When it comes to Chanel’s 2.55 and Classic Flap, it’s a common case of mistaken identity. Most of us tend to use the term “2.55” to refer to the quilted classic flap and use the terms quite interchangeably due to the similar style in silhouette and design, apart from a few minor (but significant) details, but don’t forget that it’s the nitty-gritty elements that enable us to distinguish between the two!
The numbers 2.55 symbolise the month and year in which the bag was first released: February 1955. While it’s true that both the 2.55 and Classic Flap are indeed flap bags, the 2.55 features a rectangular turnlock closure – called the Mademoiselle lock – which was originally designed by Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel. It wasn’t until the 1980s when Karl Lagerfeld added the interlocking Cs onto the flap of the bag as a tribute to Coco. With that, the Classic Flap was born.
Some time after the introduction of the Classic Flap, production of the 2.55 actually stopped. It was only in 2005 that the 2.55 was revived from the Chanel archives to commemorate its 50th anniversary. Called the Reissue 2.55, it regained its status as a house icon, a title shared with its younger sibling, the Classic Flap. Technically speaking, the term “Reissue” should only be used to refer to the 2005 versions, which were exact replicas of Coco Chanel’s version from 1955. Nowadays however, “Reissue” and “2.55” have become a convenient way to distinguish between the one with the original Mademoiselle turnlock and the Classic Flap with the interlocking Cs.
Since its reintroduction, there have been minor readjustments to the original 2.55 design including the strap, leathers used, as well as the inner flap. Some come without an additional inner flap (single flap), while others come with double flaps. However, after its Reissue, the 2.55 is only available in the double flap version.
In terms of the strap, the Classic Flap bag has the signature chain link straps that are interlaced with leather, whereas the 2.55 Reissue has flat tarnished-looking double chain straps and hardware. Although they’re also available in patent, canvas and an array of exotic skins, the leather versions of the 2.55 come in creased, distressed leathers to create the worn vintage look, while the Classic Flap comes in either Lambskin (smooth) or Caviar (calf leather with a pebbled-effect ), which is more scratch-resistant in comparison.
Bag Addicts Anonymous a.k.a. Bei Yan is the editor and founder of Bag Addicts Anonymous, a blog that specialises in designer handbags. She can be contacted at [email protected], or you can follow her on Twitter and Instagram via @bagaddictsanon