Charles Paquin - Discover the history of the best Chanel bags

Discover the history of the best Chanel bags

Coco Chanel once said that “Fashion fades, only style remains the same”. If you’re an ardent admirer of Chanel’s work, then you know exactly what she meant. Chanel is a French luxury fashion house that has made a name for itself as one of the de facto authorities on timeless style and super chic appeal. When Chanel is brought up in conversation, images of galas and elegant soirees immediately come to mind. You’re guaranteed to find at least one Chanel bag in a luxury lover’s closet. But if Chanel isn’t in your wardrobe, it certainly is on your wishlist. Let’s get to know a bit more about the story behind Chanel so we can better understand how some of the most iconic and coveted bags in luxury fashion came to be.

Coco Chanel, c. 1960. Courtesy of Chanel; photograph, Douglas Kirkland

 

Now we all know what Chanel represents today, but not everyone knows how the iconic fashion brand came to be. Gabrielle Chanel, famously known as “Coco'' Chanel, surprisingly began her fashion journey with the opening of her own hat boutique in 1910. Originally starting out under the name Chanel Modes, her hats were a hit with the French actresses of her time and helped to build her reputation as a competent designer. It truly took no time at all for Chanel to be recognised as more than just a hat designer with an eye for fashion. After several years of expansion and experimentation with different types of fabrics and materials in the realm of men’s and women’s clothing, Chanel opened her Couture House at 31 Rue Cambon, in Paris. This famous piece of Chanel heritage was built to serve as a boutique, workshop, and salon - all in one. By this time, Chanel was largely recognised as a brand name within France.

 

Destined to become an international success, Chanel’s work naturally made its way across the Atlantic. It was there that she garnered the attention of American socialites and actresses who were constantly seeking to get ahead of the latest trends coming from Europe. Chanel’s first notable interaction with Hollywood came in 1931, when she was requested to design costumes for Tonight or Never (1931) and The Greeks Had a Word for Them (1932). With positive relationships established in American high-society, her name was soon on everyone’s lips. Unfortunately for the world, much of regular life would have to be put on hold with the eruption of the Second World War.

 

After a forced hiatus, Chanel made a comeback with the reopening of her Couture House and would soon after create one of the most iconic Chanel handbags in history: the 2.55. The original Chanel 2.55, named after its creation date, was made from quilted leather and featured an all-metal chain strap and most importantly - the mademoiselle lock. Why was this bag so revolutionary you ask? Prior to the 2.55, elegant handbags meant for fine occasions were meant to be carried in hand. Chanel’s 2.55 shaped the way forward for convenient and functional hands-free evenings. More than just a regular shoulder bag, the 2.55 became highly coveted for its quality craftsmanship and chick allure. You may have a hard time getting a hold of an original 2.55, but regularly browsing our preloved Chanel shoulder bag collection may just surprise you. The Chanel 2.55 became a building block for the fashion house and inspired the creation of dozens of other luxury Chanel bags worthy of comparison. While Gabrielle Chanel passed away in 1971, as a true fashion legend, her empire and name continues to transcend the world and inspire millions to this day. Now that the history of Chanel has been covered up to the creation of their first iconic bag, let’s get into some other Chanel bags worthy of the love they receive.

 

