One of the most iconic brands to this day, Chanel handbags are ones that will remain timeless favorites. From its classic quilted pattern, interlocking CC’s and iconic shapes, Chanel is a word that is synonymous with luxury and fine taste. In addition to luxury handbags, the House of Chanel is most known for the “Little Black Dress,” the classic Tweed Suit, and No. 5 Perfume. Founded in 1909, Chanel remains a privately owned company, founded by its namesake Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel. Her first shop was at 31 Rue Cambon, Paris France.
Chanel Flap Bag History
In February 1955, Coco Chanel introduced what would be become the most widely recognizable handbag ever – double flap, with a mademoiselle closure and mademoiselle metal chain. Mademoiselle Chanel wanted their hands free and so she outfitted the bag with double chains that can easily be slung onto the shoulder or the crook of the arm. It became popularly known as the 2.55 flap bag. Over the years there have been many variations to the original 2.55 flap design: the use of leather interwoven through the chain, use of different leathers and fabrics, single flap vs. the original double flap, and different sizes available, etc. In 1983, Karl Lagerfeld joined the house of Chanel as Artistic Director. While Coco Chanel designed the original interlocking CC logo, it was Karl Lagerfeld who introduced the interlocking CC closure on the flaps.
Chanel Classic Flap
Created originally by Coco Chanel in the 1920s because the designer was tired of carrying a bag in the crook of her arm, the bag was again re-designed in the 1980s by Karl Lagerfeld with the the now iconic CC turnlock. These bags are referred to by Chanel as part of the “Timeless Classic” collection.
This bag comes in six sizes, the Mini, New Mini, Small, Medium, Jumbo and Maxi. The Jumbo and Maxi sizes were briefly available as a Single Flap style, but now only come with Double flaps.
Chanel Reissue Flap
The Chanel flap bag was updated and released in February 1955, hence the name “2.55.” Chanel released an exact copy of the original 2.55 in February 2005 in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the creation of the original.
- Sizes: 224, 225, 226, 227 228 (now discontinued)
Released in 2005, this bag quickly became part of Chanel’s classic collection. The Cerf comes in four sizes; Small, Regular, Tall and XL
Once a classic style, this lovely tote has now been discontinued. Most recognizable by its oversized CC medallion zipper pull.
Shopping Totes (GST, PST, PTT)
This is one of Chanel’s most popular classic styles that comes in a variety of sizes. Typically this bag is made in Caviar leather and comes in a variety of colors, most commonly though, in black and light beige. GST for Grand Shopping Tote, PST for Petite Shopping Tote, PTT for Petite Timeless Tote, and XL.
Made from smooth calfskin leather with a bold CC logo at the side, this very popular style was first introduced in 2004-2005 and were immensely popular. The line has many different styles and color combinations. While most of this line is now discontinued, the Cambon style is still released in WOC bags and wallets.
Karl Lagerfeld designed the Boy Collection as an interpretation of the boyish charm that Coco Chanel was known for. Karl was stated as saying that the very spirit of Chanel was inspired by Boy Capel, the love of her life; which is why this new collection is called the “Boy Chanel.” Sizes: Small, Medium, New Medium and Large
Also known as the ‘Kisslock’ clutch bag because of its CC frame closure. Typically this bag is only offered in Caviar and lambskin leather, however it is occasionally made with exotic python.
Though slightly elusive and hard to find – the Camera Case is released often as part of the classic collection. The camera case is released in various sizes and has evolved from being a small crossbody bag with the classic tassel pull closure.
One of the most popular styles, this wallet on a chain is constantly in creation using different styles and materials. The WOC is exactly what its name implies – the interior boasts several card slots, a zip pocket, and flat pockets, all on a chain strap. The chain can be tucked in or worn across the chest. Common Styles: Classic, Timeless, Boy, Half-Moon, Camellia, Cambon.
Chanel Caviar Leather
Grained calfskin leather that is known for being very durable and holds its shape very well. Light scratches and blemishes don’t show up as easily on Caviar, which makes it a preference for everyday wear.
Chanel Lambskin Leather
Known for being soft, luxurious, and supple; but is prone to showing scratches and blemishes. Lambskin is very fragile and will flatten over time.
Chanel Crinkled Calfskin
Most commonly used for Reissue flaps, this leather has a pre-wrinkled look and is soft yet durable.
The Chanel Camellia Flower
As with most of Chanel’s styles, Coco Chanel’s personal history is reflected in many of the styles and designs we see to this day. The camellia flower is said to be Coco Chanel’s favorite flower after receiving a bouquet of them from Boy Capel. She began pinning silk versions of it to the lapels of her jackets and in her hair. Chanel also features embossed leather with this pattern, featuring the CC logo inside the flowers.
Chanel Patent Leather
Used for all classic styles, the patent leather is a glossy and beautiful. Patent can get transfer marks and are prone to wear marks such as fingerprints and scuffs if not properly taken care of.
Chanel Chain Handles
Inspired by the likeness of a soldier bag’s strap, over the years Chanel has introduced different kinds of chains on their bags all of which iconic in their own right. The most popular and widely recognized are the leather entwined with chain that are on their classic flaps. It is said that these chains resemble those that were used by nuns as key holders at that time when Chanel was growing up in an orphanage.
Classic Chanel Chain Leather
Chanel Reissue chain
Now discontinued this chain was featured on classic flap bags and the reissue styles. Chanel produced the Bijoux chain in 2007 & 2008. These chains are wide-set chain links.
Chanel Closures and Locks
In 1983 when Karl Lagerfeld took over as head designer at Chanel, he introduced the CC turn-lock design to the classic flap bags.
