I did say I had a bag lust that would not die, didn’t I? So, what is a girl to do? Give in, of course. Well, this one did, when browing Net-a-Porter one day, and seeing one of the elusive Mansur Gavriel bucket bags pop up online.
Truth is, these bags aren’t very elusive anymore. Not the way it was about a year or so back, when it was nigh impossible to snag any online. I have spoken to friends who put themselves on waitlists, and who would wake up in the middle of the night (here in Malaysia) to snag themselves one. I refused to give in to that frenzy, keeping a “If it’s meant to be, I’ll get it eventually” approach. And I did! I think it’s because we’re reaching saturation point, where the demand has primarily been met, and perhaps supply has been increased so it’s much easier to get one these days.
I’ve been asked by a few people what I think of the Mansur Gaviel Bucket Bag and if it’s worth the money, hence this post. The first thing I’ll say is this:-
- If you’re paranoid about the fact the bag has no proper closure except for the drawstring that barely keeps the bag closed, or
- If you’re paranoid about keeping your bags in a pristine, just came in from the factory look, or
- If you have a more formal fashion sense, or
- If you don’t like bags hitting against your hip, or
- If you don’t like too large or too small bags,
then you should just let your bag lust die, and skip this altogether. You will likely hate this and consider it a waste of money. As for me, I have a bit of a love-hate relationship.
While the most common, and most lusted after colour combination is the black-flamma (red) combination, I opted out of it. I ended up with the Camello (camel) – Dolly (hot pink) combination a little by default – it was available, and it was priced lower than the other options! I think it’s because the Camello leather option is vegetable tanned and isn’t coated, so it will age quite rapidly as you use it, and take on a patina. You will either love or hate this – I love it, it’s just like the Louis Vuitton vachetta leather, and I love how that looks after it has acquired a honey-brown patina.
When this first arrived, the leather was a very light tan. I’ve been using it since, for a couple of months, quite regularly so it’s softened up a little and aged quite a bit. I didn’t baby this one, as you will see below.
I hope you can see the multitude of scratches I’ve acquired over the 2 months of use. As I said, I don’t baby this one, so it bangs into things, and the leather is so soft that my nails leave scratches on the surface. I’ve got caught in the rain so there’s some water marks in there as well. I don’t mind it, because in this colour, I feel the scratches and wear adds character to the uneven colour tone of the bag. But in another colour like black or red or navy, I’m not sure how I’d feel. So, if you plan to get one in smooth calf leather, do be warned. If you can get it in Saffiano leather or treated leather, it might hold up better, but I can’t say for certain it will.
The interior of mine is a bright pink treated leather which isn’t a shade I’d pick off hand, but which sets off the deeper tan colour quite attractively. The leather on the inside is treated and more stiff. I also find it more hardy, as I don’t seem to notice as many scratches. The light interior is actually a good idea because it helps you find your things more easily.
And that’s where the pitfalls of a bucket bag lies.
It’s a black hole.
The pink shiny leather interior reflects light so its a lot easier to see what’s in there, as opposed to a darker interior lining. Mine is the Mansur Gavriel Mini Bucket Bag, which I picked because I wasn’t into the regular sized one. It’s far too large for me, as I wanted something for more casual days. This just doesn’t cut it for a more formal working environment, unlike it’s more luxury brand cousin, the Louis Vuitton Petite Noe, which transitions from formal to casual more easily. I’d take the Petite Noe to work, I won’t take this one.
The Mini is small, but in my view, not too small as to be impractical. It’s actually quite a good size, for me and fits quite a lot. Because it’s more shallow, it’s less of a black hole too. Here’s what I’d typically carry in my Mansur Gavriel Mini Bucket Bag.
As you can see, there’s quite a lot in there, including a long wallet. Sometimes, I carry my planner in there as well. If you use a smaller, shorter wallet, it will fit better, naturally. Mine has to stand on its end to fit. A smaller wallet can just be tossed inside. But you can also see that it’s a very casual affair. This is one I tote about on weekends or for casual appointments because I can’t put very much in there.
