The Chanel 2.55 bag was created for successful ladies in need of glamorous, hands-free totes. And, as with many of Chanel’s creations, the bag was an instant and absolute sensation. Now, 54 years after it first hit the market, Brazilian women are falling for the 2.55 all over again: from intimate gatherings in luxury shops to funky parties at night clubs, the iconic gold and leather strap is seen hanging on seemingly every lady’s shoulder.
Most of the bag’s fans describe it as ageless. L’Officiel‘s Brazil editor Silvana Holzmeister proudly traversed the fashion weeks with it, while Daslu’s commercial director Lica Gordilho confirms the current craze in Brazil: “The 2.55 bag is [everywhere] and it’s funny because it’s independent of the public.” Gordilho noted that she bought her own classic 2.55 bag eleven years ago and has a handful of stories to go with it: “When picking my friends up at the hotel [during carnival], I noticed they were all wearing the 2.55 Chanel bags and I had to convince them to leave the bags in their rooms for safety reasons…they spent the night complaining, saying they felt nude without the bag.” Filme Fashion editor Alexandra Farrah wrote about going to a bikini launch and noticing that eight in ten women were using a 2.55 Chanel bag. Fashion journalist Constanza Pascolato had the same impression, noting that the last time this bag had such hype in Brazil was during the ’80s.
According to Marie Laure Clos-Solari, Chanel’s publicist in Latin America, the bag is a hit in Brazil because it implies quality and high luxury, but also has “the ability to adapt to the desires of different generations.” And no wonder: the production process for each bag takes up to 18 hours and is done by 6 to 15 people who are part of the 180 production stages (50% produced in black) in a small town—home to 3,000 people—about 70 kilometers north of Paris. Approximately 200 to 300 prototypes are produced for each collection before any bag goes into production and around 30 are selected to be replicated. In the site’s archive there are nearly 3,000 different bags lined up like trophies—a visual map of Chanel’s history and an inspirational panel for the design team.
Although, Chanel doesn’t communicate in figures, the brand appears to be doing well in Brazil. With a couple of stores in São Paulo, the brand plans to launch more boutiques over the next three years. With 2009 being celebrated as the year of France in Brazil, there is no doubt that the 2.55 Chanel bag already reconquered its place as “The Bag” on Brazilian shoulders and in Brazilian hearts.