Lazy Review of Stella McCartney Falabella Shaggy Deer Fold-Over Tote Bag

This is a long overdue post that I was meant to do all the way back in July. I have some other things I want to post during Christmas time, but I guess I will leave it for next month. I have been meaning to write about this bag, but I needed to use it a bit more to give it a fair evaluation.

All images were screenshot from the official Stella McCartney website, and for more product information you can visit here.

  • DESCRIPTION
    Falabella shaggy deer fold over tote in bluebird tone featuring a ruthenium chain trim, handles and shoulder strap with a Stella McCartney logo disc.
    Fully lined with Stella McCartney logo print recycled polyester, inside pocket and top snap closure.
    This tote can be worn two ways, folded over as a shoulder bag or as a handheld tote.
  • DETAILS
    100% Polyester

    This bag is made from non-leather, cruelty-free materials using highly skilled manufacturing techniques.
    The lining has been created from recycled plastic bottles.
    This is part of our ongoing commitment to animal and eco friendly fashion.
    Spot clean with a soft damp cloth and a small amount of neutral soap.
    Avoid scrubbing in order not to damage the textured surface of the bag.

    FIT

    Width: 37cm/14.6”
    Height: 36cm/14.2”
    Depth: 8 cm/3.1″

    details from Stella McCartney website as above

falabellaA falabellaB falabellaC falabellaD

Earlier this year I wanted a bag that could allow me the flexibility to carry stuff to work without it being an oversized bag. The Falabella came into mind because to me it kind of just looks like a stylish bag without the brand slapped all over it. At first I couldn’t understand why people would spend so much money on a bag that was made of synthetic leather, but eventually I grew to understand that it was the workmanship and the idea of promoting recycled and sustainable materials. When I first knew about the Falabella I was told by someone that the price was for the name/ label/ brand – I’m sorry but now I think that statement was just ignorant. I think you really need to know the reasoning behind the brand to completely appreciate and understand why the price is as is.

Digression aside, the bag allows you to carry it as a full sized tote by the short handles (first image), folded over as a shoulder bag (2nd and 3rd images – imagine it on the shoulder), and as a clutch (2nd image as carried by the model). That way I could easily expand or contract the bag depending on how much stuff I had. I carry two bags to work and I transfer buses – not exactly a very convenient way to travel with a bit of baggage, so if I can have something compact (especially if I am standing on the bus) it means that I don’t need to carry something super heavy for about 30 minutes or more.

The reason why I called this a lazy review is because I meant to take photos, but decided against it. It’s a pretty difficult bag to photograph as it has a slouchy structure. The third image down where you can see the bag folded over (back view) looks nothing like the actual thing because it is not hard/ stiff enough to fold into a perfect rectangle with straight edges. My favourite way of wearing the bag is actually as shown by the model, as a hand held clutch – I just really love folding over the bag for several reasons – your stuff doesn’t fall out of the bag for sure (since there is no zipper, so you fold it to secure items inside), the bag looks really nice with the short handles falling over it like an extra piece of decoration, and you support the bag without the use of the chain (will elaborate later).

falabella2

The bag itself comes in a 100% organic cotton dust bag with minimal cards etc. Inside the bag somewhere there is a stamp/ label mentioning which year and season the bag was manufactured for (in my case, S/S 2014 or something like that – the bag is in my closet and it’s too far away…). All their bags are manufactured in Italy and the whipstitch attaching the bag to the chain is all done by hand -as are the holes punched in for the whipstitch. The material is specially engineered and I like how the lining is made from recycled plastic bottles.

I didn’t really know what to expect for the bag, and ended up purchasing it in the shaggy deer, which is like a suede texture. All I can say is that I was so surprised I really couldn’t believe it wasn’t leather – it looks like leather and it felt like it. If I didn’t mention it to people, people would have really believed it was real leather, which was surprising.

All synthetic leathers are the same – or are they?

Synthetic leathers/ PU seem the same, but in my opinion they are different and depend on how they are manufactured. One reason why I am hesitant about synthetic leather is because they crack or peel over time, and that’s the end of it. There are so many brands using vegan leather (which is actually same same) with really high prices – and I think it largely has to do with how thin, lightweight the material is, and how well integrated the plastic is with the fabric for it to be “one”, as opposed to a layer on top of another layer (which is the worst thing ever).

There is another type of finish available which feels more like a textured lambskin (remarkably thin texture and seems coated/ water resistant), but I personally prefer the shaggy deer (slightly thicker texture), as I don’t think there is much room for cracking to occur (because plastic cracks… eventually). On the downside it is not waterproof, but this bag has been through downpour rain with me and it dries easily with no problems at all.

