The Bayswater is one of Mulberry’s most iconic bags. According to Mulberry it “is a timeless and classic style that celebrates the very best of understated and exquisite leather craft. It proudly features the signature postman’s lock closure, and has a soft, brushed interior, showcasing the exceptional level of leather quality”. Sounds good, right? I bought mine, a black buffalo leather version, in the summer of 2011 from Mulberry’s flagship store on Rue Saint-Honoré in Paris. It’s an investment piece, and if my calculations are right the price has increased by over 30% since 2011, so it’s even more of an investment if you were to buy one today. Which raises the question: is it worth it?
The brand new bag
This is a photo of my bag that was taken right after I returned home from my holiday in 2011. The bag is brand new and has yet to be worn. As you can see the leather is soft, but it still has a structure to it. The buffalo leather has a shine to it that their “natural leather” doesn’t seem to have, and I also think the natural leather is more structured. I could tell that the Buffalo leather would be more likely to soften and wrinkle with age, which was what I wanted.
3 1/2 years later
And here it is today, 3 1/2 years later. It has to be said that I haven’t worn the bag daily since I bought it – if you have seen my handbag collection post you will know that I rotate quite a bit – but I think I can safely say that I have worn the bag for 2 years if you add it all up, and that’s in all kinds of weather. As you can see it has turned considerably more wrinkled and floppy with age. It doesn’t stand up on it’s own when it is empty anymore, and the leather grain is a lot more prominent.The hardware shows a few scratches here and there, but nothing too bad. This was what I was after. I’m not a girl for structured everyday bags. I like them a bit laid-back.
I treat the bag with leather polish a couple of times a year, and I also go over all my bags with waterproofing spray every time I polish and treat my shoes. It holds up perfectly in the rain, and I love that the opening is completely covered by the flap. When I don’t use the bag I stuff it with paper and keep it upright in it’s dust bag. I never use the little padlock, but I still keep it attached to the handle.
Here’s a shot of the side to show you the creasing and texture of the leather. Personally I love it: I like that it looks like my bag has lived a little. I haven’t been precious about it at all, but treated it just like I would any other bag. As both my Mulberry bags are buffalo leather I can’t compare it to their other leathers, but more than three years down the road I have not regretted that I chose buffalo.
Should you make the splurge?
So is it worth it? I suppose that’s not something I can decide for you. The natural leathers currently start at £900/$1,500, and most people will never consider it “worth it” to spend that kind of money on a handbag. It will get battered, scratched and bruised with daily wear, and the price tag does not make it immune to aging. However, if you are in the market for a classic, timeless bag then I can definitely vouch for the Bayswater. It is “designer” without being ostentatious, and it has no flashy logos and no blinged out hardware. It’s a practical everyday workhorse, and I know I will appreciate it until it falls apart. It is as appropriate for a 20 year-old as it is for a 60 year-old, and personally I am very happy I chose the Bayswater as my first true investment bag.
Edit: The Bayswater was redesigned a few years ago, and this model is now called the Heritage Bayswater.
Photo by Maria Hansen Troøyen.