Saturday, 17 November 2012

Secrets of the bag, the Chanel Story.

French for "turning", one of the essential process of making a Perfect Chanel Bag

Earlier this month, I was given the opportunity (like every over free willed Singaporean) to experience first Hand the Chanel’s “Les Secrets Du Sac” exhibition, which was nothing short of mystery, allure and sophistication.  It was pure Opulence at every turn, decadence with every adorned accessory. Is there no end to Chanel’s creative engine? In celebration of Chanel’s 50 year anniversary since the introduction of the Iconic 2.55 Chanel bag, the exhibition dedicated its lavish & decadent  space to put on display one of the most iconic bags in the world , of which has become synonymous with luxury, wealth and the epitome of style. Aficionados of the Parisian Fashion house such as yours truly will(or would have) experienced being within close range of bags ranging from past collaborations to Special one off pieces that were, even among other Chanel handbags, considered scandalously exotic and poisoned with luxury. Educating every Silly Sap one step at a time about what went behind the success story now known as the Chanel 2.55, Chanel left no room for error.

Ever since its innovation by Mademoiselle Gabrielle Chanel herself, the Chanel 2.55 bag (named for the month and year of its design) has made a name for itself and stands as a symbol of how practicality and style are both one and the same. During Mademoiselle’s time, the women of her era were accustomed to carrying big and bulky bags( LIKE THE BALENCIAGA BAG, #justsaying) that often left their hands occupied. It was from there that Chanel who was known for her intuitiveness, Fashioned the first 2.55 bag, a bag that would primarily revolutionize and change the way women carried their bags.  With its pioneering chain strap feature that freed up a woman’s hands, it allowed versatility in presentation and comfort. Women could now use their hands for more “practical” means.   :D

the lambskin STILL looks so buttery, its a testimony of Chanel's craftsmanship.

A Chanel 2.55 in Jersey , used by Mademoiselle Gabrielle Chanel herself.  Chanel: made to last a lifetime and longer. 

Not only does the bag free up the user’s hands, it also seamlessly compliments the sensuality of the woman who dons it. Legendary is its quilted diamond pattern, inspired by the jackets worn by the stable lads at the racecourse which Chanel visited during her youth. Channeling the extravagant lifestyle of aristocracy, Chanel prides itself with its attention to detail and creativity in design. A testament to this would be like how Chanel only allows a skilled artisan who has worked with them for 5 years to be commissioned to produce a 2.55 bag.  It takes skill, dedication and passion for the brand’s manifesto of sophistication and allure.  Embodying true Artisan craftsmanship, Chanel demonstrates how it’s not just the bag that makes Chanel, It’s the mystery & heritage behind the bag
harlequin patterned Chanel Boy Bag, Not commonly used as the 2.55 but equally as elegant 

When walking into its luxuriant posh space, one will be greeted by quotes from Karl Lagerfeld (current creative director of Chanel) And Coco Chanel.  

What awaits inside are bags galore, all seated on their own individual black pedestals lit up by a matte white light that accentuates the allure of each and every curve on the bag.

black luster vibe with matte lighting, a classic Chanel backdrop

  To embody versatility for which the 2.55 is known for, Chanel exhibited its collaboration collection of 2.55 bags with the American Luxury label Chrome hearts. The bag takes on a canvas feature, allowing for aspects of the two very distinctive brands to mold together, forming a bag that represents a mix of two types of style: chic and sophisticated.  
Chrome Hearts x  Chanel = Match made in heaven

disney x Chanel , a magnificent pairing. 
A special treat for all ardent Chanel Fans would be a rare look at the 2.55 bags that Mademoiselle Gabrielle Chanel herself used during her time as Chanel’s leading lady.  Surprisingly, or rather not so surprisingly, the bags still had its sturdy form and looked pristine, like a fine wine that’s aged beautifully. This in and of itself shows Chanel’s dedication to workmanship, for their bags are meant to stand the test of time.  As the exhibition stretches on, it further displays Chanel’s incredibly opulent collection of 2.55 bags in alligator skin. For those who aren’t accustomed to such materials used in the production of leather goods and garment, alligator skin is as exotic and as luxurious as any bag can get.  What with The enigmatic allure Chanel’s heritage has, a bag made from such a material would be $90000+ a pop.

the Symbolic Mademoiselle lock, the predecessor of the double C clasp we all know today.

 Inevitably,  The Highlight of the Experience was being able to witness the creation process and the meticulous craftsmanship that goes in to making a 2.55 bag.   With an almost theatre like vibe, Chanel prepared a mosaic of screens that depicted all at once, the 180 different stages of making the iconic bag.  The theatre was replicated to resemble the inner burgunday lining of an actual 2.55 chanel bag, HOW COOL IS THAT!! 

Surprisingly, the quilting is not hand sown but by machine stitching, thought the stitch never overlaps the same hole. 

  Essentially, it explains the 7 stages: cutting, quilting, assembly, turning out the bag, shaping, chain and leather and finally, packaging. Every process is precisely calibrated to ensure perfection on every surface of the bag.     Through this event wonderfully orchestrated by Chanel all over the world, it gives people a chance to understand why the Chanel 2.55 iconic bag, with its simple yet chic design, has become a coveted trophy among the wealthy and powerful. It’s not difficult to understand when such perfection to design and creativity is so clearly manifested through items like their iconic bag.  Truly, a once in a lifetime experience. 
Casually disturbing the Friendly Chanel Staff which my invading camera lenses :D

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