Is there any handbag more iconic than a Chanel bag? Upon receiving my first Chanel classic, I vividly remember shedding a tiny tear. It felt as if it had been passed down from the hands of Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel to Karl Lagerfeld and then myself. With the long shoulder strap freeing women’s hands and the zipped pouch ideal for keeping secrets, it not only was a symbol of fashion but one of femininity and freedom as well. Excuse the drama—or don’t. Chanel deserves it.
Since the inception of Chanel in 1910, the luxury brand has continued to grow alongside women as we have gained more rights and power and continued the quest for equality. Chanel is a symbol of strength, and it just so happens that Chanel bags are incredibly chic and enhance any outfit. One can look back at history to trace the evolution of Chanel, and that’s just what we’ve done below with the 10 most popular Chanel bags.
When Gabrielle Chanel created the 2.55 in February 1955 (hence the name), it created quite the scandal. It was the first women’s bag to come with a shoulder strap, leaving women free to do as they pleased with their hands, including shoving them in their pockets, for instance. It was considered a sign of rebellion, and women were thrilled with their newfound freedom. Another hidden fun fact about the bag: The secret zip pocket installed inside was originally intended for storing secret love letters, as Coco Chanel did when she was reportedly in the midst of an illicit affair herself.
Last but not least, the Camera Case. With a similar purpose to that of the WOC or the Gabrielle, the Camera Case provides a small, structured leather pouch meant to be toted over the shoulder and across the chest. Ariana Grande and Ashley Benson are lovers of this tiny tote, adding it to the collection of must-have iconic Chanel bags.
This story was originally published at an earlier date and has since been updated.