The Classic Flap and the Re-issue are undisputedly two of most iconic handbags of all time. Chanel signatures that come with a fascinating backstory, not only are these two bags beloved amongst the fashion lovers and insiders of the world, but they are necessary staple pieces to have in any luxury wardrobe. Though the Classic Flap and the Re-issue are very similar in style and design, it's the small, subtle touches that make all the difference. It's no surprise that over the years Chanel has stayed true to their traditional roots by maintaining similar aesthetics, after all that's why Chanel has remained so relevant and significant in today's fashion realm. Though a brand rooted in history with a long-established reputation to maintain, Chanel perfectly combines the traditional with the modern, the contemporary with the classic and the timeless with the innovative.
Although the Classic Flap may be the more popular of the two, what many don't know is that the Re-issue (also known as the 2.55) is the original handbag designed by Coco Chanel herself in 1929. Like all other bags during that era, the bag was hand-carried and heavy. It wasn't until February 1955 (hence the name 2.55) that Coco Chanel debuted a shoulder-carried version of the bag - and to say the least, it changed handbag history. Handbags were now status symbols and it was essential for wealthy women to carry one on their shoulders. Carefully crafted from quilted calfskin leather, the Re-issue featured a burgundy leather interior - this hue represents the colour of the uniforms Coco Chanel wore at the covent she once grew up in. Rumoured to be the place where Chanel stored her love letters, the bag also features a zippered compartment inside the front flap. A rear pocket is also featured on the bag, used for storing money. Also inspired by her time at the covent, Chanel designed the double chain strap in reference to the keychains the caretakers used to wear. Finally, the turn-lock closure depicted at the front of the bag, named the "Mademoiselle" in reference to Coco Chanel never marrying, is the final detail that makes up the infamous Re-issue.
One of the most acclaimed and instantly recognizable handbags in fashion history, the Classic Flap is...well...a classic, to say the least. A timeless piece that exudes elegance and femininity, the Classic Flap oozes luxury. With the same design as the Re-issue, the Classic Flap depicts some differences that ultimately skyrocketed its popularity. In 1983 Chanel appointed Karl Lagerfeld as creative director, a decade after Coco passed away and 5 years after the brand's first ready-to-wear collection. Staying true to Coco's legacy but wanting to add his own touch to the brand, Lagerfeld introduced the double CC lock closure, replacing the Mademoiselle lock. The interwoven leather strap is also strictly a Classic Flap feature, as the Re-issue straps are all chain. Given the lock design, it's no surprise that the Classic Flap triumphs the Re-issue when it comes to demand. The CC logo is the most recognized logo of all time, along with the LV monogram. The Classic Flap embodies Chanel - it's a status symbol that doesn't scream "I have money" in design or style. It's understated but wildly famous at the same time. It's the ultimate handbag that any woman with a love for luxury needs in their wardrobe.
Classic stitched, quilted pattern
CC stitched logo on interior flap
Zip pocket on the interior front flap
A rear pocket
An open compartment with a large, additional slip pocket
Classic Flaps have the double CC turn-lock style where Re-issues have the rectangular, Mademoiselle lock
Classic Flaps have the interwoven leather-chain strap where Re-issues have all-chain straps
Classic Flaps are most commonly crafted from caviar or lambskin leather where Re-issues are most commonly crafted from crinkled, aged calfskin
Although it's easy to see the physical differences between the two bags, there are stylistic differences as well. We say this in the most modest way possible, but here at Bagista, we pride ourselves in being handbag experts. Our job is to make sure that you invest in a bag that suits you and one that you will have for years to come - and if it's a Chanel, one that you will have for the rest of your life.
When deciding between the Classic Flap and the Re-issue there are a couple things to take into account. If you're the kind of woman with a love for all things original, then the Re-issue is for you. Preferred by the more mature woman, the Re-issue is more discreet and less common compared to the Classic Flap. The Re-issue is also laid-back given it's lightweight and distressed-like calfskin, although both bags can be dressed up or down, the Re-issue is slightly more casual.
The Classic Flap is most women's first choice when investing in a Chanel, given that it's the brand's ultimate signature. With a slightly more youthful aesthetic, you'll find every kind of woman at any age carrying a Classic Flap on their shoulder. Slightly heavier than the Re-issue, the Classic Flap is also more suited for formal occasions. On the down side, the Classic Flap is one of the most counterfeited bags in the world. This tends to bother a lot of women and some have said that it makes them feel like their authentic Chanel looses its significance when so many fakes exist. Though this may not bother you, it is something to take into account.
Regardless of what Chanel bag you personally lean more towards, either one is a worthy investment that you will treasure for the rest of your life. The true definition of a "must-have", there aren't many women in the world who don't lust over owning a Chanel Flap. Rooted in history, these timeless classics have left a mark on fashion and its industry forever. A purchase that you will never regret, a Chanel bag isn't just a bag. It's history, it's storytelling, it's a statement and an experience. It's something that will make you feel proud and beautiful to wear everyday - not to mention, your daughter (or son) will thank you one day when it gets past on to them. Carry a little bit of Paris with you wherever you go, the Classic Flap and the Re-issue are not just pieces you want... if you're a woman with an undying love for luxury, well... they're pieces you need. ;)