Friday, March 25, 2011

First Balenciaga!

I haven't bought a luxury designer bag in three years; I'm very content with what I've already collected over the years, plus I've had other priorities. After my trip to Spain and much consideration, I decided to buy a new everyday and travel bag with a couple of key criteria:
  1. Very lightweight
  2. Large enough to carry lots of stuff; I have my DSLR with me almost at all times
  3. Neutral color to go with all colors and styles of clothes and seasons
  4. Durable; I want something to last for many years without babying, as I'm not too careful with my bags
  5. Ability to carry many ways, including cross-body, on the shoulder, or by handles, with a zippered top for security
  6. Not too trendy; I don't want an "it" bag that will look dated after a few seasons
After much research and shopping around, I decided upon a black Balenciaga Velo bag, which pretty much fit all the criteria.  It's the perfect size, the super soft lambskin and lack of big hardwear make it almost as light as a nylon bag I was carrying in Spain, it can be carried a multitude of ways, it can be used for day and night, and plus I don't think it will go out of style. It fits the current cross-body / messenger style trend, but Balenciaga motorcycle style bags have been around for over 10 years now and I think they've gone from potentially being a trendy seasonal bag to more of a classic bag. It's hard to tell what "it" bags will become classics; usually Chanel is pretty safe since a lot of their designs are based on classic bags as well as Hermes, and it seems like Balenciaga has withstood the test of time (I fondly reminisce about the Fendi baguette and spy bags, Dior saddle bag, Marc Jacobs Stam bag days). In the realm of ridiculous pricing for luxury bags, Balenciaga has remained relatively reasonable, unlike, as an example, the ridiculous Chanel inflation where the 2.55 reissue I purchased five years ago has at least doubled in price and is 2.5x the price of the (much larger) Balenciaga. My only problem with Balenciaga is that they are known to be on the delicate side, susceptible to staining and cracking, but that's why I went with black, plus I plan on conditioning and protecting the bag. It's inexplicable, but new bags make me happy! Pictures for a sense of scale:
Strap is a teeny bit long, but I can always have it shortened
Handles also fit on the shoulder, but too hard to photograph
There were several S/S2011 bags that I had my eye on, including the Proenza Schouler PS1, Mulberry Alexa Satchel, and Alexander Wang Kirsten Satchel.  My concerns with all three was that they would look dated after a couple of seasons and the buckles were a hassle to get in and out of. Black looks a little dull on all three bags, hence my preference for the lighter (and more prone to dirt) colors. Plus the PS1 and Mulberry satchels looked more like daytime bags to me; they don't feel as appropriate for night. All three bags are also noticeably heavier than the Balenciaga (the Alexander Wang was surprisingly heavy), and the handles are too short to wear on the shoulder.
Photo from web: Proenza Schouler PS 1 in Smoke
Photo from web: Mulberry Alexa in Watermelon (I really like purple)
Photo from web: Alexander Wang Kirsten Satchel in Khaki

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