As you know, I started my quest of sourcing a Prada Galleria bag a couple of months back and was unsuccessful… at least, initially. I told myself I’d try sourcing the bag again in December. Turns out, I didn’t have to wait too long to get the bag in the style that I want but in a different *much better* material! Just a couple of weeks after getting the Gucci Marmont bag, I came across the Prada Galleria Bicolor City Calf from a local vendor, Bag R’ Brands.
I will admit, the seller is not as well known as Lux Online or Canon E-Prime bags so I did have reservations about buying from Bag B’ Brand. But it’s actually a legitimate shop with a physical store and everything. I have written a separate review about my buying experience because again, I want to help consumers find legit sellers online and avoid scammers. You can check out my buying experience here.
What is it: Prada Galleria Bicolor City Calf
A few weeks back, I was trying to source a Prada Galleria bag in Saffiano leather. But months before that, I tried sourcing a different bag, which appears to have been phased out. I mentioned this bag before and was talking about the Galleria City Calf. which came out in 2015.
I’ve always been drawn to the Galleria’s double zip design (learn all about Prada’s different bag designs here) and pined for the Saffiano Lux ever since. But I also mentioned my reservations about getting the Saffiano Lux because of the quality of the leather. Prada’s leather quality, in general, has sadly deteriorated over time. The Saffiano leather, in particular, is notoriously prone to cracking despite its durability. This problem was so widespread that the Saffiano leather became known for it.
The cracking isn’t caused by normal wear and tear. Since the leather goes through hot pressing, it takes on a rather rigid structure, which could sometimes dry out and crumble especially along the leather lining and corners. The hot, humid weather doesn’t help either, it could accelerate the cracking, which is something that I was afraid of.
Unlike its iconic sister, the Galleria Saffiano Lux, the Galleria City Calf is made of buttery, luxuriously soft calfskin leather. I figured that I’d have better luck with the soft calfskin than the rigid saffiano leather, especially in this heat.
The Galleria City Calf comes in five color combinations, I think, and I got the Bluette and Assenzio color combination. Blue and green happen to be my favorite color blocking combo, BTW. I adore this fun pairing!
The Galleria City Calf really has a unique look and I’m puzzled why Prada got rid of this design considering the glowing reviews it got. The Prada Galleria City Calf is not as structured as the Galleria saffiano. It’s sort of soft but it doesn’t slouch all the way. I think over time it will slouch. This is a double-zip tote that comes with a single, sizable compartment in the middle. I hate bags with a middle partition so this is so right up my alley.
Instead of Prada’s signature jacquard lining, the Galleria City Calf boasts an all-leather interior lining. It’s buttery suede not microfiber, guys, so luxurious! It doesn’t come with a small pocket, however, which is a bummer. Most Galleria Saffiano totes come with gold hardware but this style comes with steel or silver hardware. I like its laid-back, casual look. The Saffiano Lux was too dressy for me anyway.
The leather is similar to my Fendi DotCom. It’s not completely smooth, there’s a little texture. Of course, smooth leather translates to scratches and dings, something that I’m quite concerned about. After going through threads after threads, a Purse Blog forum member said Prada’s city calfskin is meant to show its age through the scratches. And that the scratches will blend with the leather and develop a patina over time.
If you’re just as batty about smooth leather, don’t be. I can say, having used a couple of bags made with smooth leather on many occasions, I see the scratches but they don’t bother me as much anymore. Most of the scratches could be buffed away with a little leather conditioner anyway.
The Prada Galleria City Calf is a couple of inches taller than a medium Saffiano Lux, which was a surprise. I thought the sizes were the same. I was gonna get the smaller Saffiano Lux before but since I have a small purse now, I appreciate the roomier interior! I love how youthful this bag looks, it’s still a classic but with a modern twist. The contrast between the blue and the green is so nice.