The other reason I picked the mini size as opposed to the regular size is because of how it looks. The long strap on the bag can only be adjusted by a very limited length, and remains very long. I am about 5’3″ and I wear the mini on the last hole, on the shortest setting, and it still hits at my hip when I wear it on my shoulder.
The regular size is larger and longer so I didn’t like the idea of the additional bulk. I can wear it cross-body as well, which I do when I’m out most of the time, so I can keep it closer to my body (not worn on the back of course – I’m not inviting pickpockets!). I have a very casual lifestyle and fashion sense, so it goes with my weekend jaunts.
I like the Mansur Gavriel bucket bag. I like the casual vibe, I like the way mine has softened and aged and I like that it forces me to carry only the essentials. It is also incredibly light, for a full leather bag. Every single person who picks it up marvels at how crazy light it is. It barely weighs anything!
But there are also some things I don’t like.
Scratches galore! Be warned, this will likely happen to you too
I don’t like how stiff the leather is. I’m quite literally bashing mine about to soften the leather, so I can pull the drawstring shut. The leather drawstring is very stiff and even after 2 months, I can barely tie it closed properly. It’s also very difficult to keep it closed, and it tends to gape. If you throw a scarf over it, it will help, but I wouldn’t travel anywhere with this one. I’d be too paranoid.
I don’t like the length of the strap that I feel is a touch too long. On someone taller, it would look better. On shorter frames, if you have the regular version, it will pull you down and make you look shorter and more bulky. Yet, the mini version isn’t everyone’s cup of tea because it’s small. Therein lies the conundrum.
I don’t like how it’s made out to be so exclusive, driving forced and false demand. This was what put me off the bag initially. I didn’t want to be one of the masses, scrambling after it. Now that it’s easier to get hold of, I think it’s more practical. The black/flamma combination is still highly sought after though!
I also don’t like how it’s actually quite expensive for a very simple bag. Mine cost about US$578 at Net-a-Porter including the taxes and shipping, which is actually less than other colour combinations. I’m not sure why. There are various sites you can buy from and the prices differ depending on the size, site and you naturally have to factor in shipping and taxes. I bought from NAP because it takes the guesswork out of things for me, and takes care of the taxes and crap. But if I didn’t have the spare cash, I wouldn’t have bought it. It is a lot of money to pay, and I’d actually get something else unless you already have most of the styles you like. I won’t say it’s not worth it, because worth is something only you can measure, but it is helpful to know of its pitfalls, before you spring for it. Not many people tell you how easily it scratches or that it’s too long or too large or too stiff or can’t stay closed. Someone has to 😛
So, bucket bags – love them or hate them? Do you own an MG?
If you want some alternatives to the Mansur Gavriel or perhaps want a more budget choice, just to see if a bucket bag is your thing, there’s good news for you. When MG revived the bucket bag phenomenon, there are now so many options from all the high street brands, up to the luxury brands. So, pop into Mango, Zara or H&M locally, if you want something more affordable. It’s likely not made of leather, but not everyone minds that. [Edited to add: If you want a similar design and want to customize how it looks, check out Monpurse – thanks LeGeeque! I knew I’d seen something similar but couldn’t for the life of me remember which site it was!] Or if you have the funds, spring for an LV Petite Noe or the Gucci Bucket Bag – super cute and pretty colours to boot! 😉 Are bucket bags your thing?
Price: US$445 on US sites or approx US$578 on Net-a-Porter – price differs according to location and leather Availability: Mansur Gavriel website, Net-a-Porter, Barneys, Bergdorf Goodman, MyTheresa
27 comments ... Read or JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Thank you for the review!! I’ve been eyeing this bag as it looks so chic in the pictures in magazines/blog posts. But truth be told, they never showed how it looks once used and the frame of the carrier.
