The First Shoulder Bag
In February, 1955 Chanel released the iconic 2.55 Quilted Handbag- the most widely recognizable handbag, ever, in the world.
Gabrielle Chanel created a bag that she needed herself: an accessory which freed up the hands. In February 1955, Chanel changed handbag history forever: she introduced the 2.55 Quilted Handbag with chain straps. For the first time, it was acceptable for women to carry a bag on their shoulders. The name 2.55 is based on the date of its creation: “2” for February, the second month of the year and “55” for 1955.
Firstly, Chanel sold the original 2.55 flap for $220.
The stitched diamond quilted pattern in the exterior of 2.55 was inspired by equestrian accessories and the patterns Chanel saw around stables.The exterior pocket was inspired to Coco from a love of the Mona Lisa and made the back pocket reminiscent of her subtle smile, which is said to be for loose change for tipping.
The burgundy/garnet leather inside the original 2.55 was the color of the uniform that Chanel had to wear at the Aubazine orphanage where she was raised. It is easily recognisable by its turn-lock — also known as the “Mademoiselle lock”.
Chanel invented a new style of shoulder strap inspired by men’s military satchels, worn across their chests. Chanel wanted the chain straps to look like jewelry with the convenience of a satchel for the modern woman.
Coco Chanel distilled her innovation as such: “I got fed up with holding my purses in my hands and losing them, so I added a strap and carried them over my shoulder.”
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. Though the name “Reissue 2.55” should apply only to those commemorative handbags it is now commonly used as a name for all the handbags resembling the original 2.55.< Back