History of the bag: Chanel Flap Bag

Three photo's of different styles of the Chanel Classic Flap bag.

The Chanel Flap Bag

“In order to be irreplaceable, one must always be different.” – Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel

And more than 50 years later the brand of Chanel definitely is irreplaceable. However, one item will always stand out a little more: the Chanel Flap Bag. This bag is often referend to as the Chanel 2.55 or the Chanel Classic Flap Bag. However, there are actually some differences between these two and we’ll tell you all about it!



The story of the Chanel Flap Bag starts in February 1955. Chanel had been creating handbags for about 25 years already, however the new bag was different. As a brand Chanel always stood for comfortability, so Coco decided to create a bag that would allow women to keep their hands free while carrying a bag. Before the 50s, women usually carried bags in their hands, this was the first time they could carry their bags on their shoulder. This bag was named the Chanel 2.55, and was named after the date of its creation: 2 for February, and 55 for the year 1955. Military satchels worn in the 1920s, are allegedly some of the inspiration behind the design.

 Fun Fact: Contrary to what many people believe: the 2.55 was not the first ever Chanel bag

This original 2.55 has been redesigned multiple times over the years, but the redesign in 1983 is most important to understand the difference between the 2.55 and the Chanel Classic Flap Bag. Karl Lagerfeld changed the classic square twisting lock of the 2.55 (known as the Mademoiselle Lock), to the iconic interlocking CC clasp.

On the left the Chanel 2.55 double flap with Mademoiselle lock. On the right the Classic Flap Bag with the interlocking CC lock.On the left: the Chanel 2.55 double flap bag, originally designed by Coco Chanel. On the right: the Chanel Classic Flap Bag, originally (re)designed by Karl Lagerfeld - by All Things Luxury and Etoile

Chanel 2.55 vs Classic Flap Bag

The Chanel 2.55 and the Chanel Classic Flap Bag aren’t the exact same bag, but they do have a lot of similar features. A Chanel Classic Flap Bag always refers to the Flap Bags with the interlocking CC lock and a leather-woven chain, while the name 2.55 specifically refers to the original Flap bag design with the Mademoiselle lock and a metal chain. However, many people often use the term 2.55 for all Flap Bags that use the traditional features.

A third term used to describe Chanel Flap Bags is “Reissue 2.55”. This is the official name of the recreation of the original 2.55 that Karl Lagerfeld made for the 50th birthday of the bag in 2005. Nowadays, the term “Reissue” is used to refer to all recently made 2.55 bags.

Now still in production by Chanel today (2020):

  1. Chanel (Reissue) 2.55
  2. Chanel Timeless Classic Flap Bag


Any Classic Flap Bag or 2.55 has a number of recognizable design features. Both bags are square or rectangle shaped, and can be closed with a flap and lock. Most flap bags will have a double flap; however, some sizes and shapes are only available with a single flap. Inside these Chanel bags you will find burgundy leather with a Chanel logo on the biggest flap, the burgundy color is said to be inspired by the uniforms worn at the orphanage that Coco Chanel went to. There are two different compartments, the main compartment has three slip-in pockets: two small, and one bigger pocket.

Showcasing the inside of the Chanel Classic Flap Bag.Inside of the Classic Flap bag - by theBikinBoy and Purseblog

Other than the “main” pockets in the interior of a Flap Bag, there are a couple of extra pockets that are rumored to have a special function. First off, the biggest flap, that is used to close the bag, has a small inner pocket that can be closed with a zipper. It is said that Coco Chanel used this pocket to store secret love letters during her affairs. Second, in between the two internal pockets, there is a space designed to hold a single lipstick. And third, on the outside of the bag there is a slip-in pocket specifically designed to securely hold money without having to open the bag.

The Chanel Flap Bag comes with a metal chain, that can be used to wear the bag on the shoulder. The chain is not adjustable, but can also be worn folded to make the chain shorter. Over the years, there have been many different types of chains. However, an official Classic Flap Bag will always only use a leather-woven chain strap. While the modern 2.55, only have all-chain straps.

Fun Fact: Chanel started using leather filled straps when resources were scarce. This is why older 2.55 can be found with leather-woven straps as well!

Different leathers
Over the years, there have been a wide range of designs and styles of the Chanel Flap Bags. There are many different types of leather and materials that you will be able to find. Originally, the Flap Bag was crafted using quilted lambskin, this is still the most common type of leather you will find the bags in. Another common leather is Caviar leather. Which is treated, grained calfskin leather, made to resist water. Both of these classic leathers are available in a great variety of colors.

Posing with the Classic Flap Bag. One photo with a limited edition denim bag. A second photo with a, more common, lambskin leather bag in light pink.A limited edition Classic Flap Bag and a more common lamb skin Classic Flap Bag in light pink- in collaboration with Etoile

If you’re looking for something more special, there are also less-common materials available. Cotton, transparent plastic, tweed, or even some exotic leathers are to be found. However, in 2018 Chanel announced that they will stop using exotic leathers like crocodile, snake, and lizard.

