The Chanel Flap Bag

With a history dating back to the 1920s, the Chanel flap bag is iconic. Worn by princesses, actors, and women all over the world, the Chanel flap has never gone out of style. Its style is timeless, its silhouette instantly recognisable, and its popularity enduring.

History of the Chanel flap bag

Coco Chanel first conceived the idea of a handbag with an over-the-shoulder strap in the 1920s. The story goes that she became tired of holding her handbag in her hands and decided to design an alternative. Apparently inspired by soldiers’ packs, she used a log strap to hold the bag over the wearer’s shoulder. This was a game-changer for handbag design at the time as it allowed women to go “hands-free”.

Despite creating this revolutionary design in the twenties, Chanel didn’t debut her flap bag until February 1955. It is from this date that the first model for the Chanel double flap gets its name – the 2.55.

In 1982, Karl Lagerfeld joined Chanel as creative director and ushered in many changes to the Parisian fashion house. Notably, he spearheaded a redesign of the classic flap bag, creating the iconic interlocking CC twist lock. Since then, Chanel has continued to innovate new handbag designs constantly keeping the wearer’s needs in mind, whilst providing that signature Chanel flare in design.

Chanel Flap Bags in The Designer Collection June 2022

The Designer Collection auction in June features one classic, vintage, black flap bag and another more unusual seasonal style:

Chanel 1990 Double Flap handbag

Lot 61 – circa 1990 Double Flap handbag. The classic flap bag is one of a handful of designs that have remained key in handbag collections for over 70 years. Its sleek and timeless design allows the wearer to go from day to night. It even contains a slip pocket designed for holding lipstick. 

2015 Flower Power Extra mini flap bag.

Lot 53 – a 2015 Flower Power Extra mini flap bag. The mini flap bag is currently not part of the permanent line at Chanel. Chanel releases special designs seasonally which usually coincides with their latest fashion show. This scarcity makes these handbags very collectable and desirable. The vibrant colours from the 2015 S/S fashion were inspired by the French manifestations (protests and demonstrations) of the sixties and today.

Different Chanel styles

As well as flap bags, the auction also features many other desirable Chanel styles. Our auction manager has picked out his top lots below:

Chanel beige CC Cambon leather tote bag.

Lot 54 – a beige CC Cambon leather tote bag. In 2004, Chanel released the Cambon Line. Although there were many models in different shapes, sizes, and colourways. Each piece included the iconic CC brand logo stitched onto the leather side of the handbag. The Cambon Tote was proved to be a favourite of the line. Now a discontinued model, its shape and capacity allow the wearer to go from a trip to the shops to the beach and beyond.

Chanel Mini Kelly bag

Lot 55 – Mini Kelly bag. An icon from the mid ’90s, the Chanel mini Kelly pre-dated the mini-bag craze that came later. Its slender top handles and sophisticated shape make for the perfect accessory for dining out or attending an event. In later years Chanel redesigned the Kelly model, in various sizes and leathers. 

Chanel 1990 white leather bucket bag.

LOT 62 – circa 1990 white leather bucket bag. The bucket bag makes it easy for anyone in a hurry to pack/ unpack their belongings easily and efficiently. This example is in white Calfskin leather with a drawstring top and a CC stitched base. This is an early model which Chanel has constantly redesigned over the years to suit the season.

Viewing Times


Wednesday 1st June 10:00 – 16:00

Monday 6th June 8:30 – 10:00

Virtual viewings are available by request. Using Zoom, you can ask us whatever you need to know in order to buy with confidence. Find out more here.


The process is simple, so you can get a valuation now:

Fill in a form online. In addition, you can book an appointment to visit our offices in Birmingham and London. Moreover, you can book a virtual valuation appointment.

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