Secrets of Chanel in San Francisco
Karl Lagerfeld’s Drawing of the Chanel 2.55 Handbag

To highlight the superior craftsmanship of the Chanel handbag, the design house recently hosting “The Secrets of the Chanel Handbag,” in their San Francisco boutique.

The special exhibition took patrons through the construction of the iconic handbag and its progression over time.

Guests of the 156 Geary Street boutique were welcome to interact with a visual presentation that featured handbags from the Parisian archives, as well as peruse the latest collection of Classic Chanel handbags.

Coco Chanel with Her Handbag in 1957. Photo: Mike de Dulmen

Today, we take a look at this classic bag (termed the 2.55 handbag because it debuted in February 1955), and look forward to seeing you at the exhibit!

The bag is legendary for its top-stitched diamond-shaped quilting. Chanel’s inspiration for the quilted look were the jackets worn by stable lads at the racecourse she visited during her youth.

The rectangular “Mademoiselle lock” closure stood out in 1955 for its clean, pure styling. A few years later, another clasp stamped with a double C also made its appearance.

The interior features a burgundy-coloured lining, which Chanel is said to have chosen in memory of the colour of her orphan’s uniform during her time at the Aubazine Abbey.

The bag includes no fewer than seven pockets. The rounded rear pocket, nicknamed the “Mona Lisa smile”, can only be produced by the most skillful and experienced workers. The interior gusseted pockets are used to hold business cards or notebooks. The zipped pocket, otherwise known as “the secret pocket”, situated inside the flap is reserved for money and, according to Chanel, “love notes.” We should also not forget the clever little pocket in the middle, designed to hold a lipstick tube.

Rihanna with her Chanel Handbag

Now 55 years after its original creation, the handbag is still a must-have fashion item, and thanks to the endless inventiveness of Karl Lagerfeld, it’s available in a stunning variety of colors and materials, such as a recent version in ivory tweed and lambskin.

Chanel Fall 2010
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