In 2005, Karl Lagerfeld reissued Coco Chanel’s classic flap design in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the bag. This bag is now referred to as the ‘Reissue’ style and ‘Mademoiselle’ lock. The term “Mademoiselle Lock” is supposedly named after Coco never marrying.
Boy logo closure
Introduced in Fall/Winter 2011 by Karl Lagerfeld, this unique lock features the iconic CC logo with a unique-push clasp on each side. Karl was stated as saying that the very spirit of Chanel was inspired by Boy Capel, the love of her life; which is why the collection is called the “Boy Chanel.”
Chanel has been a fixture on runway shows for the last several decades. With Karl Lagerfeld at the helm, runway shows feature fashion and handbags varying in style, inspiration, and color. Seasonal styles of leather goods are released following each runway collection. We have compiled a list of some of the more common season styles and a visual chart with the name of the collection. Please note, this is not a comprehensive list.
Recent Limited Edition Styles by Season:
Lady Braid: 2005-2006
Ultimate Soft: Introduced in 2005 but was released in 2006-2008
Outdoor Ligne: 2006
Luxe Ligne: 2006-2007
Paris-Biarritz: Released in 2006-2011 in limited quanities
Portobello: Released in 2008
Modern Chain: 2008
Hampton CC: First released in Fall 2011, re-released in Spring 2013
Ultra Stitch: Released in 2011
French Riviera: Released in 2011; re-released 2012
On-the-Road: Fall 2011
Chain Around: Spring 2011
Crossing Times: Released in Fall/Winter 2013
Retro Chain: Spring 2011
Takeaway: Released in 2011
In the Business: Released in 2011
New Bubble: Released Fall/Winter 2012
Chic Caviar: 2012
Lady Pearly: Released in Fall 2012
Shiva: Released Pre Fall 2012
Perfect Edge: Released in Fall 2012
Country Chic: Released in 2012
Simply CC: Released in 2012
Coco Pleats: Released Fall/Winter 2012
In-the-Mix: Released in Spring 2012
CC Lock Bag: Pre-Fall 2012
Coco Pleats: 2012
Midnight Stones Clutch: 2012
Chic Quilt: 2013
Up in the Air: Released Spring 2013
Deauville: Released in 2013
Thin City: Released in Spring 2013
Hula Hoop: S/S Runway 2013
Chic With Me: Released in 2013
Easy: Released in in S/S 2013, re-released in Cruise 2014
Soft Elegance: Pre Fall 2013
Castle Rock: Released Pre Fall 2013
Coco Twin: 2013
Coco Sporran: Fall 2013 Paris/Edinburgh collection
Globe Trotter: Fall 2013
Fresh Air: Spring/Summer 2013
CC Crown: Spring/Summer 2013
Boy Reverso: Fall/Winter 2013
Stitch It Bag: 2013
Shopping Fever Tote: Released in Pre-Spring 2014
Retro Class: Released 2014
Duo Flap: Released in Pre-Fall 2014
Golden Class: 2014
Coco Boy Bag: Cruise 2015
Girl Bag: Spring 2015
Seasonal Style Reference Chart:
When we released our last Ultimate Bag Guide, many of you asked us to give the same treatment to the iconic Chanel Classic Flap Bag, and we thought it was an excellent suggestion. This month marks the revolutionary shoulder bag’s 60th anniversary, and somehow, it’s even more popular now than it was in 1955.
Whether you’re a young celeb looking to carry a flashy mini bag in front of the paparazzi or a corporate maven looking for a roomy day bag that announces that you’ve arrived, the many sizes, colors and variations on the Classic Flap mean that there’s likely a version that will suit your purposes. And because Chanel regularly increases its prices, the bags tend to hold their value well for years, meaning that buying one now isn’t too risky–you can always sell it and recoup most, if not all, of your money. That’s if you don’t want to pass it down to your daughter, of course.
Below, we’ve compiled as much information as we could about the bag’s particulars. Because Chanel tends to keep things close to the vest, some information might be incomplete. If you can think of anything that might be a useful addition to the guide, please let us know in the comments.
THE CHANEL CLASSIC FLAP BAG
Year Created: 1955
Sizes Currently Available: Extra Mini, Mini Rectangular, Mini Square, Small, Medium, Jumbo, Maxi
Most Recent Price Increase: May 2014
Availability: Chanel boutiques and store-in-store locations only; certain colors, sizes and leather may require a wait list
Note: To help indicate differences in size, these pictures are approximately, but not perfectly, to scale
Chanel Classic Flap Bag – Extra Mini
6.7″ W x 3.9″ H x 3″ D
$2,400 in Lambskin, Patent or Caviar Leather
Chanel Classic Flap Bag – Mini Rectangular
7.9″ W x 4.9 H x 2.8″ D
$2,900 in Lambskin, Patent or Caviar Leather
Chanel Classic Flap Bag – Mini Square
6.7″ W x 5.2″ H x 3.1″ D
$2,700 in Lambskin, Patent or Caviar Leather
Chanel Classic Flap Bag – Small
9.3″ W x 5.7″ H x 2.6″ D
$4,700 in Lambskin, Patent or Caviar Leather
Chanel Classic Flap Bag – Medium
10″ W x 6.3″ H x 3″ D
$4,900 in Lambskin, Patent or Caviar Leather – $3,700 in Velvet
Chanel Classic Flap Bag – Jumbo
11.8″ W x 7.7″ H x 3.9″ D
$5,500 in Lambskin, Patent or Caviar Leather
Chanel Classic Flap Bag – Maxi
13″ W x 9.1″ H x 3.9″ D
$6,000 in Lambskin, Patent or Caviar Leather
COMMON LEATHERS AND MATERIALS
HARDWARE COLORS AND FINISHES