A veritable CHANEL icon, instantly recognisable, the 11.12 bag bears within it both the history of the House and the avant-gardist vision of Gabrielle Chanel. In front of Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin’s camera, it appears in a new campaign entitled The CHANEL Iconic in the Paris neighbourhood of Saint-Germain-des-Prés. On the arms of Anna Mouglalis, Rianne van Rompaey, Imaan Hammam, Louise de Chevigny and Zoé Adjani, the iconic bag of the House is in the spotlight.

A reinterpretation of the 2.55 bag imagined by Gabrielle Chanel in February 1955, the 11.12 bag acquired iconic status under the impetus of Karl Lagerfeld in the early 1980s. It differs from its predecessor by a clasp decorated with a double C and by a metal chain interlaced with leather. Every detail of its allure reflects its heritage: cleverly designed and as beautiful on the inside as it is on the outside, the 11.12, like the 2.55, bears all the attributes of a bag created by a couturière. Its conception – a bag in a bag worked according to the piqué retourné (“stitch and turn”) technique and held in place with points de bride stitches – indeed evokes that of Ready-to-Wear, as do its seven functional pockets. The “diamond” quilting topstitched with the “point droit de couturière” that covers the body of the bag is inspired by the world of horses, so dear to Gabrielle Chanel, while its adjustable metal chain induces a liberating gesture for the body, just like the clothing designed by the designer.

A bag created by a woman, a couturière’s bag, contrasting with the bags made by leathermakers of the era: the first paradox of the 11.12. Others characterise this accessory, as it defies time as much as trends. Universal and yet intimate, designed for every woman, it is passed on as a precious and personal heritage. Functional, imagined for everyday life, it has a delicacy and an extreme refinement through the use of a supple lambskin leather, originally the preserve of glove makers, but also grained calfskin known as “caviar” as well as other materials from the CHANEL Ready-to-Wear collections including jersey, tweed, silk, velvet and denim… As for its timeless line, of an immutable purity, it is the perfect accompaniment to women’s constantly evolving lives, without ever losing its modernity.

chanel iconic chanel bag

“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,” explain Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin.

Anna Mouglalis, Rianne van Rompaey, Imaan Hammam, Louise de Chevigny and Zoé Adjani also share their special connection to the 11.12.

“The 11.12 bag is simply Chanel. It is one of the iconic pieces that tells the whole story, with all the elegance of the House. 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.”

“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,” adds Rianne van Rompaey. “It’s the most famous bag in the world. There is something of a fairy tale about it.”

“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, very feminine. When I wear it I feel effortless and powerful.”

“The 11.12 bag is the iconic bag par excellence. It is a truly timeless bag, which remains as modern and chic as ever,” says Louise de Chevigny. “Fashion evolves but there is always this bag. It adds elegance to every silhouette. I like the idea that I will pass it on to my daughter if I am lucky enough to have one. My mother used to have one, and when I was younger I would steal it from her. At first to play with and then when I started going to parties, it was a source of pride.”

“This luxury, this savoir-faire, it has always fascinated and touched me,” continues Zoé Adjani. “The 11.12 represents Chanel: the double C, the hidden pocket, the small pockets inside. And it suits me: I love to compartmentalise. With all the history it carries inside, it represents more than a bag: it’s like carrying Paris on your shoulder.”

A true ally to everyday life, the CHANEL 11.12 bag is more than a classic. A concentrate of dreams, emotions, history and meticulously crafted luxury, it remains an icon of timeless elegance that will forever embody the allure of CHANEL.