Although I’m a fan of smooth leather (pebble leather is a huge no-no for me), I’d be so annoyed with the scratches, not to mention the stiffness of the leather. And it’s not lined O_O, this costs about $700+ Canadian, it’s not even lined.
For sure I’m crossing this off my vanity list. (It still looks nice ;P)
Paris B says
Glad you found this useful DK 🙂 It really does photograph well, with the lovely sleek lines but it did frustrate me not to know how it holds up, since most people blog about it immediately after it arrives, when it looks pretty and pristine 😀 There are loads of options now though, so hopefully you find one that fires your bag lust and is more scratch resistant! 😉
I picked my camello up from Holts last wk. I love it! I’m super paranoid with my new stuff, so I’m not looking forward to the scratches BUT i do love the patina of my LV so I am looking forward to that. I’m wondering if I should treat my bag? Some say no, let it change on its own, while others say yes… ?
Paris B says
I think it’ll be up to you whether you want it to be treated or otherwise 🙂 But if you love the patina of your LV, I’d leave it untreated 😉
I think if you’re a bag person, a bucket bag will always have a place in your bag wardrobe. And needless to say, I am one. But like you, I was put off by the perceived hype (thank purseblog for it. My theory and I’m standing by it.) it’s getting a little easier to obtain but the space for a bucket bag has been taken up by my PN. For a friendlier price point, look into monpurse where they do international shipping and monogramming of your initials. They do sumptuous leathers too.
Paris B says
I love how the PN has a story behind it, while this doesn’t. What it really did have going for it was price (relatively speaking) and hype. That said, it’s a decent city bag. Not something to travel in no matter what the fashion bloggers and fashionistas say. I’d been hunting all over for the “dupe” so thanks for letting me know about Monpurse! I knew I’d come across one out there, but for the life of me, I couldn’t remember what brand it was – edited to suggest it, for those who want a similar look, and the contrasting interior 🙂
thanks for doing the review! i think i can scratch this off my list. 🙂
Paris B says
Hmm… ‘scratch’ – was that an unintended pun? 😉 Glad to have helped!
While I love a good bucket bag the scratches would drive me nuts! It’s good that you were finally able to get the bag you were lusting after. I too gave into the urge (Prada bag for my 40th) and decided in the end the stress of such an expensive bag wasn’t worth it. I’m glad I bought it and got it out of my system but relieved that I’m no longer having nightmares about someone stealing it.
Paris B says
Yep, the scratches are definitely one to highlight. I’m surprised no one really talks about them, but fortunately they didn’t bum me. Perhaps it’s the colour which is more casual to start with. Happy belated 40th and welcome to the next best decade of your life! Sorry to hear the experience of owning a luxury piece wasn’t quite what you were expecting – it should be an amazing experience, and if it isn’t, it’s probably for the best that you got it out of your system, and returned it for peace of mind! 🙂
Tine @ Beautyholics Anonymous says
Ohhhhh yes I remember the Monpurse version! I may have told you about it but I can’t remember. 😛 I completely understand about scratching the heck out of that leather. I have a Midori Traveler’s Notebook in Camel, which looks very much like your MG bag. Scratches so very easily but the more scratched up it is, the better it looks. So I’m willing to bet the more beat up your MG bag is, the better it’s going to look. 😀
Paris B says
LOL I thought you did, that’s why I asked you haha! And yes, the colour makes this bag a much easier one to love after its aged. I’m not sure I’d be so forgiving if it was any other colour, to be honest!
I love my lancel bucket bag, lovely leather and style. Pet peeves are also on the unsecure opening, and the strap is a tad too long unless it is worn crossbody. Check out the lancel albertine, one of the more basic design.
Paris B says
Mmm Lancel actually makes some decent quality bags, and are so underrated, so that’s a good choice! Thanks also for the suggestion – I honestly have no idea how people can travel with their bucket bags. I’d be so paranoid, I’d never have any fun!
love how light it is! and u know what? i feel like grabbing a piece of wax to wax it and give it a shiny look XD but that’s just my preference for anything camel color in leather.
and oh and oh! bucket bag is still on my list 😀
Paris B says
I’ll be sure to keep my bag away from your waxy hands! HAHA! 😀 One day you’ll get it – after all you got your speedy in the end! 😉
Haha! I am one of those who is not comfortable with bags bumping all over my bum! Thanks for the review.
