As a personal shopper in her mid-thirties, I have been involved in the fashion industry for over a decade now. Typically, by the time April rolls around, I am safely all 'Paris-ed out'. Couture and fashion weeks – alongside regular appointments – lead me to La Ville Lumière on a passably rhythmic basis.
Like so many things of late, this year is, of course, entirely different. Stationary in London, I am almost feeling an itch, craving a café au lait and a warm buttery croissant overlooking Place Vendôme. As lockdowns in London slowly but surely lift, a trip to Paris is still far on the horizon which leaves me to my dreams of Parisian style and its timeless and unfailing fashion. In my opinion, when it comes to fashion, there is no brand that epitomises Paris like Chanel does.
The Chanel 11.12 handbag is a reinterpretation of the iconic 2.11 style, which was, of course, created by Gabrielle Chanel in February of 1955. It wasn’t until the early 80s and the charge of Karl Lagerfeld that the quilted flap bag came into its iconic status, and it is now allowed a second life through Virginie Viard.
The quilted flap bag with that certain je ne sais qoui that every fashionista strives to embody, now comes in a variation of sizes, colours, fabrics and leathers, features a metal chain interlaced with leather, and a clasp garnished with a double C to create the forever recognisable status quo.
‘‘The 11.12 bag bears witness to the spirit and fantasy of its creator.’’
– Carole Bouquet
The classic Chanel handbag is held in place with 'points de bride' stitches, and the diamond quilting is topstitched with the 'point droit de couturière' that covers the body of the bag and is inspired by the world of horses and equestrian life. What I truly love about the current version of the bag though, is that the length of its metal chain is adjustable, and so can be worn elegantly to one side, crossbody, hands-free when out-and-about town seamlessly, easily, and effortlessly.
During the most recent campaign and shooting of the new 11.12 handbag, it was Zoé Adjani who said:
‘‘With all the history it carries inside, it represents more than a bag: it’s like carrying Paris on your shoulder.’’
And that really defines what this quintessentially classic piece is; Paris in a handbag.
In a world where international travel is still not as accessible as it used to be, and jumping on a Euro Star from Kings Cross presents itself as problematic, carrying a little bit of France over your shoulders may be the closest we get to the charming Parisian streets and the Ateliers de Verneuil-en-Halatte, where Chanel's bags are made.
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