When it comes to fashion, few accessories command the status and timeless appeal of the Chanel 11.12 handbag.
In a new campaign entitled The Chanel Iconic, the French fashion house taps the talents of photographers Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin to capture the elegance of the renewed design. Set in the picturesque neighbourhood of Saint-Germain-des-Prés in Paris, model Anna Mouglalis, Rianne van Rompaey, Imaan Hammam, Louise de Chevigny and Zoé Adjani showcase the Chanel 11.12 bag in a series of artistic photographs.
The origin story dates to February 1955, when Gabriel Chanel first introduced the epochal 2.55 rectangular leather bag to consumers. Creative director Karl Lagerfeld later elevated Gabrielle’s vision in a reinterpretation dubbed the 11.12 bag in the early 1980s. The iteration differs from its predecessor by a clasp decorated with a double C and a metal chain interlaced with leather.
Each stunning detail reflects the maison’s heritage, bearing all the hallmarks of a bag created by a couturière. It is beautiful on the inside and out. The bag in a bag concept works according to the piqué retourné or turn-and-stitch technique, held in place with points de bride stitches. The style also features the incorporation of seven functional pockets. On the surface, diamond-quilted topstitching with the point droit de couturière technique envelopes the top of the bag for ornamentation that takes inspiration from the equestrian world, so precious to Gabrielle Chanel.
“The 11.12 bag is simply Chanel. It is one of the iconic pieces that tell the whole story, with all the elegance of the maison. It looks like Chanel,” confides Anna Mouglalis. “I think its iconic status comes from the simplicity of the shape. If you ask someone to draw a bag, this is the one that comes to mind immediately thanks to its ultimate refinement.”
“I think every girl’s biggest dream is to own a Chanel bag,” Imaan Hammam resumes. “I was able to buy my first Chanel bag when I was 17, and I remember saving so much money for it, it was a mini version of the 11.12, black on black, and I still have it. This bag is just very chic, elegant and feminine. When I wear it, I feel effortless and powerful,” the Dutch model confesses.
“Everybody, since you’re a little girl, knows what the classic Chanel bag looks like. It has such a history. And especially in fashion, every season everything changes so fast, it’s nice to see these classic bags that have been around for so long. Reinterpreted every time, but with the same DNA,” says Rianne van Rompaey. “It’s the most famous bag in the world. It has some fairy tale to it.”
Transcending time and trend, the Chanel 11.12 bag is a paradox – universal, yet intimate. It is designed for every woman and passed on as an heirloom of personal heritage. Imagined for the pace of everyday life, the 11.12 offers unequivocal style and functionality. It boasts delicacy and refinement with supple lambskin leather. Alternatives are also available in grained calfskin, better known as caviar, alongside other materials from Chanel’s ready-to-wear collections, including jersey, tweed, silk, velvet and denim.
Photographers Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin concur with the vibrant models. “The Chanel 11.12 bag is part of your life forever. It is pure perfection in its proportion, simplicity, and understated timeless luxury. The five women in this campaign are icons in their own right. They embody the multiple generations that Chanel has touched.” To own a Chanel 11.12 bag is truly to own a piece of history. This masterpiece is the perfect companion to the evolving lives of women without the risk of losing its modernity.
(All images: Chanel)
This story was first published on Prestige Online Malaysia via Prestige Malaysia’s April 2021 issue.