Thursday, June 23, 2016

Mulberry Makeover

I love a good makeover. A bespectacled wallflower (with surprisingly good bone structure) gets primped and prodded until she emerges all smoothed, refined and desirable. Just in time to snag her prince. Hm. Ok...
Anyway. Our beloved Mulberry Bayswater had a makeover - as had her little sister the Small Bayswater Satchel. I thought I'd do a comparison between the classic SBS (which in itself is a made-over Ledbury) and the Small New Bayswater.

Very comparable as you can see on the pic.
According to Mulberry's webshop the measurements are
SBS H16, W26, D14. Handle drop 8cm.
SNB H21, W26 - 33, D13. Handle drop 9cm.
I would guess that they are listed with a 5cm height difference because the SBS is much slouchier and was probably measured in it's slouchier, un-stuffed form. You can see here though that they are pretty similar.

Mulberry Small Bayswater Satchel and New Small Bayswater

Mulberry Small Bayswater backs

Looking at them from the side, is where you'd notice the biggest difference in re to size: whilst the SBS is deep at the bottom, the straps pull it together at the top. Of course, you could just undo them but I think most people leave it like this

Mulberry Small Bayswater old and new

The SBS is quite slouchy. This is partially due to the leather, partially due to its construction. (More on the leather later.) The main difference in construction is how the bag's "body" and side panels have been joined. In the SBS the leather is folded in on itself and then piping (re-inforced leather tubes) is sewn to the edges before it is joined onto the other panel. 
For the Small New Baywater the edges are essentially sewn on top of each other and have then inking applied for protection. You can see this in the above picture. This technique was used on quite a few vintage Mulberry bags I've seen, e.g. the Kelly or the Roxanne. 

SBS in classic NVT Oak: quite soft, varying grain as it "retains the individual grain pattern of the skin", matte. The inside is unlined, so you get the brushed underside of the leather.

Mulberry Oak NVT

NSB in Oak Natural Grain Leather: sturdier, even grain as it "has been print assisted to make the grain consistent and regular". ("print assisted" - seriously?!), more sheen. Suede lined.

Oak Natural Grain Leather

The SBS has brass hardware, which is fairly matte, so it looks a bit more understated than, for example, soft gold components. It is also less prone to scratches. The postman's lock is made up out of the lock plate, on which the actual lock sits, and the top plate, which covers the inside and outside of the leather flap that closes the bag. The lock is pretty sturdy and the lock plates protect the leather/suede from getting grubby too quickly. On the top lockplate, we have the tree embossed above the hole, i.e. you will see it right above the turnlock when the bag is closed.

Mulberry brass hardware

The SNB hardware is much shinier and - even though it is called "brass" - looks much more golden. The lock components have been reduced to the bare essentials, so we lost the bottom plate and the plate on the inside of the flap. Instead of an embossed tree above the turnlock, we now have the Mulberry lettering embossed underneath. (Can't believe I forgot to take those pics - sorry! Will try and add them another time!)

Mulberry new brass hardware

Shoulder Strap
Both bags come with a shoulder strap but the SBS' strap delivers a bag drop of up to 67cm, whilst the NSB's bag drop only measures 47cm.

d-ring positioning

d-rings positioning on Mulberry's new Small Bayswater
On the SBS the d-rings are attached directly to the top of the side panel and rub a bit on the top flap. On the SNB they have been re-positioned in such a way that they no longer rub on the flap. 

What else...
On the new model, the inside pocket has been moved into the front, which makes it more easily accessible. Another change is that there is no longer a cloche. Oh, and as I said above, no longer a belt to make the bag bigger or smaller.

So, which one is better? 
Very much down to personal opinion! For me, each one scores a few points:

The New Small Bayswater wins for me because
As I prefer boxy bags, I like the sturdier leather and more structured design of the Small New Bayswater - even if I think the SBS just looks prettier. Ditto on the belt: I like how it looks but the unfussier and roomier version without it, just works better on a practical level for me. The re-positioning of the internal pocket is also a simple but well thought out change. Oh, and last but not least, I think the way the d-rings have been re-positioned is clever.

I can't quite decide who should win
The Mulberry cloche is a quirky and cute design feature but I usually end up moving it somewhere where it doesn't annoy me, so I'm not too fussed about that going. Likewise, I liked the fobs on the inside, as they help me identify a genuine bag (or rather: spot a fake on many occasions) but I have no doubt that other features will soon become apparent that will allow us to do that.

The Small Bayswater Satchel wins for me because
What is the story with the new hardware?! Shine aside, the colour just looks cheap, too yellow. I prefer the more discreet tree logo to the "Mulberry" lettering. The lock mechanism feels flimsy, the absence of the lock plate makes me think that the suede there will just wear really quickly. 
I much prefer the look of the classic NVT Oak: it has real character and looks natural. There isn't much "natural" about the new "Oak Natural Grain Leather": the grain is embossed, the colour looks more ginger than natural leather.
A big disappointment is for me the length of the strap. Truly good design is where function leads the fashion and this has been applied in a number of things mentioned above. Why not make this now even more practical bag suitable for cross body carrying? These extra few centimetres of leather would have made a huge difference but they are probably the deal breaker for me.

Well, I hope the SBS will stay for a while and even if it will disappear out of main stores, that the outlets will continue to carry it, much like they've done with the likes of the Mitzy and the Somerset.

Which one do you prefer? I quite liked her with the glasses on because sometimes what you have is just right - even if you could prod and find fault...

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Print Mix

And I was suddenly again in jumpers that week. Really June?! Just noticed though: four out of five of the outfits are centred around a print. Might have a thing for those...

