Think of Chanel and the #CHANELICONICBAG immediately comes to mind. Known by many other names (Classic, Classic Flap, 11.12), it has become a bag staple in every woman’s wardrobe, and the fact that it is instantly recognised (even amongst your non-fashion loving friends) speaks volumes of how popular it is the world over.
And while she might have many names, she is officially known as the 11.12, an original creation dreamt up by Karl Lagerfeld back in the 80s. Just where did the inspiration come from? Well, Lagerfeld took design cues from the 2.55 (created in February 1955 by Mademoiselle Gabrielle Chanel) and kept the original boxy shape and the piqué retourné (‘stitch and turn’) technique. And like its predecessor, the 11.12 is fully equipped with several functional pockets (7 to be exact), with the unmistakable diamond quilting that are all signatures of this bag till this very day.
Lagerfeld did introduce his very own twists as well, from the addition of the CC clasp and the metallic chain interlaced with leather, and had initially made them in grained caviar leather and smooth yet supple lambskin leather. Over time, seasonal styles included denim, jersey, tweed and velvet, appearing from time to time on the 11.12 to match runway collections but more importantly, give fans something new to be excited over.
There’s a wide variety of sizes like the Mini (think Mini Square and Mini Rectangle), as well as Small, Medium, Large (previously known as Jumbo) and Maxi, with Chanel ensuring that there’s a size for everyone no matter the occasion. Fancy something small and cute for evenings and weekends? Just go for the mini ones. Need something bigger to double up as a workhorse? That’s where the large and maxi sizes come in. But you could say the most popular sizes are the in-between ones in small and medium, small enough not to look overly bulky, yet big enough for most days out.
And because this is the year the French luxury house is honouring the 11.12, it has roped in creative dream duo Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin to shoot a series of images that pay homage to and showcase the icon. Loop the leather-interlaced chain strap twice and you’ve got a shorter sling to wear casually over the shoulder, or keep it long and it becomes the perfect across-the-body bag sitting perfectly at the hip. In other words, it is more than just a classic, but the companion to your everyday life.