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Guide to Chanel Classics

Guide to Chanel Classics

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Close your eyes and think of the most popular and prestigious fashion houses with legions of collectors coveting their handbags. Chances are, Chanel is probably on that mental list you’ve just made. 


With a solid history in defining many of fashion’s most important pop culture moments and longstaying trends, Chanel has continued to evolve through the years in giving the modern woman exactly what she wants in a bag. From the days of Coco Chanel to the legendary era of having Karl Lagerfeld at the helm, the fashion house has kept itself synonymous with being the ultimate status symbol for many; its handbags serving as a sought-after fashion statement to be attained, and eventually passed down to the ones we love.


Chanel’s most iconic handbags have without a doubt stood the test of time in the most graceful fashion, with its Classic Flap bags being widely touted as an investment purchase with great staying power in terms of its value. 


Before we dive in deeper into exploring the fashion house’s many classic bags, like the Boy Bag and the Gabrielle Hobo, it’s best we begin from the very beginning with the most revolutionary style that redefined women's fashion as we knew it: the Chanel 2.55. 

 

The Chanel 2.55

Gabrielle Chanel carrying her 2.55 bag in 1960.

 

Having received its moniker from the month and year in which it was created, February 1955, the 2.55 was Coco Chanel’s most popular signature design. Deemed the “original” Chanel shoulder bag, the 2.55 features a rectangular “Mademoiselle” lock and a chain strap that was purportedly inspired by the dangling keys the caretakers held at the orphanage the young Gabrielle Chanel lived in.

 

What made the 2.55 special was the fact that it transcended societal expectations at that time; it was the first woman’s bag that had a shoulder strap, allowing women to finally go hands-free while toting a purse. A feminist symbol of rebellion of its time, the 2.55 granted women newfound freedom and practicality as ladies in high society were then expected to only carry their bags in their hands.

 

Fun fact: The hidden zip pocket found inside a 2.55 was rumoured to allude to Coco Chanel’s alleged illicit affair she was having in the ‘50s, as she was said to store her secret love letters in the compartment. 

 

The Chanel 2.55 Reissue

 

 

In February 2005, Karl Lagerfeld released the reissued version of the Chanel 2.55 to pay homage to the brand’s rich historical roots on its 50th anniversary. What practically is an exact recreation of the original Coco Chanel design from the ‘50s, the Chanel 2.55 Reissue carries the same design features as its predecessor: the Mademoiselle lock, chain strap, and quilted upper. 

 

Technically, Reissues refer to the bags that were made to honour the original – so only those made in 2005. However, it has grown commonplace to use the term Reissue as an easy way to refer to all 2.55s released in 2005 and later.

 

The Reissue comes in 4 sizes: the 224, 225, 226, and 227. 

Size

Dimensions (inches)

Dimensions (cm)

Reissue 224

7.9 x 5.7 x 3

20 x 14 x 7.5

Reissue 225

9.4 x 6.3 x 2.8

24 x 16 x 7

Reissue 226

11 x 6.7 x 3.3

28 x 19 x 6

Reissue 227

12.6 x 7.5 x 3.7

31.5 x 20 x 10

 

The Chanel Classic Flap

 

Though its original namesake may be 11.12, the Chanel Classic Flap serves as the instantaneously recognizable moniker for this modern day classic. It all began when Karl Lagerfeld looked to reimagine the classic 2.55 shoulder bag in 1983, switching out the Mademoiselle lock to the now iconic interlocking CC locks. And thus, the Classic Flap was born!

Now clad with its iconic CC logo, the Classic Flap breathed new life into the House of Chanel’s luxurious image. It was also in the ‘80s where the Kaiser began to lace leather into the chains of some Chanel bags. The subtle detail was evidently well-received, as the Classic Flap bags of today all sport leather-woven chain straps.

 

The Classic Flap bag is constantly reiterated in different colourways, trendy prints, and all sorts of various textiles with every new season, establishing its place as one of the most iconic and sought after designer bags today.

 

If you’re wondering what the difference is between a Chanel Classic Single Flap versus a Double Flap, single flaps feature single, exterior flaps while double flaps have an exterior flap and a second interior flap. Single flaps were discontinued in 2014, though it is still possible to find them on the resale market. The Classic Flaps also come in a WOC version, and seven other sizes in this ascending order: Extra Mini (discontinued), Mini Square, Mini Rectangle, Small, Medium, Jumbo, and Maxi.

Size

Dimensions (inches)

Dimensions (cm)

Classic Flap WOC

4.8 x 7.5 x 1.4

12.3 x 19.2 x 3.5

Classic Flap Extra Mini (discontinued)

6.7 x 3.9 x 3

17 x 10 x 7.5

Classic Flap Mini Square

6.5 x 5 x 2.5

17 x 13 x 6.5

Classic Flap Mini Rectangle

7.9 x 4.9 x 2.8

20 x 12.5 x 7

Classic Flap Small

9.3 x 5.7 x 2.6

23.5 x 14.5 x 6.5

Classic Flap Medium 

10 x 6.3 x 3

25.5 x 16 x 7.5

Classic Flap Jumbo

11.8 x 7.9 x 3.9

30 x 20 x 10

Classic Flap Maxi

13.4 x 9.1 x 3.9

34 x 23 x 10

 

The Chanel Boy Bag

 

The Boy Bag was Karl Largerfeld’s own signature inception for the House of Chanel. First introduced in 2011, It took its name from Coco Chanel’s first love – Boy Capel. Featuring a contemporary silhouette with a rock-’n’-roll edge, the Boy bag boasted of a laidback and cool masculinity with its structured boxy shape and adrogynous style. 