Zara Mint Top with Lace Trim and Boden print pencil skirt
Top: Zara
Skirt: Boden
Trainers: Converse
Necklace: Topshop

Intropia Dress, Mulberry belt, M&S boots
Dress: Intropia
Top worn underneath & necklace: Topshop
Cardigan: H&M
Belt: Mulberry
Boots: Marks & Spencer

Gold knit top and Boden retro print skirt
Jumper & top worn underneath: H&M
Skirt: Boden
Trainers: Converse
Necklace: Warehouse

Warehouse midi skirt and plain Boden Cashmere knit
Top: Boden
Skirt: Warehouse
Trainers: Converse
Necklace: Sainsburys

All Saints skirt, H&M top and cardigan and M&S boots.
Top & Cardigan: H&M
Skirt: All Saints
Boots: Marks & Spencer
Necklace: Stella & Dot
Bag: Mulberry

Monday, June 20, 2016

Repeat Offender

Is it still surprising when somebody does the surprising thing again and again? 

Like when I say 
"Oh, I like that bag", then 
"ah, I'm not sure", 
"nah' it's not for me"...and then 
- I buy it? 

Only just did that with the Cara and have been using her loads, so bound to happen again, right?

Maybe with the Mulberry Small Roxette? From "must have" to "meh" in the course of a week - and just a little while down the line and... ta daaaa...

Mulberry Small Roxette in Black Deep Enbossed Croc

So there you go. I gave in. Watch me unbox (or un-bag) my new Mulberry Small Roxette.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Oak NVT Printed vs Glossy Goat

Picking a bag is hard, right? First you might consider style and features:
  • Is it big or small? 
  • Structured or soft? 
  • Hand-held or (also) suitable to be carried on the shoulder?
Then you have to select the "right" colour, that will work with your wardrobe. Though I don't tend to think about that, I just go with what I like (more often that not that's Oak NVT), I know many of others are more adventurous when it comes to choosing a colour.
And then you might become aware that different leathers have different characteristics. Where one finish might age visibly and develop a patina, another one might not change as quickly. One type of leather might make a bag slouchy, another will provide some structure. Oh, and they might also be paired with different hardware: brass, soft gold or nickel... 

Didn't I say this is hard?

As I happen to currently house two Bayswaters (to me the most iconic of Mulberry's styles) in two different finishes, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to compare these!

Mulberry Bayswater in Printed Oak NVT and Red Glossy Goat

So scroll down and have a look at my video but I first also a few closeups so you can see the difference really well.

NVT Printed Oak and Red Glossy Goat comparison

 NVT in Printed Oak

NVT Printed Oak

The leather is embossed with a pattern of sorts, that will remind you of a reptile skin - hence it often being called 'croc'. The print lends a structure to the bag, making it more rigid. The leather has that natural oak feel but is not as matte; it appears glossier and will become more so with use. The leather between the printed lines is smooth, colour varies, goes marginally lighter and darker. NVT Oak is notoriously prone to waterspots and many owners don't dare take their oak bags out in the rain. Regular treatment with Collonil will protect against this though.

Bayswater brass hardware

The hardware on the older oak styles tends to be brass. Matte and more understated than the gold, it is actually my favourite finish. Not least because it doesn't get scratched as easily as the shinier hardware.

Glossy Goat

Mulberry glossy goat in red

Since making the video I looked this up (thanks, Shian!) and this nicely even grain is, indeed, embossed. I have heard many goatskin bag owners use the word "bombproof". I can't vouch for that myself but the glossy finish certainly seems less sensitive than NVT. Overall the bag seems softer though and I do know that it will slouch quicker than the printed NVT.

Closeup of Mulberry's soft gold hardware

The hardware on this Bayswater is soft gold. It is highly polished and I would say looks more formal and dressier than the brass. Being so glossy, it will show scratches sooner than brass.

Right, I think that's it - have a look at my video for a full on comparison!

Mulberry Bayswater in red glossy goat and oak printed nvt

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Early Summer Outfits

Last week felt really summery - look: three outfits without even my cardigan on! I have to admit to wearing one in the morning - though I did leave without a coat!

Primark dress with blue pinstripes and gold buttons
Dress: Primark
Shoes: Zara

Print skirt by Miss Selfridge paired with grey marl t-shirt and converse
Top: Warehouse
Skirt: Miss Selfridge
Trainers: Converse
Bag: Strathberry

Print skirt from Miss Selfridge
Top: Warehouse
Skirt: Miss Selfridge
Trainers: Converse

Warehouse skirt with wrap effect
Top: Primark
Cardigan: Boden
Skirt: Warehouse
Trainers: Converse

Thursday, June 09, 2016

Big Bag, Small Luggage

Bags - and Mulberry's are no exception here - come in different sizes:
Sometimes they are typical handbag size. 
Sometimes they are large purses. 
And sometimes they are the kind of size you could use as a travel bag.

The Oversized Taylor is such a bag and with a bit of careful packing you could just use it as your carry on.

Mulberry Taylor Oversized Satchel in Mole Grey Soft Matte

Want to see what I fitted in?

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Late Spring Knits

Writing this just after a few days of spring/summer heat, sitting here in my shorts, it looks like last week was an awful lot cooler. Anyway, here you go: for now the last week of cool spring outfits!
Boden knit, H&M jeans and necklace, Converse All Star trainers
Jumper: Boden
Jeans: H&M
Trainers: Converse
Necklace: H&M

DvF dress and Zara shoes
Dress: Diane von Fuerstenberg
Shoes: Zara
Necklace: Stella & Dot

Zara skirt, Sainsburys top, Marni necklace
Top: Sainsbury's
Cardigan: Boden
Skirt: Zara
Trainers: Converse
Necklace: Marni at H&M
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