Like I promised in an earlier article, here is the story of Chanel Reissue 2.55 handbag.
It caught my attention because I’m very fond of things that have their little piece of history. It makes them sort of ‘alive’ with a personality of their own (one of the reasons I’m a vintage hunter myself).
Here it comes:
The 2.55 handbag bears that particular name simply because it was originally issued in February 1955. Her features have all a piece of tale to tell. From the inside out:
• The lining – The lining’s burgundy color represents the color of the uniforms from the convent where she grew up.
• The inside compartment – there’s a zippered compartment on the inside of the front flap. That’s where Coco Chanel hid her love letters (from her lover at the time).
• The backside – there’s a back outside flap on the handbag – that’s where Mademoiselle Chanel stashed extra money.
• The shoulder strap – as I said before, Coco Chanel grew up in an convent, at the orphanage. The caretakers hold the keys at their waist dangling from the same type of chains as the 2.55 shoulder strap chains.
• The front lock – the 2.55 front lock is different from the classic double CC logo. Its logo is called “the Mademoiselle Lock” (because Coco Chanel was never married)
Karl Lagerfeld who took over Chanel in 1983 reissued the 2.55 in February 2005. His version is the exactly the one designed by Coco Chanel back in 1955.
The Reissue was made in commemoration to the 50th anniversary of the original 2.55 and the name “Reissue 2.55” should apply only to those commemorative handbags.
Instead, it’s commonly used now as a name for all the handbags resembling the original 2.55. As for those with CC interlocking, they’re called Classic Flaps.
Loved it too? When I’ll come across stories like that, I’ll share them with you!
Many legends circulate on the subject of the Chanel 2.55, sifting through them and discerning which is which can be both fun and disconcerting: they say that Coco Chanel wanted to ease the high society’s ladies life by freeing their hands with shoulder hanged bags. It’s said that although common for the working class, the luxury circles dames had to carry their bags in their hands and not practically hanging from their shoulders. Carrying a bag can be a difficult task when you’re joggling champagne glasses, theater fliers and tasty canapés.
Chained straps were added to the Chanel bag in question, with interwoven leather as the legend goes that Coco didn’t have too many resources on her hands at the time. Her childhood convent memories were braided with the design inspiration from ailleurs as the now-iconic quilted upper of the handbag is reminiscent of the jockeys jacket (Coco was a big fan of horse racings).
Chanel 2.55 making process
they say that only a woman artisan can give the right shape to the Chanel 2.55 bag and after the making, the quality control process is an unbelievable succession of tests kept unchanged by Lagerfeld. The color, attachments, stitching, and wear resistance, UV and cracking resistance, waterproofing are carefully inspected. Resistance to heat and humidity are tested by placing the bag for a 72 hours period in a room with 95% humidity and 140F/60℃.
Chanel 2.55 label
aside from the style code of the bag (the 2.55 Reissue size 226 style code is A37587 while the 227 size has another style code A37590), the label has three more characters like in the picture below standing from the season (A – for autumn or ‘automne’, S – for summer, P – for spring or ‘printemps’, C – for cruise) and two numbers for the year of the making (the example picture below reads 09P which means that the bag was made for the 2009 Spring collection).
Chanel 2.55 price
the iconic status of the Chanel 2.55 bag is also visible from the price tag. Over the last 5 years, the prices have doubled and they’re subject to bi-annual increases. The label above should give you a hint about the cost of a legend.
See also: $10,000 Chanel clutch, a Star Favorite!
UPDATE: For an easy visual reference of the main differences existing between the Chanel Classic Bag and the Chanel 2.55 Reissue Bag, I put together a simple infographic with the data and the respective images of the two handbags.
An actual vintage Chanel 2.55 bag as designed by Gabrielle Coco Chanel in the early 1930s (as seen below) should have these exact references. Be aware that most sellers and/or fashion media outlets have their stories mixed up and don’t always know the real facts. Be sure to check twice before making such an iconic purchase!