag
The Chanel Classic Flap bag was first introduced when Karl Lagerfeld was appointed Artistic Director at Chanel in the early 1980s. His vision updated the storied Chanel 2.55 in four key ways. First, he replaced the Mademoiselle lock with a turnlock fashioned after the company’s iconic Double C logo, a play on Chanel’s initials. He also added a strip of leather matching the bag, interwoven in the chain shoulder strap. Adding leather to the chain strap made the bag more versatile rather than strictly dressy. Still well suited to evening wear, the Classic Flap bag can be dressed up or down. And some Classic Flap bags were offered with quilted chevron stitching instead of the classic diamond pattern.
These innovations are reflected in the Classic Flap bag today and are key for distinguishing a 2.55 vs. a Classic Flap bag. If the lock is a double C, the strap is leather and chain, and the bag has diamond or chevron stitching, it is a Chanel Classic Flap bag. It remains the brand’s quintessential bag and is an excellent addition to any woman’s wardrobe.
Chanel Classic Flap Bag: Single or Double Flap?
But what of the fourth change introduced by Lagerfeld? Unlike the 2.55, the Classic Flap bag was initially offered with only a single flap to make it lighter in weight and able to hold a bit more. Although this design feature is not readily visible, it significantly affects the bag’s structure. The inner flap effectively improves the bag’s ability to hold its shape over decades of use. When this became apparent, the Classic Flap bag was updated with an option of a single or double flap.
Today, the Chanel Classic Flap is available in seven sizes: Extra Mini (6.7” x 3.9” x 3”), Mini Square (6.5” x 5” x 2.5”), Mini Rectangle (8” x 5” x 2”), Small (9.3” x 5.7” x 2.6”), Medium (10” x 6.3” x 3”), Jumbo (11.8” x 7.9” x 3.9”), Maxi (13.4” x 9.1” x 3.9”).
Chanel 2.55 Reissue
In 2005, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the 2.55 bag, Karl Lagerfeld released the Chanel 2.55 Reissue. This bag commemorates and reproduces the original qualities of the 2.55 bag. It was introduced in a distressed lambskin with the iconic diamond pattern quilting. When studying the Chanel 2.55 Reissue vs. the Classic Flap bag, it’s easy to note the differences. The distressed leather conveys the impression of a well-worn and beloved original, the shoulder strap is made like the original all-metal 2.55 chain, and the Mademoiselle lock is featured. The Chanel 2.55 Reissue is always a double-flap bag.
Embrace Fashion History with a Chanel Flap Bag
Today, both the Chanel Classic Flap and the Chanel 2.55 Reissue bags are available to complete your every ensemble. Each features the innovation and meticulous quality that made the original so beloved by fashionable women worldwide. Madison Avenue Couture is your trusted dealer for authentic Chanel bags and accessories.