The one I have is the Balenciaga giant silver hardware City bag in Papyrus. I bought it in the States for $1795 USD before taxes at Neiman Marcus in Bellevue, WA. In Canada, the same bag would have cost $1930-$1950 CAD before taxes (I forgot what it was but it's around there). Overall, you are not saving much if you buy it in the States (unless you go to Portland, OR) because after taxes and customs, the price is pretty much equal.
Balenciaga giant silver hardware City in Papyrus from the official Balenciaga website
Why did I buy my bag from the States instead of Canada? Because Holt Renfrew gave me bad service. I initially wanted the same bag but in black and giant rose gold hardware. They told me there was a wait list and when one comes in, they would give me a call. Well I dropped by Holt Renfrew every now and then to check up on that bag. Low and behold, I see the black version on the shelf. After 2 weeks from that day, no call from Balenciaga. I guess they don't want my business. I guess it was fate because I found an even nicer colour when I went down to Bellevue this summer. It was awesome because: I got a Fall/Winter 2011 bag during the summer time (yay! for exclusivity!) and the colour Papyrus (a beige/taupe/light grey) is seasonal. I can always get a black one whenever I want because black is a permanent colour in their collection.
Balenciaga regular hardware City in Bleu Lavande from the official Balenciaga website
Balenciaga regular hardware City in metallic dark grey from the official Balenciaga website
I want to buy another Balenciaga before the price increase in November 2011. The City bag with regular hardware is $1445 USD before taxes. So that should be around $1575 Canadian before taxes. I would only get one bag but I'm torn between the blue lavender or the metallic dark grey. So far I'm really drawn to the purple bag because it is so unique. The metallic bag's leather looks very fragile in person but it's so pretty as well. So readers, help me pick! Which one should I buy? I'm planning to sell my Gucci bag to fund another Balenciaga because it just seems more economical that way.
The colour always changes from taupe to light grey in different light settings. This is under natural sunlight on my porch haha.
Up close photo in an indoor/dimmer lighting and it looks more light grey.
Some facts about Balenciaga:
- There are two types of leather: chevre (goatskin) or agneau (lambskin)
- Goatskin is thicker and more lush/squishy but it's usually found in older balenciaga bags
- Lambskin is thinner, more veiny looking and feels more rough and it's usually found in newer balenciaga bags
- They are getting rid of the giant hardware in 2012 and will be replacing it with a "mini giant" hardware
- Price increase in November 2011 (roughly +$100 on top of current pricing)
- Get a dark coloured bag and try to avoid light coloured bags because of colour transfer (the Papyrus colour was the lightest I would go. I have some denim transfer on the corners of my bag but the blue colour rubbed off due to wear. I guess I'm lucky!)
- Balenciaga bags are surprisingly not as high maintenance as you would think (vs Chanel grr). I took my bag out in light rain (note: bag is lambskin and a light colour) but the water droplets dried up quickly and left no water stains. I wouldn't take it out in the pouring rain but at least it holds up well during a light drizzle.
- The bags look nicer in person. When I saw photos of Balenciaga bags online. I just thought they all look the same and why would one want so many in various colours? But when you see the bag in person and touch it and try it on... your mind totally changes
- The regular hardware Balenciaga has tassels that hang from the bag while the giant hardware bags do not
- The giant hardware bags have a shorter shoulder strap while the shoulder strap on the regular hardware bag is longer
Also, if the bale (connecting to the clasp and then to O-ring) does not look like this..then the bag is a FAKE. Most fake Balenciaga bags do not get the bales right. This is usually the easiest thing to spot externally. See how the bale curves on its edges and then meets at a slight incline? Most fakes have rectangular edges and an obvious triangle incline.