Fashion Vintage

Vintage Advantage: the History of the Chanel 2.55

Chanel tas Designer Vintage marco okhuizen

By Karin Barnhoorn

Coco Chanel was a very busy woman. She quickly became frustrated with the tiny, ladylike handbags of her era, which rested in the crook of the elbow and held next to nothing. Because she couldn’t easily and quickly rummage in her handbag when she needed to, she decided to create a bag that could hang on her shoulders, to free up her hands.

In February 1955, Coco finally designed the bag she felt she most needed; one that is still an icon today: the 2.55, named after the month (February) and year (1955) of its founding.


Inspired by the iconic quilting of a jockey’s jacket, the flap bag was designed in soft leather with sturdy chain straps, which could be adjusted to create a long strap that could be hung low on the shoulder, or doubled to hang high enough to tuck under the arm. The original model has a double flap, burgundy leather on the inside and a  mademoiselle lock–so named in reference to the fact that Gabrielle was never married.  But there was certainly nothing amiss with her love life as the headstrong Coco even created a very small zipped pocket in the inner flap to hide her many love letters from the Duke of Westminister and other admirers from prying eyes. How romantic is that?


Today this model is still for sale, of course – under the name of Reissue 2.55 – and it’s arguably more popular than ever. I must confess that I am one of the lucky owners of a beige distressed leather Reissue, and it has been my favourite summer bag for years and years–even though it’s over a decade old now, it just seems to get better over time.


It was only in the 1980’s that the CC lock, as mostly seen on today’s flap bags, was introduced by the current Head Designer for the House of Chanel, Karl Lagerfeld. This has proven to be a favourite with celebrities such as Victoria Beckham and Charlotte Casiraghi, and it remains at the top of many a fashionista’s wish-list. Lagerfeld has also designed the bag in a variety of materials too, ranging from denim and PVC to tweed and sequins.

This bag is also a great investment, since Chanel increases the prices twice (!) a year by almost 9% each time. There is not only a waitlist at the Chanel Boutiques, but also on most online vintage platforms, oo.  Often it happens that when a vintage Chanel bag is posted online, you’ll see a sold banner appear within 5 minutes. The rarer the bag, the higher the price, quite often–sometimes, prices will far exceed whatever’s currently on offer new in the shops.


And no wonder: it it safe to state that investing in vintage Chanel flap bags gives more ROI than investing in the stock market these days. After years of vintage shopping, even the hearts of the most jaded vintage lover will skip a beat every time  a Chanel flap bag appears online. Oh, the temptation!

For more information, and to hunt for a vintage 2.55, please click here.  

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