To love Prada is to accept the brand’s many quality issues. I must admit, I kept an open mind when I bought this bag because 1) it’s not bought from the boutique so there are bound to be minor issues with it and 2) even if the bag is bought from a Prada boutique, expect minor issues with the item. Most Prada fans recommend having the SAs pull out several bags of the same model and shade so you can inspect each one and choose the one with the least problems. Yikes.
I have mentioned in my initial post that this bag seems to have spent a lot of time in storage. I will explain as I go through the details below.
The bag itself is free from major issues. The stitching is even and clean. There were no glazing problems. There were no scratches. The hardware is neat and scratch free, including the protective feet. I can tell that the bag was packed carefully before it was stored. One that clued me just how long this bag stayed in storage:
Can you see it? The screw that holds the shoulder strap’s hardware has a greenish build-up, which is some type of corrosion. This is the only issue that I am quite concerned about because this needs professional cleaning or a complete replacement. I saw this flaw while I was in store but again, I had an open mind about such things. As long as there is no major functional flaw, I’m okay with it. That said, I will take this to a Prada boutique sometime next month to have it inspected. I’m relieved that the bag’s actual hardware didn’t develop any tarnishing. Most of the issues I saw seemed to be limited to the bag strap.
There is also a minuscule dent on the leather strap and this was caused by the hardware when the strap was rolled while storage. The strap was rolled neatly and secured with the original wrapping paper when I got it. When I removed the wrapping paper and unfurled the strap, I immediately saw the dent and knew this bag has been kept in storage for a while. No problem with this whatsoever because this is not a manufacturing issue.
Some people might not be okay with plunking this much money on a less than perfect purse but having bought several bags from resellers, I knew that the bags have their own quirks. I’ve experienced the same thing with my Nightingale and Marmont (the leather had minor indentation), but these issues were not glaring enough to stop me from getting the bags. I knew full well I’m getting the item from a reseller, not the boutique. If this is something that bothers you then you are better off buying the bag from the Prada store, if it’s still available. This model has been phased out for some time now. And even then, expect some of the bags from the boutique to have minor issues. Nothing is really perfect in this world, especially handmade bags.
Right, so these are all the details that caught my attention while inspecting the bag. The bag itself was immaculate. It’s unused and in brand new condition, which is the thing that mattered to me the most.
I’m aware that Prada bags are a favorite by counterfeiters so its authenticity might be questionable to some especially with super fakes saturating the market. I don’t claim to be an expert because this is my first Prada bag. I was planning to have this bag authenticated by someone overseas but after carefully inspecting the details of the purse, I know it’s the real deal. If you own several designer bags, you’ll know if you bought a fake. The hardware, stitching, the interiors and the quality of the leather should clue you in.
I also inspected the bag number, the white tag, the hardware, even the ends of the zips and compared them all to the ones I’ve seen online, everything checks out right down to the shade combo. Most fakes tend to come with the wrong model numbers on the authenticity card. For example, the Galleria’s model number is 1BA274 and it checks out. If you copy pasted the model number on Google and you got a different bag, you might want to have the bag checked by an expert.
Same thing with the color combination. If the authenticity card indicates a different shade for the style that you have, have the bag checked. For instance, this bag only comes in Bluette and Assenzio combination. It doesn’t come in Baltico, Celeste, Turchese, Azzurro or other Prada blues. Just Bluette.
Also, I trust Ms. Ara’s authentication process (it says on the agreement that they have one in place or they work with a third party authenticator) and the business itself seems to have a solid reputation.
One thing that I’ll say, buying designer items from resellers, even trusted ones, require a lot of research. Buy at your own risk and know what to look for. If your gut says it’s a fake, it probably is. I know because I unknowingly bought a fake Longchamp luggage bag a year ago and although the Longchamp SAs at Shang cannot tell it’s a fake (yes, the bag was evaluated at an LC store), I know it is. The feel of the leather, it’s different. It was a super fake and I knew it the second I felt the material.
Right, so getting back to the finer details of the bag. Here are the metal feet. Notice that the font of the engraving is the same as the one on the bag’s logo plate.
