Demystifying Chanel 2.55

The Straits Times – Urban ran an article titled ‘Telling the difference’ on the Chanel 2.55.  Thought the writers did a fantastic job in demystifying the difference for the Chanel 2.55 and I thought it would be good to share with everyone this…

They all have the distinctive quilt patterning, boxy shape, and of course, the double-chain shoulder straps.  They are all Chanel’s signature flap-style handbags – but just which model they actually are can cause confusion, even among double-C devotees.  These days, everyone calls such bags the 2.55.

This was the name of the first version released in February 1955, hence its name.  Over the years, the 2.55 has become a loosely accepted umbrella term referring to three variations: timeless classic flap bags, reissue 2.55s and 2.55s.

The classic flap bag came after the original 2.55, being introduced only in the 1980s by designer Karl Lagerfeld.  Then in February 2005, Lagerfeld re-made the 2.55 that Coco Chanel first made in 1955, to commemorate the bag’s 50th anniversary.  All 2.55s made in 2005 came to be known as the 2.55 reissue.

The success of the 2.55 reissue led to the model being permanently reintroduced by Chanel after 2005 and all subsequent makes of the model are simply called the 2.55.  Here are three ways to distinguish the 2.55 and the timeless classic flap bag:

1. By lock

This may surprise some folks but the 2.55 original and the reissue do not have the famous ‘CC’ lock.  That was invented by Lagerfeld.  The lock they sport is a rectangular one called the “mademoiselle” which was the creation of Coco Chanel herself.  (In case you were wondering, she never married so that is why it is not named the “madame”).  The classic flap, on the other hand, does have the double-C on its lock.

2. By handle

The classic flap’s straps have leather interwoven between the chain links.  The modern-day 2.55 (made since 2005) has an all-chain strap.  Historically, 2.55s were made with both straps that had interwoven leather and full chain ones.

3.  By leather

The 2.55 uses distressed vintage calfskin.  The classic flap comes in “caviar” leather or lambskin which has a smooth appearance.

There you have it, the 2.55 demystified!  I am going to arm myself with this intel and strut into Chanel with confidence the next time round!

[Images courtesy of Chanel]

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