Handbags and Accessories

The Always Timeless Chanel Classic Flap Bag

By Lindsey Weiss
Shop Chanel Classic Flap Bags , Available for Immediate Shipping
Chanel Classic Flap Bag

History of Chanel Classic Flap Bag

Since it's introduction in 1983, the Chanel Classic Flap Bag has remained timeless and sought after. Karl Lagerfeld reinterpreted Chanel’s iconic 2.55 Flap bag with a few two key new features. Lagerfeld added a leather woven chain and Double C turn-lock closure. Lagerfeld’s Classic Flap Bag was an instant success. In spring 2021, the Chanel Classic Flap was renamed to the 11.12, in honor of the original Medium Classic Flap’s style code – A01112. The universal wearability and simplicity of the Chanel Classic Flap solidified this bag as an iconic statement piece. In addition, the Chanel Classic Flap Bag comes with an endless range of options, including quilting (the iconic classic vs. the more youthful chevron), materials, sizes, and hardware combinations.

Variations on the Chanel Classic Flap

The Chanel Classic Flap comes in two main variations – single and double flap. The Chanel Classic Double Flap bag version has an extra interior flap. This interior flap separates the interior of the handbag from the main exterior flap. Beyond the practicality of the Chanel Double Flap’s multiple pockets to organize one’s daily essentials, a playful anecdote has long been rumored around the history of these compartments – Chanel purse loyalists say that Coco Chanel would hide her love letters in the zip pocket located underneath the handbag’s outer flap. Each Classic Double Flap bag is handcrafted at the Ateliers de Verneuil-en-Halatte, one of Chanel’s prized Metiers d’Art workshops. The artisans at this shop have each trained for a minimum of four years, mastering every technique required to meticulously craft the Chanel Classic Double Flap, a process that takes a total of 15 hours and up to 180 operations. Almost thirty years later, and out of all the Chanel handbags on the market, the Chanel Classic Flap Bag remains one of the most sought-after pieces ever crafted. The Chanel Classic Single Flap comes in a range of sizes. The mini classic flap bag only comes in single flap style.

Chanel Classic Flap Mini

Chanel Classic Flap Bag Light Beige Quilted Lambskin Rectangle Mini Gold Hardware

The Chanel Mini Flap was released in 2010 and quickly became one of the most desirable variations of the timeless Chanel Classic Flap bag. The Mini Flap is the quintessential shoulder/crossbody bag and taps directly into the mini bag trend of present day. Importantly the Mini Flap is 16.5 x 14 x 6.5 CM and still large enough to carry your daily essentials. The Chanel Mini Flap has the iconic CC turnlock, flap bag design and interwoven leather chain. The one obvious difference between the Chanel Mini Flap and the Chanel Classic line is that it only comes in a single flap were as most sizes come in both single and double flap. The smaller size and absence of a second flap allows for a more attainable price point. This highly desired style is almost always sold out at boutiques around the world. The Mini Flap bag is an undeniable craze among Chanel bag lovers, and shows no indication of leaving the spotlight.

Chanel Classic Flap Small

Chanel Classic Flap Small Pink Quilted Caviar Gold Hardware

The smallest bag with a double flap is the Small Chanel Classic Flap. It measures 14.5 x 23 x 6 CM and is a great every day size. It can hold more than the mini flap and can be found in both single and double flap variations. Pink Chanel bags are popular with collectors, especially in caviar leather. Small Classic Flap Bags are also much rarer on the secondary market since fewer are made. This size is also highly desirable since smaller bags have increased in popularity over the last 5 years as smart phones have replaced many items we used to carry around.

Chanel Classic Flap Medium

Vintage Chanel Classic Flap Bag Medium Black Quilted Lambskin Gold Hardware, 1995

The medium Chanel Classic Flap Bag is the most popular size. If you're only going to buy one Chanel Classic Flap Bag, a vintage double flap in black lambskin with gold hardware would be our recommendation. Vintage Chanel bags from the 80s and 90s are cult classics and are the most timeless of all of the Chanel Classic Flap Bags. The older lambskin bags patina in a way that can't be matched by more modern lambskin bags. Chanel bags older than 2008 have 24K gold plated hardware, which also makes them more valuable than modern bags.

Chanel Classic Flap Jumbo and Maxi

Chanel Classic Flap Jumbo Red Quilted Shiny Caviar Silver Hardware

The largest Chanel Classic Flap Bags come in Jumbo and Maxi sizes. The Jumbo is 19.5 x 30 x 10 CM and the Maxi is 22 x 33 x 10 CM. While larger bags have declined in popularity in the last 5 years, the prices are often more attractive for these larger bags on secondary markets like Sotheby's Buy Now Marketplace. If you need more space for your daily essentials the larger Chanel Classic Flap Bags are the right choice. They come in both Single and Double Flap variations. The Chanel Single Classic Flaps are lighter weight but many collectors still prefer the Double Flap.

Chanel Classic Flap Maxi Black Quilted Caviar Gold Hardware

Sotheby's lists new Chanel Classic Flap Bags weekly, so make sure to check regularly if you can't find your timeless Chanel Classic Flap Bag.

Stay informed with Sotheby’s top stories, videos, events & news.

Receive the best from Sotheby’s delivered to your inbox.

By subscribing you are agreeing to Sotheby’s Privacy Policy. You can unsubscribe from Sotheby’s emails at any time by clicking the “Manage your Subscriptions” link in any of your emails.

More from Sotheby's