There is an internal zipper for smaller yet important items (I put my keys in there) and there is a snap button closure which a decent level of magnetism and strength. It is hard to pop it open accidentally, and it is one of the best snap magnetic closures I have come across. Size wise due to the flexibility and it being a medium size, it so far has been a good size for work or going out.

I’m not saying that the bag overall is perfect though – there are some downsides, such as the bag being reasonably heavy due to the chains, and also the chains opening at the joints. I used the bag (reasonably heavy load) for about 7 months and I can see the chain links being opened/ distorted due to the weight of the chain. This is why sometimes when I can, I try to carry it as a clutch so that the chains won’t pop open. Doesn’t mean that they opened to the extent that the chain will detach and I will need to reattach it, but I probably need to get some pliers and close them back up. Still, I really like the curb chain because it looks so different to any other chain out there.

The chains get scratched somewhat easily, but problem is easily solved as the bag is supposed to look more vintage as time goes by – in fact I probably prefer the bag to be a little more scratched as the chain is really super shiny – it is gorgeous in the sunlight and all, but I purchased the bag in mind that it looked low key… but in fact it was much more flashy than I had anticipated. Another thing you may or may not like is how slouchy the bag is – it is not stiff at all so it will just slouch according to whatever is inside. The bag will not distort, but it may look disorganised though it will allow you to pack lots of stuff inside. I’m a structured bag kind of person and really like my lines straight and clean cut. This is the reason why I don’t like Balenciaga because I can’t stand how slouchy a long bag can get – but with the Falabella, I think it is alright because it’s not as decorated or fancy as the Balenciagas – all the Falabella has are a few chains, and a circular logo plaque and that’s it. I like the simplicity and even though it can be slouchy, I think it’s great for a casual look.

Another thing about the Falabella – like all chain bags – is that they don’t really go down on bare skin. You will probably need to wear something that covers your shoulder or whatever for the chain to rest on, or it will probably be a bit uncomfortable to wear. Otherwise, hand carry and your problems are non existent.

sm01

 

I think if I were to suggest an improvement, I wish the curb chains were made of recycled plastic to keep the weight of the bag down and further emphasise reducing environmental impact. What I have in mind is reminiscent of those resin chains that Prada have which can look really nice, though resin can be quite heavy as well. And the curb chain itself should be soldered/ closed, not open links so they won’t pop open from the weight of load.

I was really happy buying this bag because I felt that it was for a good cause. I’m not a vegetarian but it was nice thinking that my bag was made of recycled stuff, and given the workmanship and effort put into making the bag I think it was a worthwhile purchase. I originally wanted to just forget about other bags and only buy different coloured Falabellas from this point on since they seemed so flexible and just about everything I needed, but when I noticed the links popping open, I had second thoughts.

This bag retails for $1,195USD as per the official Stella McCartney website. Australians may purchase the fold-over Falabella from David Jones for approximately $1,500 AUD. Please check your local stockist for up to date pricing.

My next bag review will be end of November/ early December. I will be reviewing the Louis Vuitton Capucines BB. So far I am loving it. I have had my eye on it ever since its release in 2013 (well, the Capucines in MM size anyway – I didn’t know they had a BB size) and couldn’t justify purchasing it due to the rather unprecedented price tag (in comparison to everything else they had), but I was pissed off at Chanel (my now least favourite place to shop) for their non existent customer service. On a side note about structure – my Chanel wallet has gone all sorts of funny and is slightly distorted from the leather softening. I have done a good job keeping it in good condition, but for its price and everything, soooooo so average quality.

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One thought on “Lazy Review of Stella McCartney Falabella Shaggy Deer Fold-Over Tote Bag

  1. Great review, thanks for sharing it. I just bought the falabella shaggy deer tote in black 2 days ago i haven’t used it yet and i wanted to know more about this brand. I was hessitating between another LV , burberry or stella mccartney, I choose the fallabella cause i like the fact, like you mentioned it, that is a bit more “low key” you’re not screaming some logo or pattern, its quite unique and still a sophisticated designer bag .

    I live in Mexico and Stella Mccartney its not as poppular as Michael Kors, Louis Vuitton, Carolina Herrea, etc… but i love wearing things that no one else does and the fallabella just nailed it. The only thing i didn’t like is that when I tried it on the store, it looked amazing (it had the paper filling inside) and when i put all of my things the lovely shape of the bag wasn’t there anymore, but it didn’t bother me at all i still love it.

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