Secrets of the World's Most Popular Handbags

The Bag: Chanel 2.55

What You Might Not Know: People often focus on the bag's quilted leather material, but what was really revolutionary about the 2.55 was the chain strap. Back when Coco Chanel invented it, women used to carry their bags in their hands all the time. What a hassle!

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Photo via Gamma-Rapho

Digital Fashion Writer

Huge, hardcover fashion books often get a lot of attention at the cost of smaller paperback ones, which is exactly why I'd like to put the new book Bag: The Ultimate Fashion Accessory on your radar. It's about the size of a day planner—but what it lacks in size, it makes up for in substance. Laced with facts and one-off anecdotes about the world's most popular handbags, it's funny, focused and informative. (Who knew Kate Moss had a hundred Chanel handbags?!)

The interviews are my favorite part, like when Jérôme Dreyfuss gives this succint, cutting definition of an It bag: "It has to be carried by Paris Hilton." And yet, like a giant, intimidating fashion tome, the book's full of gorgeous illustrations, too, so it's sort of the best of both worlds. My only issue with it is that it's not out until October 22, so in the meantime, I've worked a few of my favorite takeaways into the slideshow above. From Chloé's Paddington to Chanel's 2.55, click through to see the bags everyone loves most in a light you've probably never seen them in before.

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