Chanel’s 2.55: The Quilted Revolution

April 10, 2010 § 1 Comment

Received my invite to the Chanel Les Secrets du Sac event next week at the Bloor St. Boutique. I’m so excited for this seminar, last year’s event was on the secrets of the Chanel jacket with the Paris team accompanying a carefully curated collection from vintage tweeds to future prototypes. Between champagne flutes, mini hors d’oeuvres, guests were not sold on the latest offerings but rather offered a glimpse into the rich history of the timeless jacket and the life of Mademoiselle Coco way before the movies and the documentaries came out of Hollywood.

I’m really looking forward to this event. I have loved the 2.55 and its many variations for their timeless quality and ability to go well with just about everything.

CAN’T BEAT THE REAL THING

The event invite came with a copy of Flare’s April issue featuring a raven-haired stunning Coco Rocha. Inside was a bookmarked article all about the story behind the 2.55. Conceived by Coco senior in February 1955, the bag brought its own revolution. It was the first handbag with a long shoulder strap that gave the wearer freedom and mobility of the hands, and contained functional yet discrete side pockets and compartments to stash lipstick and love letters. Clearly, this woman had her priorities straight.

Whatever you do, don’t waste money on a counterfeit. It’s worth saving  up to invest in a classic 2.55. The higher price reflects a process and an iconic product that has a rich history 55 years old. It takes more than 50 pieces and over 180 different operations to produce a single handbag. Workers at the atelier require at least 10 years to develop the skill and expertise to perfectly create a 2.55. Although it comes in countless finishes and materials, the ohsopopular lamb skins are a perfect illustration of the quality of work this handbag demands. For one, it requires three lambskins to make a single bag because only the center of the skin is usable. It’s delicate texture requires careful construction but it doesn’t take a a highly trained eye to distinguish from the counterfeit. You can’t knock this off.

When Karl Lagerfeld was asked what does Carrying a 2.55 say about its wearer (as opposed to the hottest new trend?) he replied:

“Women who carry the 2.55 don’t need style advice about how to carry it. It is so casual and so friendly you don’t need a lesson. There are no borderlines of generations for Chanel bags.”

Between my mom and I, we’ve curated our own collection of Chanel handbags. Let’s see how our collection stands up to next week’s exhibit.

Be sure to check out the April issue of Flare for Tina Isaac’s complete article.

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