The Mademoiselle vs Interlocking CC lock
The original Chanel 2.55 double flap bag designed by Coco Chanel featured a simple rectangular shaped lock. This lock was named the Mademoiselle lock, which translated to “Miss”. This name was picked as a reminder that Coco Chanel never got married.

In the 80s Karl Lagerfeld decided to change the design of the original 2.55. He changed the Mademoiselle lock for an interlocking CC lock, using the world-famous Chanel logo. And so, creating the Chanel Classic Flap Bag like we know it today. The lock is one of the main features to tell the difference between a 2.55 or a Classic Flap Bag.

On the left the classic Mademoiselle lock designed by Coco Chanel. On the right the iconic interlocking CC lock designed by Karl Lagerfeld.The Mademoiselle lock designed by Coco Chanel and the Interlocking CC lock designed by Karl Lagerdfeld - by Etoile

Double vs Single flap
Originally, both the 2.55 and the Classic Flap Bag come with a double flap. This means that the bag has an exterior flap closure, as well as an interior flap compartment. There are some styles and sizes of the Classic Flap Bag that only feature the exterior flap closure and have an open interior compartment, this style is considered a single flap. The Chanel 2.55 can never be a single flap, and Chanel decided to discontinue all styles with a single flap in 2014. So, all newer models of the Classic Flap Bag are all double flaps as well. However, you are still able to find 2.55 or Classic Flap Bags with a single flap on the vintage market.

Even with the many different colors, sizes, and variations. The Classic Flap Bag and the 2.55 will always keep their classical look and iconic features. No matter what design or variation you’ll buy, it will definitely hold its value.


The Chanel Flap Bag is made in many different sizes and variations. The styles that are still in production today (2020) are the Chanel (Reissue) 2.55 and the Chanel Timeless Classic Flap Bag. These two styles come in five different sizes.

Contrary to what many people believe, the number 2.55 has nothing to do with the size of the bag. Instead there is a three-digit code added to the name to indicate the size. 2.55 was made in 5 sizes, but in 2008 size 228 was taken out of production.

Classic Flap Bag
Over the years, several sizes of the Classic Flap Bag have been designed. The sizes are indicated by adding “mini”, “medium”, “Jumbo” etc. to the name.

Measurements: Chanel Reissue 2.55

2.55 224

2.55 225

2.55 226

2.55 227

   20 x 14,5 x 7,5 CM   

   24 x 16 x 7,5 CM   

   28 x 17 x 8,5 CM   

   32 x 19 x 9,5 CM   


Measurements: Chanel Timeless Classic Flap Bag






   16,5 x 14 x 6,5 CM   

   24 x 14,5 x 6,5 CM   

   25,5 x 16 x 7,5 CM   

   30 x 20 x 10 CM   

   33 x 23 x 10 CM   


Are they worth the investment?

Every year Chanel increases their prices. Back in 1955, you could buy the original Chanel 2.55 for as little as $220,-, nowadays plain leather versions can retail for up to $6000,-. This goes to show the value of a Chanel bag and why they are a great investment. Especially the 2.55 and Classic Flap Bag are in high demand. These bags are often seen as a sign of wealth and luxury. So, it’s no surprise that many celebrities are seen with them. Chanel also regulates their supply, which means that the amount of new Flap Bags is limited, and waitlists are not unfamiliar.  

Four photo's of famous women with their Chanel Classic Flap Bags in black, red, beige, and gold.Model Kim Feenstra, Influencer Mikky Kiemeney, Blogger Xenia Adonts, and entrepreneur and fashion blogger Chiara Ferragni with their Chanel Classic Flap bags from Etoile

The costs of a Chanel Flap bag can depend on multiple factors. For example, the leather type, color, or size. More exotic or less common leather types are mostly more expensive than regular leathers. Hard-to-find limited editions will also likely sell for more that the original retail price.

Chanel Classic and 2.55 Flap Bags are very stylish and iconic bags, that are only gaining more popularity, even after 65 years! The different colors, sizes, and styles continue to take over the fashion world, and every year the value increases. Therefore, yes, this bag is definitely worth the investment.

Find the perfect bag for you

Because of the popularity of the Chanel 2.55 and Classic Flap Bag, there unfortunately are a lot of lookalikes and replicas available on the second hand market. This is why at Etoile we always check the authenticity, to make sure we only sell real authentic Chanel bags. If your looking for your own Classic Flap Bag or 2.55, you’ve come to the right place. Our Chanel Flap Bag collection is always changing. With bags in different colors, sizes, or types of leather, you’ll be sure to find the bag of your dreams with us!

With love, Jessica



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