The Classic flap bag was one of Coco Chanel’s biggest success stories. Ask people about Coco Chanel and if there’s one thing that will get mentioned about her was the atypical representation of femininity she displayed. The type of elegance she promoted was far from the corseted figure of the time, but incorporating feminine features in practical designs and drawing inspiration from menswear. The classic flap bag is probably the best proof for this theory; just like Coco herself, the appreciation it receives stems from both the distinctive aesthetics and remarkable practicality.
It’s not difficult to understand why the Chanel classic flap is still such a success for the House of Chanel. First of all, it’s a simple timeless piece that can’t go out of style, as it has been proving for almost 60 years, while still maintaining a sense of exclusivity. Some people choose to look at it as a fashion statement as well as an investment, considering the prices increase almost every six months and the colour palette is unique for each season.
Second of all, the flap bag is of typical Coco Chanel practicality; small but surprisingly spacious. Whether you’re going out for brunch with your friends, a long day at work or a movie premiere on the red carpet, you can always find room for your lipstick. Or your love letters, if your gentleman is as charming as Coco’s.
I don’t even need to tell you these things, the chances are that you’ve seen at least a dozen photos of a Chanel flap bag hanging on the shoulder of a revered actress, a fashion icon or a famous singer. You see Jessica Alba share a drink with her husband while talking a walk on Hollywood Boulevard, then Blake Lively getting ready to shoot a scene of the popular series Gossip Girl, while Kirsten Dunst hugs Karl Lagerfeld before the Chanel’s Spring show in Paris. What do they have in common you ask? A small plum Reissue 2.55 is the answer. Plum is not the easiest shade to accessorize but it’s a Chanel flap, it goes with anything: dark jeans and a sweater, a casual beige dress with nude sandals or a fiery red gown with black pumps. You choose a classic Chanel flap bag to go for a walk because it’s comfortable, you choose one for a TV show because it’s stylish so it looks good on camera and you choose it for a fashion show because it’s something timeless and elegant you’ll be complimented for.
It’s got to the point where usual methods of promoting the product, like adverts or photo-shoots are rendered useless since whoever your fashion icon is, she will at some point carry one of these bags. The best part is that it’s not a piece of fashion only meant for renowned personalities; if you are willing to meet its fair value, you too could own something special to hold your belongings while you wear a flowery silk dress for a date or a geometric print T-shirt under a vest while going to the movies. There are many (more or less) expensive temptations out there, but you know it’s the right choice to wait until you can acquire your dream Chanel bag, because it’s something you will love and wear for a long time; it will only be more valuable as time goes on.
The quilted stitching presumably inspired by jockey’s riding coats, the burgundy lining alike the uniforms worn at the convent Coco Chanel grew up in or the chain shoulder strap resembling the ones her caretakers used to carry their keys on, are all evidence of Coco Chanel’s inspiration. She saw fashion where no one else did. And maybe this is the story that sells. Not that it needs one, but its history does give each particular bag a touch of personality.