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A few years ago I worked briefly for a fashion college in London during their enrolment period. It was there that I met a good friend who just so happened to work at Lulu Guinness. After lusting over her various handbags from the store she offered to get me one with her discount. Obviously I jumped at the chance, having never owned anything as nice. I chose this patent leather mid Carmella in black and it soon became my favourite and only handbag.
If you don't know anything about this designer then you definitely should, she is amazing. The lady herself is the daughter of a Baronet and married into the Guinness family (yes, the drink). She has worked as a accessories designer in the fashion world for many years and launched her handbag and accessories company 'Lulu Guinness' in 1989.
This was a brand I was vaguely familiar with before I met my friend who worked there. It was never something I would have considered buying because almost all of the bags are £200+. As a student facing the threat of enormous debt I never considered spending this amount of money on myself. To be able to get something for a discounted price was too good an opportunity to pass up though.
The Carmella bag is shaped like a rectangular box. It is made from patent leather and lined with a striped cream and black fabric, synonymous with the brand. The bag has a silver metal zip running along the top of the bag, and poppers either side to keep this in place - or open it to make the bag wider. The zip has two pullies on it, each of which is designed to look like a miniature vanity hand mirror and both of these are set in a silver metal. They also have 'LG' on them is beautiful script writing to reinforce the branding.
The bag also has a patent leather patch with the brand name cut into it, which sits on the outside of the bag. It has two shoulder length rolled straps which attach by a silver metal ring, also emblazoned with the brand name running circularly around the ring. The bag has fur silver metal studs on the bottom too, this prevents the bag from getting dirty when set down and also from scratching etc. Attached to one of the straps is a removable mirror. The Lulu trademark is a pair of lips and the little mirror is shaped like a pair of lips and housed in a patent leather casing. You can clip this on and off very easily.
Inside the bag there are two pockets, one for your mobile phone which is an open pocket. I actually tend to use this to store my compact mirror and headphones in there, but each to their own. The other pocket is a zip pocket, this has the Lulu patch with brand name on the outside and a zip and pully like on the outside of the bag. In here I keep my mobile and anything else valuable as it is more secure.
The amount of space in the bag is really impressive. Because it is a rectangular box shaped bag, and has the potential to be wider when you unpopper the sides, I have found it great for storing loads of things. I do carry with me quite a lot of things at one time and this bag is perfect for storing everything I need on a day to day basis. I read loads and what I like most about the bag is that it can easily fit my books in, even large format hardbacks.
The overall design is stunning. The back was also available in purple and grey, which are both very stylish colours, but I loved the black so much and how sleek and sexy it looked. You can tell it is an expensive brand not only because of the quality of the design and materials but because of all the tiny little details that are added to the bag. All of the little bits of branding and design, even down to the zip pullies, it just so well thought out and executed.
I used the bag for three years before I replaced it and by the time I did that it was falling apart a little. A couple of zippers had come off, the mirror has cracked (because I stepped on it...) and the fabric inside was becoming pretty dirty. I've never actually owned a handbag for this long before and it is testament to the quality of the bag that I could keep it that long without needing to replace it. Especially because I'm not the cleanest of people, and definitely pretty clumsy too.
This bag retailed at £250 which is a huge price tag for a student. Due to the discount my friend managed to get it for me for £40, which is insane! I literally couldn't believe my luck when she told me i only owed her £40. The only real issue I have with owning one of these amazing bags is that there is no possible way I can go back to owning an ordinary cheap handbag. Once you've taste luxury it can be very hard, impossible in my case, to want anything other than this.
Overall, this is an amazing bag from a great designer. If you have the money go for it, because they are more than worth it.