By Theresa from Boutique Patina (boutiquepatina.com) for PurseBop
For good reason, the Chanel jumbo classic flap in its classic 12 inch size has been a cult favorite amongst Chanel lovers. This popular classic model has all the features of the iconic 11.12 classic flap in a more practical size for daily wear. Chanel loyalists love the versatility of the wearability (crossbody to shoulder bag) and its ability to carry more than just a wallet and keys.
While the 10 inch Chanel medium classic flap has not changed much at all since its inception in the mid-1980s, the jumbo has seen many notable style changes over the years – the most recent major refresh being in 2010 with the addition of the second “double” flap, the year this model had its most significant jump in price hike to date – something around $900.
Today I’ll review a brief chronology of the Chanel jumbo classic flap in the making and the major style edits that came with it.
1992-1993 – Enter the Maxi & the Mademoiselle Jumbo
The nineties, especially the early to mid-nineties, was a boom for anything Chanel and turnlock clasp, whether it be their turnlock-themed jewelry line, and especially their quilted classic flaps. And like the jewelry, Lagerfeld decided to go big and bold, with the oversized turnlock CC in 24k gold plated hardware. In the beginning, the 13-inch Maxi was produced before the jumbo, around 1992. With the 13 inch size, and the much taller frame, it looked giant compared to the medium classic, and everything about her was giant – from the oversized CCs, to the chunky, thick chains; even the grommets were giant, washer-sized grommets with built in screw functionality compared to the thinner ring-like grommets of its smaller classic counterparts.
This now-famous vintage maxi model only came in lambskin for diamond quilted – the caviar counterpart is slightly larger and was only made in chevron.
Shortly afterwards, in 1993, Lagerfeld introduced the 12 inch model – but only in the vertical Mademoiselle quilts – both in caviar and lambskin.
Fun fact: All vintage jumbo models, unlike their maxi or medium counterparts, were made with an edge stitching – similar to “sellier” for Hermès bags. All lambskin maxi, medium, small and mini classics (not caviar) were made with stitching hidden on the inside.
Jumbo with Classic Diamond Quilts introduced in 1994
Slowly, after 1994, Chanel started introducing the jumbo size classic with diamond quilts. Most vintage caviar jumbo flaps were produced in 1995, in conjunction with the production of other signature turnlock pieces in its jewelry lines. In addition, other variations of the jumbo were released – horizontal quilt, patent, and of course, different fabrics and canvases. This style was produced all the way through 1998.
1996 – A Second Deviation is Produced for Only One Year
Then, in 1996, Chanel introduced yet another style jumbo flap, and both styles were produced simultaneously for a year. Personally, I believe this specific jumbo was not made to be a classic style, because the interiors were always black (as opposed to burgundy like the other jumbos and maxis), and they only made this style in black. This style was produced only for about one year, until 1997.
The ‘intermediary vintage jumbo’ was first released in 1996 and had thinner chain, an in-between size and thickness CC turnlock, and thinner grommets like the medium classic flap. I’ve only seen this in black with black interior, and this model was produced simultaneously alongside the classic oversized CC jumbos above, which makes me believe it’s possible that this deviation was considered more of a fashion bag. All the while, the oversized CC versions below were still being produced (until 1998).
1998 – Small CCs, Big Hardware
The late 90s was a transitional time for Chanel – within one full serial number series (5 million series), they had three (3) different styles of the hologram sticker. It was also during this time that the style of the classic jumbo flap changed again – to the CC turnlock clasp that was much smaller than its predecessor – the exact size turnlock that was used for the medium, small and mini classic flaps. Still, the larger, chunkier chain was used along with the washer-like grommets. (While this looks very similar to the 1996-1997 transitional model above, the hardware as you can see matches the “other” jumbo classic produced at the same time with the chunky grommets and straps). Later in 1999, silver hardware was introduced to this model. This model was produced for six years.
2005 – The Year of the Reissue, and the “Reissued” Jumbo Style
2005 was monumental for Karl Lagerfeld and these next few years would be when some of his most amazing creations were launched, including the 2.55 classic reissue with mademoiselle clasp and bijoux chain. It’s not coincidental then, that the classic jumbo was once again re-imagined to resemble the shape and form most similar to today.
The edge of the flap was lowered down to around 2/3 of from the top of the bag, as was the CC turnlock clasp, the grommets were made thinner like the medium classic flap, the CC was made slightly larger. Since 2005, there was very slight variation in the front CC hardware’s thickness and shape (flat vs. rounded surfaces, “fat” vs. thin), but the general shape was consistent.
2010 – The Release of the Second “Double” Flap for the Jumbo (and Maxi)
A price hike of $900+ USD for a jumbo flap a few times a year (let alone just once) feels very commonplace today in 2022, but in 2010, consumers experienced the first of its kind $900 price hike in the jumbo classic flap. With this increase, however, came a second (double) flap for the jumbo and maxi classics – something we have never seen before.
Along with the double flap came new grommet placement – rather than one line of four grommets, there were two lines of 2 grommets each. This was significant in that not only was a second flap inserted, but the bag was given a slightly “boxier” profile.
Since 2010, the style of the jumbo hasn’t changed significantly. 12 years does seem like a long stretch for no more major style mods, but at the same time, this is an iconic Classic, and the medium and small iconic classics have not significantly changed at all since the mid-1980s for almost 40 years.
Today, Chanel’s classic jumbo double flap bag is $9,500 USD plus tax, with price increases rumored to be coming soon.
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Updated: September 2nd, 2022