With the upcoming release of the movie "Coco Avant Chanel" (Coco before Chanel) I thought this was appropriate...
The Chanel 2.55 handbag stands for pure luxury and is one of the few bags widely recognized by the general public. Introduced in February of 1955, because Coco Chanel was tired of losing handheld bags at society events in Paris. Inspired by her time spent in an orphanage as a child, Chanel created the chain straps as homage to the chains the caretakers would dangle keys from as entertainment for the children. The orphanage also inspired the interior color of the first edition bag, as the color was the same as the children’s uniforms. The coats jockeys wore inspired what is now the signature quilted leather. The signature “Mademoiselle” lock, a back pocket for extra money, and a secret hidden pocket in the front flap where it is rumored Chanel kept her love letters from her lover, the Nazi spy Hans Günter von Dincklage, are other examples of the innovations included.
When Karl Lagerfeld released the Reissue 2.55 in 2005, to commemorate its 50th anniversary, it was exactly as Chanel designed it in 1955. Other versions had been released in the 1980’s but with the new interlocking C clasp which has become an iconic item in itself. Lagerfeld’s mission to keep the icon that is the 2.55 alive has prompted numerous reincarnations in everything from metallic washed lambskin to oversized day bags. More recently, Lagerfeld partnered with Zaha Hadid to create a traveling art exhibition called “Mobile Art.”
It is more than a handbag now, it is a piece of iconography that transcends time and trends.