The History of the Chanel Flap Bag

The original flap bag was created in 1929 and designed by Coco Chanel's lover, Arthur Capel.

The original flap bag was created in 1929 and designed by Coco Chanel's lover, Arthur Capel, who went by the nickname "Boy." Capel gave two prototypes to Chanel for safekeeping during a hunting trip. One prototype remains on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

Originally called the "2.55" after February 1955 when it was relaunched by Karl Lagerfeld, the bag has been updated over time with different materials and hardware.

Arthur's nickname was Boy, so it was originally called the "2.55", after February 1955, when it was relaunched by Karl Lagerfeld.

Arthur’s nickname was Boy, so it was originally called the "2.55", after February 1955, when it was relaunched by Karl Lagerfeld.

Lagerfeld’s initial was used as the clasp on the bag and came in gold or silver. He also added a leather-threaded chain to this bag, allowing for it to be worn hands-free!

When you purchase a Chanel 2.55 today, expect a small gold plaque with the initials COCO in clear script with two interlocking C’s on it!

It was designed with leather from soldiers' belts to symbolize a change in the perception of women at the time.

Also known as the Chanel 2.55, the iconic flap bag was designed with two distinct materials: soft lambskin for the body and strong leather from soldiers’ belts for the bottom. Chanel chose these materials to represent her view of women at that time: soft and feminine, but also strong and resilient. And according to Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel biographer Justine Picardie, who studied intimate details about Chanel's creative process in her book Coco Chanel: The Legend and The Life, the straps were made from chain link interspersed with leather so that they could be worn across the body—a practical choice for a new generation of women who weren't afraid to move around freely.

The latest version of the bag is called "Chanel 19" because it was released in 2019.

The latest version of the bag is called "Chanel 19" because it was released in 2019. It is made of grained calfskin and has an interlocking C clasp that resembles a camellia flower. It is also available in woven raffia, a palm tree fiber.

This latest version has an interlocking C clasp that resembles a camellia flower.

The Chanel Flap Bag is one of the most iconic pieces in the world of handbags. In addition to its trademark look, with a quilted leather exterior, interlocking Cs on the clasp, and a long strap that goes across your body, it comes in many different sizes and colors; rest assured there is a version out there for you.

The most recent versions have an interlocking C clasp that resembles a camellia flower. The camellia was Coco Chanel's favourite flower and Karl Lagerfeld first designed the interlocking C’s in 1982 to represent Coco Chanel's initials, Gabrielle Chanel.

It is also now available in woven raffia.

This season, the bag is available in woven raffia, making it a more sustainable (and lightweight) option for Chanel fans. It comes in two sizes and four colorways: beige, chocolate-brown, black and burgundy. While the bag features details like interwoven leather strips and gold chain handles that are signature to the 2.55 reissue bags of recent seasons, it also has a distinct feel that’s all its own. The woven raffia makes this version of the Flap feel more relaxed than leather versions—something you can easily imagine wearing at a well-heeled beach destination (if you were lucky enough to escape this summer).

The bag represents Coco Chanel's ability to create beauty out of necessity.

The Chanel flap bag is a timeless classic. It is a celebrated symbol of women’s independence and modernity, as well as a representation of the relationship between Gabrielle Chanel and Arthur Capel.

The first flap bag was designed by Coco Chanel in 1929, after she had been introduced to fine leather goods by her lover, Arthur “Boy” Capel. The two met at a horse race in Deauville when Coco was 27 years old. In addition to introducing her to the world of luxury, Arthur also funded Chanel's business ventures (including funding for the first boutique opening on Paris' rue Cambon). In fact, it was his initials that inspired the logo lock on all of her bags!
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