If you’re in the market for a luxury handbag, a Chanel flap is likely on your radar. A timeless classic that is the epitome of luxury, the flap bag is an iconic piece that you can enjoy for years to come. But there’s even more to Chanel than meets the eye. Here are 10 things you need to know about the infamous Chanel flap bags before you buy.
1) The Waitlists
Obviously, there are a limited number of flap bags released each year and flap bags are incredibly popular. Every season, they sell out extremely quickly and some in-demand models can have a waiting list that’s years long. If you’re looking to buy a popular model like the classic black caviar flap, it’s best to reach out to the stores in advance and express your interest. That way they can let you know if the item is in stock or not. As with any luxury item that’s in demand, shops will tend to give preferential treatment to those that shop with them more often. You might also want to consider shopping pre-loved too.
2) The Reason Behind the 2.55 Name
The name behind the iconic bag is more simple than you might think. The first 2.55 flap launched in February 1955 which is why it was given that name – 2/55.
3) The Difference Between the Classic Flap and the Reissue Flap
There are a few differences between the Chanel classic flap bag and the reissue. The classic flap bag is usually used to refer to the bag that has the famous interlocking CCs on the front.
The 2.55 bag is the original bag that Coco Chanel designed and launched back in February 1955. It has the rectangular Mademoiselle lock which also derives its name from the fact that Coco Chanel never actually married.
Finally, the reissue flap is the 2005 relaunch of the 2.55. Technically just those that were made in 2005 should be referred to as the reissue, but many people call all 2.55s made after that the reissue flap.
Both the classic flap and reissue flap are usually double flap bags, although there is sometimes some confusion as the odd bag was released with a single outer flap and no interior flap. Single flaps are now discontinued, but of course, you can purchase them second hand.
4) The Signature Debut Double CC Lock Didn’t Debut Until the 1980s
Most people associate any Chanel handbag with the interlocking CC on the front of the purse. However, this was a feature of the bag that wasn’t launched. It wasn’t until the 80s when Chanel was under the creative direction of Karl Lagerfeld. The interlocking CC’s are now a permanent feature on the bags.
5) The Cost of the 2.55 Bag in 1955
Back when the bag was first released in 1955, it cost just $220 (£155). In today’s money that works out at around $2200 (£1550); far cheaper than what they retail for these days.
6) The Story of the Hidden Zipper Compartment
If you’ve ever seen a Chanel handbag up close, you’ll notice that there’s a hidden zipper inside the outer flap that would struggle to fit anything in it; maybe a couple of debit cards if you’re lucky. Apparently, when Coco Chanel designed the bag, she included this zipper to hide her personal love letters in it as she was having an affair at the time.
7) Chanel’s Flap Bags are a Solid Investment
Thanks to their limited supply, Chanel bags do hold their value, especially if you care for them appropriately. The designs also haven’t changed that much over the years meaning that a Chanel flap that’s several years old can look just as on-trend as the 2021 versions, especially now that we’re more conscious of the effect that fashion can have on the environment.
Chanel also regularly raise their prices, they usually do this around summertime and towards the end of the year. They even did it during the Pandemic so no matter what, your bag is guaranteed to go up in value over time. We said that the original 2.55 cost the equivalent of £1550 in today’s money. Well today, that same bag has an RRP of £5550 – not a bad return on investment. When shopping for Chanel handbags on consignment sites, you’ll find that the prices don’t differ all that much from the original, suggesting that they still hold their value quite well. If you buy a Chanel handbag second hand and keep it for a few years, you may even make a generous profit, especially if it’s in good condition.
8) The 2.55’s Interior Inspiration
As many of you know, the interior of the classic flap is a beautiful rich burgundy colour that was also used on the 2.55 for many years. Coco Chanel grew up in a convent orphanage where the uniforms they wore were this specific shade of burgundy. The interior of the flaps is a nod to her humble roots.
9)The Sizes of the Chanel Flap Bag
The Chanel flap comes in a variety of sizes. The classic flap comes in extra mini, mini square, small, medium, jumbo and maxi. Here are the dimensions of each size:
6.7” x 3.9” x 3” – This bag is now discontinued and now the WOC would be considered an appropriate alternative (though this is considered an SLG and not a bag)
6.5” x 5” x 2.5”
9.3” x 5.7” x 2.6”
10” x 6.3” x 3”
11.8” x 7.9” x 3.9”
13.4” x 9.1” x 3.9”
10) What a Chanel Flap Bag Should Come With
Part of purchasing a luxury handbag means that you get all the bells and whistles that come with it. When you purchase a Chanel flap bag, it should come with an authenticity card, a dust bag and a cardboard Chanel box. Ensure that you get all these items as if you ever want to resell your bag, having all the original packaging and proof of authenticity will ensure you get the best price.
Conclusion: Which Chanel Flap Bag Should I Buy?
So as you can see, when you buy a Chanel flap bag, you’re not just purchasing a highly sought after fashion item, you’re actually purchasing a piece of history that comes with a lot of stories to tell. Coco Chanel was a visionary in the world of fashion and was progressive in each of her designs.
We love how Coco Chanel’s inspirations for this bag came from her real-life experiences and in a time where storytelling is a key part of brand identity, Chanel delivers.
But what bag should you buy?
This really does depend on your own needs. Be sure to set aside a budget and stick to it. Reach out to your local boutique to see what they have in stock. If you shop online, there’ll be more options available.
If you can’t find what you’re looking for in boutiques, be sure to check online consignment stores as you may find your dream bag there. Remember though, if you’re seeking an in-demand bag, you could end up paying more; especially if it’s out of stock in all retail locations.