Paris B says
You’re welcome! Glad to have helped you make up your mind 🙂
Sook Shin says
Was thinking of getting a MG (when it the MG trend) but its really pricey for what it is. So i looked into other brand and got myself a Cow split leather small size bucket bag from Agnes b. It was amazing and pretty good price. Most important, its scratch-resistant and i can just stuff a lot in it . (here! http://www.agnesb.eu/es21-03-shoulder) But I just wondering why Agnes b. close down their shop in KLCC. I love their bag so much.
Paris B says
Ooh I didn’t know Agnes B is no longer around! But that’s a pretty bag!
This is such a great and honest review! I still can’t make up my mind though. Feel like i need to see and feel it in person before I make up my mind. Love the color of your bag and I don’t mind the scratches and the patina, I just think it makes the bag look even better.
I’m mostly worried about the strap being too long and the leather being to stiff. But love the design and I really need a great casual bag for work. I don’t need a fancy bag for work, a lot of times I just bring a canvas tote because it’s practical and I don’t want an “in you face”-expensive bag to show off. In sweden it’s a very bad thing to brag about things 😉 and I also feel obvious luxury creates an almost dated look if you’re not in a luxurious environment.
Thank you so much for an actual honest review of this bag! All I could find was people gushing over the bag upon its arrival. But this is really detailed and useful.
Paris B says
I’m glad you found it helpful Julia 🙂 It is a nice bag, but you just have to be aware of its downsides. Hope it helped you make a decision!
You’re too late to the game. MG is now overrated and way too mainstream especially with that bucket bag. I’m starting to think you have a poor sense of judgement when it comes to bags and fashion. After all, you did claim that Goyard was “overdone” on Twitter. I mean really? Try reading about the brand’s history and reputation before passing baseless judgements. No one cares about your stupid opinion or your boring blog.
Paris B says
Well, you thought my ‘stupid opinion’ and ‘boring blog’ was important and interesting enough to comment on, 3 YEARS after I first blogged about the bag, when it was at its height. I’ve never claimed to be an expert or trendsetter when it comes to bags and fashion, but I am entitled to my opinion and to what I enjoy using. If you feel that to be a ‘poor sense of judgment’ well, boohoo, it’s my money, not yours.
You obviously read my Twitter, and chose to comment on a tweet tweeted in 2016 and 2017. Well done for being thorough. But you clearly do not understand my tweet which was my opinion stating that a brand is overdone when you find fakes hanging on Petaling St stalls & the St Louis is on the arms of every young girl. A long history does not preclude a brand from being overdone by being seen everywhere, be it fake or real. So, how about brushing up on your comprehension before leaving nasty comments 3 years after the fact. Guess YOU are too late to the game, kid.
Thank you for your review. I’ve been considering this bag for years (since when they were hard to get). I want the Camello but in the large size as I’m a mum so nearly always have my Neverfull full (Pardon the pun) of kid stuff as well. So think the large MG would be a good size. May I ask though did the leather soften up over the years? I’m 5 ft 6 so the bag length I think would be ok. The drawstring I don’t mind a kind of open ish look. But would love to know if the leather softens at all (I will get the veg tanned as you did). Also I can’t believe this person above that commented. How rude! I think you are a great writer, very thorough. If people don’t like they should click on! X
Paris B says
Hi, sorry for my late reply. My bag did not soften and is still fairly stiff even today. I think it is because of the pink lining, which is a stiffer material than the outside leather. So, it holds it more rigidly. Perhaps one of the other designs might be a little softer, especially one with a raw leather interior. And thank you for your kind words. I’m not sure why some people feel the need to be rude online simply because they’re hiding behind an avatar