The interior of the bag is wrapped in soft suede, like real suede leather and not microfiber. At least that’s what Prada claims. I’m aware of Prada’s pleather lining scandal, which is another testament to the brand’s declining quality. Since the bag doesn’t come with the brand’s signature jacquard lining and no interior pocket either, there is no enamel plate inside. In its place is a leather tab with the brand’s logo.
A white fabric tag is also hidden in one of the pockets, I didn’t take a picture of it. The zippers are quite robust with clean, clear, and crisp engraving. The label “RIRI” is engraved under each zip, which is the name of the zipper manufacturer. Unless you have a vintage piece, all Prada zips come with such engraving (but Prada use different zip brands). I couldn’t take a picture because it’s hard to get the angle right.
Below are some of the items that came with the bag: the dust bag, the straps, the care cards, the clochette. The booklet is also inside the tiny envelope, I just didn’t take it out. I removed the clochette because I don’t use it.
It’s not obvious in the image above but the “R” of Prada is a little curved. There is also a teeny tiny gap in between the loop and the leg.
I also love the little details that made the Galleria design so popular. The metal feet protect the base of the bag, the snap-on closures on the sides, the clochette, and of course, the two massive zipped pockets on the sides. I’m liking the snap-on closures in particular because they were wrapped in the same material as the exterior of the bag. You don’t see the same detail in the Saffiano Lux version.
The wider strap is also nice, I hate skinny bag straps that dig into the shoulders. This one is quite comfortable to carry around because of the straps. Love the tone on tone stitching, which looks durable. The silver zips are also fabulous, they work so smoothly. The size of the bag is great, it can hold a lot. This is a terrific everyday work bag but it looks easy breezy enough for casual dates or malling.
This is a spacious bag and a heavy one on its own. I love the smooshy quality of the leather although it’s quite delicate. I adore the durable rolled leather handles because I carry the bag by the handle most times. No need to worry about color transfer when wearing this bag. It’s a nice cornflower blue so stains aren’t that obvious. Also, the dye didn’t rub onto my clothes. Still, I treated the leather to weatherproof the material before using it.
Here’s yours truly wearing the bag in three different ways:
The leather is so soft that it bends and retains the bent shape in places, which are hard to correct. Since the strap has been rolled and kept for a long time, it has taken on this weird zig-zaggy shape. What I do is, I roll it on the opposite side to straighten it out. I’m seeing improvements but I think it will take time before the strap straightens out completely.
The sides of the bag slouch because the leather is quite heavy. A bag stuffer is a must when storing the bag. Also, you cannot simply fill the zipped compartments with stuff. This will cause the bag to warp or bulge. These compartments are only good for folders, paper, and other flat items. I like the look of the double zip but I never had plans of using these pockets.
City calf may be resistant to cracking and peeling because the material is naturally pliant but it scratches so easily. In fact, I’ve only worn this bag once and already, I was seeing two super fine scratches at the bottom. I was careful with the bag although I didn’t baby it. Thankfully, the scratches blended in with the leather so they are unnoticeable.
The leather is quite heavy so one side of it has slouched more than the other side. Also, if you put heavy pressure on the leather, the material will develop a dent. I can see a shadow of a dent on the leather where one of the handles rested while in storage, for example. Another is the hardware that made a dent on the strap, which I highlighted earlier in this post.
The main compartment is a gaping hole. The bag doesn’t have a front closure or a clasp that shuts the main compartment. The snap-on closures on the sides do help but there is no main closure in the middle of the compartment so your stuff is basically exposed.
The Prada Galleria Bicolor City Calf completes my collection. It’s the shit! I pined for the Galleria for such a long time and finally having one right now, I’m over the moon! Overall, this is such a lucky purchase for me, I got the bag of my dreams in the colorway that I’ve always wanted.
Of course, I know the itch to get another bag will come around soon enough. I am still considering getting a Celine box bag next year although I might not get a brand new one anymore. I allowed myself to go all out this year and I don’t think I’d be willing to plunk the same amount of money next year for a brand new Celine unless the deal is that good.