In the 1920s, Coco Chanel became tired of having to carry her handbags in her arms and decided to design a handbag that freed up her hands. Inspired by the straps found on soldiers' bags she added thin straps and introduced the resulting design to the market in 1929.
After her successful comeback to the fashion industry in 1954,Chaneldecided to update her handbag, for the modern women. The resulting design was called 2.55 after the date of creation, February 1955. The bag has a number of features: The lining's burgundy colour represents the colour of the uniforms at the convent where she grew up.
There is a zippered compartment at the inside of the front flap. That is whereChanel is rumoured to have stored her love letters in her original bag. The backside has a back outside flap for storage of money. Chanel recognizing that the modern women needed to have their hands free while attending social functions designed a double chain shoulder strap, something common in down-market products, but rare in luxury circles at the time.
The chains were attached by leather-threaded chain inserted though eyelets. The caretakers of the convent she grew up at hold the keys at their waist dangling from the same type of chains as the 2.55 shoulder strap chains.
The bag originally came with a front lock called 'the Mademoiselle Lock' (in reference toCoco Chanel never marrying). Since the 1980s, versions can also be supplied with a lock in the shape of a double CC logo. These called 'Classic Flaps'. The bag has a quilted diamond or herringbone pattern on the exterior. Using a running stitch, this gives the bag shape and volume.
The pattern is believed to have been inspired by several sources: by jockeys' riding coats, the stained-glass windows of the abbey at Aubazine, as well as by the cushions in Chanel's Paris apartment.