fresh out of the box, making friends with fave KW sunnies already
update since my last post: i bought the Mansur Gavriel tote.
after some research on the different leathers, i decided to get the large vegetable tanned tote in the cammello/rosa colorway. why cammello? honestly, the last thing i need in my wardrobe at this point is Another Black Bag. also, since i started my A.P.C. raw denim project (still breaking those in!), i've been seeking out materials with patina potential.
cue to the ever crescendo-ing wave of hype and buzz surrounding MG bags over the last several seasons. a few readers and friends have bought them and recommended them to me, but since i'm generally wary of hype/It/waitlist situations, i decided to give myself a year+ to think it over before jumping into the fray. here are my thoughts on the bag.
the leather: the vegetable tanned leather that MG uses on its cammello and brandy bags is what initially attracted me to the brand – it's just refreshing and fun to actually embrace all the good kinds of wear and natural patina. that said, my biggest concern was about how the leather would feel and flex. since the interior is coated, i wasn't sure if it would make the bag feel plasticky. in person the leather is definitely rigid, but it has more of a pliable structure versus a completely stiff one. the leather isn't super thick, but it's not flimsy either; the straps feel strong enough to handle what i'll throw in it. overall, the leather is lightweight while retaining a certain substance.
the one issue is that the leather looked a tad dull in some areas and felt somewhat dry. to remedy this, i will be doing a bit of pretreatment and leather conditioning (stay tuned for a separate post).
the design: this is where the brand has won the most fans, and deservedly so. it's really beautiful, with some of the cleanest lines i've seen from any accessories brand. i like that it's wide enough at the base to stand up on its own. the structured base also makes for easier organization of everything on the inside; i find that stuff tends to flop around bottomless pit-style in my unstructured totes. the pale pink rosa interior is a cheery accent; it also makes everything easy to spot at a glance.
the small zip pouch is a nice extra; i love that it's snap-detachable to the leather strap, which you can also take off. you could easily fit an iPhone, important cards, and other small items that you want to keep in one place. the openness of the tote is the one big negative if you like to always have a secure top closure. depending on your lifestyle, though, it may or may not be much of an issue. i see this as mainly a school tote, simple work carryall, or an easy weekend bag for strolling the farmer's market.
the craftsmanship: overall i'm pleased with the sturdy feel. after close examination, i only saw firm, even stitching and clean finishes on my tote, and i would not expect anything less at this price point. time will tell if the bag is well made enough to hold up superbly after wear and tear, so i will post more updates on how it's aging as i use it.
the space: plenty big for weekday, weekend, or travel without being too big. i can comfortably fit my 13" Macbook Pro in a padded zip sleeve, Filofax personal planner (an A5 planner could fit easily as well), file folders, a bulky sunglasses case, wallet, an umbrella, lunch, a large water bottle, etc. there's also room for extras like a scarf or spare pair of flats.
the look: for such a spare, almost ascetic design, it packs a pretty chic, elegant punch. given the interior volume and size, it's also proportioned pretty well. i'm 5'4 and the Everlane market tote is as big as i can go on my frame (honestly it looks a bit like the portfolio size on me). the dimensions of the large MG tote are approximately equivalent to the large Longchamp pliage, but its structure somehow manages to keep it looking tidier and the most compact of the three.
worth it? yes – if you're looking for a stylish yet minimalist leather tote that is, say, understated enough to be office appropriate and has a good dose of cool factor, this is a fine option. it's the Anti-It Bag It Bag. it's mostly worth the waitlist/preorder situation. i say 'mostly' because i'm generally allergic to the hassle of procuring It Items, but in this case, there are enough stockists to make the process a bit less annoying. overall, i love my new MG bag, and am looking forward to seeing how the patina evolves.
i hope this review is helpful if you're considering something from Mansur Gavriel. their next shop relaunch will be in September, though i'm not a fan of MG's final sale shop policy. (seriously, final sale is not cool when your product is hard to find in stores and people save up to buy them...) if you want some peace of mind and return/exchange flexibility, i'd recommend buying or pre-ordering from stockists like Bergdorf's and Net-a-Porter. (i bought mine from NAP, and as usual their packaging, customer service, and shipping speed are the best in the business.)
P.S.: i'll be doing a monthly patina journal on the cammello leather, so stay tuned here :)
what do you think? are you wishlisting anything from MG? if you have an MG bag, please chime in!
Mansur Gavriel Review Part 2: vegetable tanned leather care & maintenance.