The Chanel Classic Flap is at the top of the list

Ah - the Chanel Classic Flap. Probably the most sought-after Chanel bag in history. It’s almost impossible to think about Chanel without bringing up this gorgeous shoulder bag. When it comes to the Chanel Classic Flap, you’ve got many options. From several different sizes, to a variety of different materials and hardware choices, it can be a bit overwhelming to find the right bag. We recently covered the differences in our sizing guide which you may find helpful. Rest assured, no matter what option you decide on, you’re getting one of the chicest bags on the luxury market. Funnily enough, some people mistake the Chanel Classic Flap as the original Chanel bag. As mentioned previously, Chanel’s first IT-bag was the 2.55. However, the beloved Classic Flap is officially referred to as the “Reissue 2.55” after Karl Lagerfeld’s reimagination. In practice, people now refer to newly made Chanel 2.55s as the Chanel “reissue” 2.55, while the name Chanel Timeless Classic Flap Bag took over to identify the Classic Flap. So, what differentiates the 2.55 from the Classic Flap? The most obvious feature that’s present with the Chanel Classic Flap is the iconic CC logo lock. Aside from that, the Classic Flap can be found available in a variety of different colours and materials, but when comparing standard 2.55 and Classic Flap models, you’ll find that they share much of the same shape and metal chain strap features. If you’re looking to own this iconic bag, we offer a range of fabulous preloved Chanel Classic Flap bags you can browse.

 CHANEL Vintage Medium Classic Double Flap

 

The Chanel Boy bag – a beloved outlier

While relatively new, the Chanel Boy bag has cemented its place among Chanel lovers since 2011. Launched by Karl Lagerfeld, the Boy bag paid tribute to Coco Chanel’s first love, Boy Chapel. Featuring an all-metal chain strap, the Boy bag clearly contrasts the 2.55 and Classic Flap as a bag with a more masculine appeal. With so many other Chanel bags to choose from, most can agree that there isn’t anything else quite like it, which is precisely why the Boy bag has garnered so much attention. In fact, it’s said that its design was made to pay homage to Chanel’s taste for rebellious thought. Chanel was quite famous for pushing the boundaries of what it meant to be feminine and this bag clearly embodies that idea. It’s quite noticeable shape and CC logo lock are easy to identify, so you know exactly when you see one. If you already own a classic Chanel bag, we highly recommend diversifying your Chanel collection with this unique Chanel bag that’s like nothing else out there. We offer authentic Chanel Boy bags for you to explore in our collection.

 CHANEL Large Boy Bag

 

The Chanel Medallion tote

The Medallion Tote can be thought of as the perfect marriage between chic and casual wear. Perfectly sized for daily use, this tote bag is often made from the instantly recognizable caviar leather that Chanel is renowned for making. You’ll find the Medallion Tote with a large embossed CC logo on the front of the bag.  What truly makes the Medallion Tote is the CC medallion piece that gives the bag its special allure - and name. Appearing in the early 2000s, Chanel made this perfect tote for roughly 10 years before its discontinuation in 2013. While the Medallion Tote was insanely popular among Chanel lovers, we still don’t know the true reason for its disappearance from Chanel’s catalogues. Fortunately for us, there are still many Chanel Medallion Totes on the preloved luxury market that can be found. We offer a large selection of Medallion Tote bags in different colours for those looking to add a bit of casual chic to their collection.

 CHANEL Medallion Tote

 

Chanel wallets are premium luxury

While there are dozens of other Chanel bags to be covered - which we can’t possibly go through without dedicating an entire 10-page report to - we thought we should mention one of Chanel’s most important and accessible luxury accessories. Chanel wallets aren’t particularly known as individual pieces, but collectively they are sought after as extremely luxurious wallets that represent all of the same chicness that Chanel is known for. Noticing a theme? Chanel wallets, especially their longer ones such as the CC Continental Wallet, are the perfect complement to a Chanel bag. Chanel wallets deserve their own recognition since they feature much of the same tasteful details and high-quality materials as the bags they are inspired from. If you’re a fan of Chanel and are looking for a taste of chicness in your collection, used Chanel wallets are an excellent place to start. You’ll find a variety of different styles among our collection of preloved Chanel wallets.  

CHANEL CC Continental Wallet


Chanel bags and accessories are some of the chicest on the market, that much we can all agree on. From the prestigious 2.55 to the more accessible accessories and everything in between. If you’ve been craving for Chanel, know that a time-limited sale is coming within the next few days (from the time of publishing). Be on the lookout in your inbox and on our website for a special code to save on the Chanel bag of your dreams. For more reading, catch up on last week’s article on men’s closet must-haves.

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