to shop / {high and low} celine small vertical cabas tote vs mark and graham italian leather crossbody tote

I bought the Celine small vertical cabas tote in black grained calfskin (FR link) a few years ago and promptly sold it as it was an unplanned purchase in Paris due to using up expiring credit. I don’t regret it, the timing was off. Lately I’ve been wanting the same bag again, but I couldn’t find it in during my last trip to Europe. I’m guessing this style and color is hard to find outside of Paris, which has an abundance of Celine stockists. Celine has updated their website since so now you can easily search for availability online.

I came upon Mark and Graham and their Italian Leather Crossbody Tote looked very much inspired by the Celine. (Note: this site is owned by Williams-Sonoma and will put a monogram on everything.) M&G has some good looking bags but it’s hard to find reviews of them. I have one piazza zip pouch from M&G made of Italian leather and the leather is very nice. I would say it’s a similar leather as this bag.

(Images: Celine, Mark and Graham)

The M&G comes in navy, brown, and cream. Of those three colors, I think Celine’s only ever made it in cream. I like the navy and the brown, but would’ve preferred it in black. I ordered a monogram-less brown and navy when it was initially marked down.

(Image: Mark and Graham)

My photo of the actual item

Notes: 

  • Dimensions were very similar.
  • Leather grain was noticeable smaller and more delicate on the Celine.

What I didn’t like:

  • Hardware: There’s a round piece of hardware on the sides of the bag. It distracts from the sleekness. You can see it the clearest on the blue bag above.
  • Edges: The vertical edges are very round and nowhere near a 90 degree angle and as a result didn’t appear to be straight edge (as seen above). Also distracting from the sleekness. I think this comes from the stiffness of the leather and don’t see it going away or softening up with usage.
  • Hard to adjust strap: I’m not sure if it’s that hard to adjust the strap length on the Celine but it was impossible to adjust on this bag. If you’re shorter end of petite, you would need to get extra holes punched.

Verdict: I didn’t expect the M&G to match up to the Celine at ~10-20% of the price. The M&G sale price is a steal (I didn’t think it’s worth its retail) and a good buy for someone who wants this style and doesn’t mind the lack of defined edges. I am still waiting to encounter the Celine again.

Note on Mark & Graham shopping experience:

  • If you want to be able to return it, don’t get it monogrammed. I have gotten stuff monogrammed before and some were done poorly. They were good about sending replacements. 
  • The returning process was slow compared to most other e-tailers. It took them almost 2 weeks to process the return after receipt during the summer and maybe it’s because I sent an email to inquire on the status. They also charge you for the UPS label (which is fine given the size of the boxes). 
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to shop / {purse diaries} apc greenwich bag review & comparison with half moon

Part I: A.P.C. Half Moon (Demi Lune) Bag Review
Part II: A.P.C. Greenwich Bag Review and Comparison with Half Moon

Note: these are not all mine!

The half moon doesn’t look that big, but when you lay out the measurements or compare it with other bags, it’s quite large. I recently checked out the Greenwich. The Greenwich is a classic turnlock crossbody bag that comes in Brick red or Navy blue (almost black) in a calf leather with a glazed finish. It’s pricier than the half moon.
Continue reading “to shop / {purse diaries} apc greenwich bag review & comparison with half moon”

to shop / {purse diaries} apc half moon bag review

 Stockists last updated on July 7, 2017

Part I: A.P.C. Half Moon (Demi Lune) Bag Review
Part II: A.P.C. Greenwich Bag Review and Comparison with Half Moon

The half moon is A.P.C.’s signature style and returns every season in different colors and leathers. Both of mine are in embossed/textured saffiano leather — I like longevity. The caramel brown one was from late 2014 and the bordeaux wine red one was from early 2016.
Continue reading “to shop / {purse diaries} apc half moon bag review”

to shop / mansur gavriel mini saffiano bucket review

Mansur Gavriel, previously reviewed: saffiano bucket in black/flamma and mini lady bag in brandy/brick.

I really wanted a smaller sized bucket for lighter days after using the regular sized one. My heart was set on saffiano given what a breeze it is to maintain. Currently, the mini bucket is only available in saffiano at Barneys in either black/flamma or rosa/rosa. I’m not really a pink person; I’m treating the rosa/rosa as a neutral (ballet pink). Inevitably I have some ‘on Wednesdays, we wear pink’ moments when I wear an item of clothing in the same color family. The rosa/rosa has gotten a lot of compliments.

Mini saffiano bucket and the regular saffiano bucket

Brandy mini lady in vegetable tanned vs. mini saffiano bucket

What I really like about it (that I didn’t already mention in my other bucket review)

Continue reading “to shop / mansur gavriel mini saffiano bucket review”

to shop / mansur gavriel brandy mini lady review (and how to clean/condition vegetable tanned leather)

I got the mini lady bag in brandy vegetable tanned leather with a brick matte interior back in April. I’ve been using it on and off.

Leather – vegetable tanned vs saffiano vs calf leather: Ever since I laid eyes on MG, it’s always been love at first sight with the caramel brown hue called brandy. This color only comes in vegetable tanned. The saffiano lady only comes in black, which is a bit boring since I already have a black saffiano bucket bag. It is a nice bag though for those who are looking for a more structured, super low maintenance material, and another black bag. I also think the black saffiano makes it more formal — and a perfect work/travel bag. I never liked the look of the lady in calf leather — the top gets pulled by the rest of the bag.

Size – mini vs regular: I typically do not carry a lot. I already have a number of larger bags and was looking for something smaller, but bigger than my APC Half Moon bag. The regular lady would fit a 13″ Macbook Pro if you loosen the drawstring. If you’ve seen the buckets in its regular and mini size, the regular and mini lady bags hold about the same volume as its bucket counterparts.

Here are some size comparisons:

Brandy mini lady in vegetable tanned vs. regular lady in black saffiano

Continue reading “to shop / mansur gavriel brandy mini lady review (and how to clean/condition vegetable tanned leather)”