What's in a name? Well, lots, if Chanel's newest arm candy is of any indication. Making its debut this fall/winter 2019 season is the Chanel 19, a chic shoulder bag that pays tribute to the Maison's heritage in more ways than one.
For starters, the number references more than just the year and season the bag was launched in. 19 is an important numeral for the House because it marks Mademoiselle Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel's birth date (she was born on August 19, 1883). This move to name the bag also mirrors that of another Chanel icon – the 2.55, which was christened as such when Chanel herself conceived it in February 1955.
A practical companion imbued with elegance and sophistication, the bag bears all the hallmarks of a classic Chanel design. There's the unmistakable quilting pattern – this time executed in a bigger diamond shape for a fresh take on a House motif.
Another distinctive feature is the flap bag's metal chains, now adopting a sleek ombre finish that contrasts perfectly to the bag's supple, almost pillow-like shape. To elevate the appeal even further, the double-C closure has been reworked to give the bag a contemporary vigour.
Conceptualised by Karl Lagerfeld and Virginie Viard, the Chanel 19 was presented alongside a ready-to-wear collection that riffed on apres-ski dressing. A poignant showing that took place in the shadows of Lagerfeld's passing, the selection of tweed skirt-suits, wide-legged pants and sweeping coats attested to his ingenuity.
So did the Chanel 19 – held in the arms as a clutch or worn around the waist like a fanny pack, it marked both the birth, and the end of, a glorious era. Here are the emblematic Chanel bags created during Lagerfeld's revolutionary tenure.
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THE BOY CHANEL
Lagerfeld was never known to be sentimental for the past. But at Chanel, he wove the founder's legacy into his endeavours with the seasoned hand of a storyteller. The Boy Chanel is one such example of his achievement. In 2011, Lagerfeld crafted the bag and built it around the love affair of Coco Chanel and Boy Capel, an English aristocrat widely considered to be her first true love.
If there's a bag that brings together tradition and modernity, the Classic is it. An interpretation of the 2.55 by Lagerfeld, the bag boasts the same versatile rectangular shape and handy inner pockets that have made its predecessor an enduring hit. Released in the 80s, Lagerfeld wove leather into the chains and replaced the clasp with interlocking Cs to set the Classic apart. Today, it stands on its own as a veritable treasure.
The launch of the Gabrielle bag in 2017 marked Chanel's renewed efforts to introduce another icon into its vernacular. Lagerfeld took a different route with the Gabrielle by instilling the bag with a unisex appeal. To prove its gender-neutral qualities, the designer enlisted Pharrell Williams to front the campaign. Even G-Dragon got into the act as well – the chameleonic K-pop superstar often included the bag as part of his flamboyant persona.
THE NOVELTY BAG
Much has been said about Chanel's novelty bags, which often take on whimsical forms that play off the themes of the collections. From milk cartons to space rockets, the bags have been primed for an Instagram age. Some of these clutches have gone on to achieve cult collectible status, which only adds to their allure.