Prada Saffiano Lux Top Handle Review

Lub-dub, lub-dub, lub-dub.

People think that heartbeats are the sound of the heart "pumping" blood. Actually, it's the sound of the valves of the heart slamming shut every time blood travels through. As someone who grew up taught never to slam doors, this seems like an awful amount of unnecessary wear and tear on something that is, um, key to my existence and in short supply. Anyone else troubled by this?

I guess this is a stupid thing to fret about since (1) that's just the way hearts are designed, and (2) there's absolutely nothing I can do about it... But I'm neurotic and it plagues me all the same.

Now that I've given you something unsettling that you are powerless over, here's some comfort. Vastly less important but a bit easier on the eyes (and the neurotic mind) is the Prada Saffiano Lux Top Handle. (Was that an unexpected transition or what! #emotionalrollercoaster)

I've had this for almost a year now, and like my Cartier Love bracelet post, I really enjoy reviewing my items after a period of time... seeing if it really fit into my lifestyle the way I had hoped, how I used it and how it looks now. Today I'll discuss the most popular issues with the Prada Saffiano Lux line, compare the Double Zip Tote with my Top Handle, and end with my final thoughts. Here we go!

Intro

I have the Saffiano Lux BL0838, sometimes referred to as the "small top handle," in the color Cameo. Dimensions are 9.5 x 7 x 4 in (24 x 17.5 x 10.5 cm).

For some background, I own a Chanel "Wallet On a Chain" (WOC) that I thought would be my final handbag for years to come. After a couple years of using the WOC, I realized there were a few ways that it fell short of what I needed in an everyday bag. 

My criteria for my next (and hopefully final) handbag were:

  1. Structured
  2. Detachable long shoulder/messenger strap
  3. Feet
  4. Relatively secure (e.g., not like a gaping tote bag that can't be closed)
  5. Ladylike
  6. Small as possible while able to accommodate my 2 types of days:
    1. Days where I carry: Wallet, iPhone, chapstick, car key (what I carry 90% of the time)
    2. Days where I carry: All the above + sunglasses, camera

Comparison: Double Zip Tote vs. Top Handle

I thought I wanted the Double Zip Tote that is very popular. Ultimately, the way the main compartment is wide open and unsecured bugged me -- both because of theft and the annoying way contents spill out in the car. Also, I felt it was too businesslike and I preferred the feminine curved top of the BL0838. I always leave my bag completely unzipped, but because of the structure, the opening is narrow enough that I'm not scared of theft, and contents don't spill out as much.

Note that Prada makes these Saffiano purses in a lotttt of different styles! So double check details because not all features are available with every style (e.g., not every style comes with the shoulder strap.) And not all features are available with every size (e.g., the shoulder strap only comes with the smaller sizes.)

Capacity comparison: the tote carries everything the top handle does, plus a mini iPad

Capacity comparison: the tote carries everything the top handle does, plus a mini iPad

Prada Quality Control

There isn't any. Just kidding... kinda. Google around and you will see a LOT of people complaining about defects and having to exchange. I'm sorry to say that my past experiences with Prada, and this bag, are no different.

My particular defect seemed to stem from the bag's small size. Since my bag is so small, there's not much breathing room between the opening, the compartments, and the zippers. One of the interior zippers was right next to a leather border, and it would drag along the entire length of the leather. The leather border was ragged. I exchanged for a new bag with no fuss, and I'm guessing this isn't a problem in the larger sizes.

That being said, I want to emphasize that in my opinion, this bag is superbly constructed. Handmade, and every stitch is straight, every sealed border perfectly even... which you'd think is a given when it comes to luxury bags but sadly it's not! I'm actually more impressed by this than my Chanel WOC... the Prada has more "pieces" (leather handles, strap, key fob, more hardware) than the WOC and thus more room for error but it's all perfectly aligned.

Wear & cleaning

After almost a year, I think the condition of the bag is excellent. As you can see in the photo, my camera is obese. From the beginning I already made peace with the expectation that there would be some leather warping, but there is absolutely none! And the opening shows very little wear as well, despite constant reaching in and out of the bag.

Below is a detail shot of some grime build-up. It only occurs where there's a lot of hardware movement; I think the polish on the hardware rubs off onto the leather, which attracts dirt. The Prada care card says that Saffiano leather is "calfskin that has been tanned using natural methods, treated to make it hard wearing and printed to produce a distinctive semi-lustrous effect... Clean with a soft, dry cloth." Rubbing in circular motions with a soft cloth for a few minutes removed 75% of the grime; a very lightly dampened cloth removed the rest. Hooray! For narrow spaces, I used a Q-tip.

For reference, I am 5'3"

For reference, I am 5'3"

Conclusion

This bag satisfies all the criteria I initially chose it for, and no issues have come up in the year I've been using it. I thought my Chanel WOC would be my final bag for a long time, but after a while I couldn't ignore the fact that there were things left to be desired. I can confidently say that this Prada bag has finally filled the little void in my heart, and I no longer wander the handbag aisles looking for love. I have found The One For Me, and my heart is content. (It still slams its doors, though.)