Recently I was fortunate to visit the exhibition The Secrets of the Chanel Handbag held at Chanels New York flagship store on 57th St it was only on for a limited run from May 8-16 (I am hoping that the exhibition will travel and visit us in London! The exhibit demonstrated the construction and history of the companys iconic 2.55 bags. The exhibition had 7 flat screen TVs, each screen showed the 7 steps in making the handbag, (cut, quilting, assembly, shaping, turning out, chain and leather, packing) it was all fascinating and mesmerizing! Basically the cutting and stitching is all done by specially designed machine tools and 80% of the total production time is spent on the prep work involving over 180 stages. Once all the components are prepped up all the pieces are then put together by hand by Chanels own master craftsmen which involve over 10 hours skilled work. The bags are sewn together inside out and then it was passed onto the next person who specialized in delicately turning them back out – in keeping with Mademoiselle Chanels firm belief in the importance of hidden luxury: the inside should be as good as the outside. As a result, the same amount of care still goes into the lining of each bag as goes into its exterior. Once the bag is put together they then screw in all the hardware and grommets etc. The chain was made last and when the bag was finished it was dusted and polished before beautifully wrapping it in tissue paper and dust bag.
The CHANEL classic handbag was the first to be worn and not hand held since the role of women was changing the traditional handbags at the time were too impractical. As a result the shoulder strap made its debut in the world of fashion.
I didnt see other archive bags through I think that would have been really cool to have seen the very first CHANEL 2.55! Or maybe it would look how it is today or how much would it have been worth???
Today the Chanel 2.55 purse is just as much an It bag as it always was. In 2005, in celebration of the bag’s 50th anniversary, Lagerfeld revived the design exactly as Mademoiselle Chanel had made it, and the reissue proved even more popular than its original. Lagerfeld named the iconic interlocking double C look Mademoiselle Lock as Chanel never married.