Swayed by suede, a cautionary tale



Thinking of buying a suede bag? Perhaps YSL‘s mock-croc print number or 3.1 Phillip Lim‘s reversible tote? Well take my advice, don’t do it. Unless you have a full-time driver or live somewhere with extremely agreeable weather. I lusted after Baleciaga’s cherry-red suede slouch bag for, oh months, before I finally came face to face with it in a boutique and did the classic ‘if I don’t buy it now it won’t be here next time’ panic splurge. It first gave me come-hither glances from the back page of US Vogue which I subsequently tore out and carried around with me. I fantasised about what I’d wear it with – a bit Frankie Rayder I fancied, in gently faded Levis and a just-fitted-enough white tee – and what it would smell like (I have an unhealthy obsession with sniffing leather and suede). When you see something like that in the flesh after investing so much time and energy in the fantasy, your real-life logic doesn’t stand a chance. I gave it a cursory try-on in the shop before the adrenalin got the better of me and seconds later it was in the carrier bag and in my hand.

A few years down the line and I can count the number of times I’ve used it on three fingers. The simple fact is a suede bag and unpredictable London weather do not a good combination make. Time after time I’ve rediscovered it, tenderly unpacked it from its dustbag, given it a gentle stroke and a sniff and vowed to use it the very next day. Come the next morning, sensing a hint of darkness in the sky and the threat of a downpour it’s back to the PVC Marc shopper and boring reliability.

We all know that the fashion industry is based on fantasy and this example goes to prove it. Every time I see the poor bag it’s an expensive reminder of that seductive back-page-of-Vogue photo and the promise that it would change my life. Sucker! So what now? The bag has been unpacked for the very last time and tomorrow it makes its way to Rellik, the queen bee of vintage stores. It’s not an It bag and it’s not strictly vintage but it’s Balenciaga so Stephen Rellik has hinted he might be up for a swapsies consultation. We can but wait and see.

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11 Responses to Swayed by suede, a cautionary tale

  1. enc says:

    I’m sad to hear of this tale of woe. I’ve been caught in the rain before and had to face damaging facts, too. It happened to me with suede shoes, though, and oh, did my heart break.

    I hope you get a decent deal going for the bag.

  2. K.Line says:

    Valuable advice. Can’t tell you the number of times I’ve wanted to pull out the suede but haven’t done it because of some clouds. And I don’t even live in Britain!

  3. susie_bubble says:

    I sorta like the look of wrecked suede…but only if it was cheap to begin with…. so I feel your pain with this bag….

  4. Indian Rose says:

    Suede and Britain don’t mix at all! On numerous occasions i’ve found a gorgeous pair of shoes….then when you realise that they made of suede, it just kills the lusting after them part for me :(

  5. July Stars says:

    I bought that bag in the same cherry red colour as soon as I saw it in Browns and yes, It came out to play three or four times before I realized what a mistake I’d made. I sold it on Ebay a few months after having made this regrettable purchase.

  6. Blue Floppy Hat says:

    It might have suited living in a tropical country, though…pity you didn’t bring it out to India, it might have gotten at least a bit more play there)…

  7. shanju_cool says:

    why not eBay the bag? unless your absolutely set on swapping it with some items at the vintage store. please post item number here if you do decide to put it on eBay.

  8. atelier says:

    I am so sorry. It happened the same to me with a pair of shoes. One day I was so angry with it that I wore them, despite the sky was dark and finally it was raining… so I couldn’t wear them again. But I guess I learnt, because I didn’t buy anything on suede for a while.

  9. V*Kstro says:

    this might sound a bit rad, but let the raindrops fall… i like when suede looks a somewhat rugged, but i also love pvc! what love to see your bag collection!

  10. the iron chic says:

    I say you just use it and let the chips fall where they may.
    Don’t deny it its purpose in life!!!!!

  11. Super Kawaii Mama says:

    Could you possibly have it waterproofed? (Or would that be sacrilege..) I have had that professionally done on some suede shoes before and it worked a treat for our rainy Melbourne weather.

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