Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel designed this handbag to be hands-free—an idea that was revolutionary when the Classic Flap debuted in February of 1955. Using the quilted leather that would become a design signature, she suspended the bag from a long metal chain so it could be worn either over a woman’s shoulder or, with the chain doubled, in the crook of her arm.

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Long before there was the Hermès Birkin (see below), there was the Hermès Kelly. Designed in 1935 by Robert Dumas, a member of the family that still owns Hermès, the bag was based on the Sac à Courroies, which Hermès sold to carry saddles. Transforming it into a proper purse, Dumas used a trapezoid shape, added a rigid handle, kept the flap with pull straps, and closed it with a turn-lock that came with a tiny padlock and key.

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Long before there was the Hermès Birkin (see below), there was the Hermès Kelly. Designed in 1935 by Robert Dumas, a member of the family that still owns Hermès, the bag was based on the Sac à Courroies, which Hermès sold to carry saddles. Transforming it into a proper purse, Dumas used a trapezoid shape, added a rigid handle, kept the flap with pull straps, and closed it with a turn-lock that came with a tiny padlock and key.

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