When the Boy Bag was released, Karl Lagerfeld said, “Chanel used men’s underwear to make dresses; she had this boyish attitude, in fact, it is the very spirit of Chanel.”


The Boy Bag is distinguished by its lego-like brick lock, and a surrounding frame around its centre body consisting of embossed straight lines. The centre body can commonly feature a Classic Quilt, chevron quilting, or a “reverso” quilting, which consists of a quilted surrounding frame and an unquilted body. 

A modern day classic loved by many for its laidback chic appeal, the Boy Bag serves as an edgier counterpart to the feminine and prim Classic Flap. 


The Boy bag comes in 6 different sizes: mini, small, medium, new medium, old medium, large.

Size

Dimensions (inches)

Dimensions (cm)

Boy Mini

5.9 x 3.7 x 2.8

15 x 9.5 x 7

Boy Small

8.1 x 4.7 x 3.3

20.5 x 12 x 8.5

Boy New Medium

11 x 7 x 3.5

28 x 18 x 9

Boy Old Medium

9.8 x 5.7 x 3.1

25 x 14.5 x 8

Boy Large

11.8 x 8.3 x 3.9

30 x 21 x 10

 

The Chanel WOC

 

The Chanel Wallet on Chain may be considered as an entry point into purchasing Chanel, but it’s way more than that. With a compact size and a roomy interior, the WOC has all the appeal of a functional, “bring everywhere” bag. Whether you’re hauling it cross-body while you’re running errands, wearing it on the shoulder for the office, or holding it as a clutch for a formal dinner event, the WOC will never let you down. 

 

 

There are various iterations of the WOC available, as Chanel reimagines its iconic silhouettes by “shrinking down”, so to speak, its classic styles like the Classic Flap and Boy bag into a wallet version. At the time of writing, there’s the Classic Quilted WOC, the Boy WOC, the Trendy CC WOC, the Golden Class Double CC WOC, the Chanel 19 WOC, the Timeless CC WOC, and the Camellia WOC. Vintage editions of the WOC include the Reissue 2.55 WOC, the Halfmoon WOC, the Brilliant WOC, the Sevruga WOC, and the Lipstick WOC.

 

The Chanel Gabrielle

 

Designed by the late Karl Lagerfeld and introduced in Chanel’s Spring/Summer 2017 show in Paris, the Gabrielle bag grew to become an instant hit amongst the fashion set. Featuring a long strap, and a structured yet slouchy hobo silhouette, the Gabrielle bag is nothing short of a modern day classic. Said to take inspiration from VR goggles (the late Kaiser sure was ahead of his time!), the Gabrielle bag lives up to its forward-looking inspiration by then offering an interesting preposition: it’s a unisex design. When the bag was first released, Pharrel Williams was invited by the brand to participate in an ad campaign while wearing the Gabrielle bag, making him the first man to be seen wearing a Chanel bag in an ad since the brand started. 

The Gabrielle hobo bag comes in three main sizes: small, medium and large. 

Size

Dimensions (inches)

Dimensions (cm)

Gabrielle Small

5.9 x 7.8 x 3.1

15 x 20 x 8

Gabrielle Medium

7.8 x 10.1 x 3.5

20 x 26 x 9

Gabrielle Large

9 x 10.9 x 3.9

23 x 28 x 10

 

Chanel 19

 

One of the hottest cult favourites of recent years, the Chanel 19 has emerged as a force to be reckoned with amongst avid Chanel fans. Released in 2019 in Karl Lagerfeld’s last collection with Chanel before his unfortunate demise, the Chanel 19 encapsulates the Parisian luxury house’s  refined elegance with a fresh, youthful spin. Featuring oversized diamond quilting that gives the Chanel 19 its distinctive cloud-like cushion feel, a CC logo clasp with leather interlaced within it for a bold and modern look, anda chunky chain strap, the Chanel 19 has all the hallmarks of an It-bag. More relaxed than the iconic Chanel Flap Bag or Boy bag, the Chanel 19 offers a cool-girl aesthetic with its puffy, slouchier structure.

 

Though the Chanel 19 is considered a fresh face amongst its more seasoned counterparts in the “Classic” Chanel roster, the unwaning popularity of this chic number suggests that it deserves a place next to the others. 

 

The Chanel 19 is available in three sizes as well as a belt bag, and WOC rendition. 

Size

Dimensions (inches)

Dimensions (cm)

Chanel 19 Belt Bag

4.3 x 7.8 x 2.1

11 x 19.8 x 5.3

Chanel 19 WOC

4.8 x 7.5 x 1.4

12.3 × 19.2 × 3.5

Chanel 19 Regular

6.2 x 10.1 x 3.5

16 × 26 × 9

Chanel 19 Large

7.8 x 11.7 x 3.9

20 × 30 × 10

Chanel 19 Maxi

9.8 x 14 x 4.3

25 × 36 × 11



Tags: Chanel Designer Fashion
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