This is a review of my Balenciaga Gray City Bag from Vanco Fashion (www.vancofashion.com).
I paid $109 for the bag plus shipping of $55 but that was due to multiple purchases. For a single bag I believe the shipping is $40 plus the W/U fee of $15. However, I did get a 10% discount (applies only to purchase price) so the bag was actually $98.10.
I've had this bag since April 25th. Vanco's website does not offer a log-in to your account to check order history like Joy's website so I had to go back and check the tracking info to get this date. It was the date the package was delivered so I've had it a little over a month now but it has not been used.
This bag doesn't look like the pictures on their website.The bag shown on their site is a very light gray probably from overexposure but in person I consider it a medium gray, not dark but certainly not light as shown in their pictures. For reference you can find this bag on their website here: http://www.vancofashion.com/Product_Detail.asp?id=9741
It is a nice bag overall and the gray is a neutral color that will go with all your casual outfits but now that I've seen it in person I have to admit I prefer the more vibrant colors like yellow, orange, blue, purple, etc.. So I have decided to put it up for Trade/Barter.
I have posted 160 pictures below with lots of detailed close ups. You'll see more details in the pictures than you would seeing the bag in person :).
I've also posted some side by side comparison to my Authentic Rose Blush from Neiman Marcus but I'm not sure this is the same style bag. There are almost the same amount of differences as there are similarities.
And now onto the review!
NOTE: You can click on any of the pictures to enlarge and see more detail.
Starting with the dust bag, the one on the Left is the replica, the one on the right is Authentic. You can see there is a difference in the quality and color of the fabric.Also there are no name printed on the replica. The fabric of the replica is paper white where the authentic is more of an off white and slightly thicker. The drawstring ties are also noticeably thicker.
Here's a close up shot. I did not keep any of the cards, tags or booklets it came with. Just the dust bag.
Front of the bag with the long straps crossed over.
I'm not sure what type of leather this is but I am happy that it is not a glossy finish. It has only a subtle sheen with a nice texture. It feels sufficiently thick but is not the same leather as my Auth.
With the bag completely empty and lying flat I measured it at 14.25" Wide X 9.25" High X 5.25" Deep. The handle drop is 4". I did not measure the long straps.
Based on the tassels on the zippers I believe this to be the Classic City but I don't know that for certain. I think what confuses me most is the hardware. My Rose Blush from Neiman's has Aged Brass Hardware which is like an Antiqued Bronze but this bag is more of a dark gray or gunmetal color instead. It is a very smooth flat dark gray with no aged look to it.
I did a quick Google search to see if this color hardware exists and found that they did make them between 2003-2004. I don't think they are available any longer though.
The following 13 pictures, starting with the one below, are close up shots of various parts of the bag all from the front view so you can see more details. And remember you can click on any of the pictures to enlarge.
The stitching is very comparable to the my Auth bag. It is even for the most part. There are a few spots slightly off but certainly no glaring flaws.
The handle drop is 4" measuring from the underside of the handles to the opening of the bag.
All the zippers run smoothly but the zipper on the front does not close all the way. You can't really see it here but there is a close up a couple shots down.
Here's a comparison to my Authentic Rose Blush from Neiman Marcus.
The shape and size of the stitched leather parts here are almost exactly the same from what I can see.
Here's a close up showing the gap in the zipper. I cannot get it to close all the way like it does on my Auth bag. It doesn't bother me and really, who is going to look at this and think WOW, the zipper doesn't close all the way, it's a FAKE! LOL, it's more likely they'd think I just didn't zip it all the way :).
Sorry for the inconsistencies in the colors. The color of the bag is actually darker than shown in most of my pictures. I brightened many of them because the background was too dark and by doing so I brightened the bag as well. The actual color reminds me of concrete gray.
This is the bottom of the front of the bag.
All the little studs feel securely attached. It's not really noticeable in this picture but all the studs are a smooth matt finish where the buckles and the rest of the hardware (rings, zippers, clasps) are darker and have a glossy finish that I would describe as hematite.
The mirror is the same shape, size and thickness as my Auth. The mirror is made of real glass not plastic as in some of the poorly made replicas.
The lettering you see in the top Left corner is a reflection of "SONY" from my camera.
I have this bag stuffed FULL of foam paper to smooth out the wrinkles and make it less slouchy to make it easier to see the details in the photographs. Obviously you wouldn't fill this bag like this so with your regular contents it will have more of a slouch than shown here.
The screws on the handle have the 2 gaps just like the authentic ones. This is the Left Handle.
Comparison of the screws.
This bag has one string of shoe lace like rope that is sewn into the handles similar to my Auth which I believe are true for the Classic City bags.
This is the Right handle. There is some glue residue showing on the handle here. I didn't even know it was there until I saw this picture. Afterwards I went back to look at it and sure enough it is there but it is so small you'd have to be looking at it within inches of your face to see it.
The following 4 pictures are close ups of the exterior and interior of the part that is attached to the handles.
In the picture below the gray glue(?) trim is a different color gray than the leather but in person the difference is hardly noticeable.
Left Side of the Front.
Right Side of the Front.
Top Left Corner of the Front.
Top Middle of the Front.
Slightly to the Right from the above shot.
Top Right Corner of the Front.
This is the Left Side of the bag. The Front of the bag is to the Right.
The next 4 pictures, starting with the one below, are all just close ups of the bottom. This shows the whole bottom view.
This is the Left Corner. There is a small piece of frayed thread poking through here but I doubt you'd see it in person without the help of a microscope :).
Here is the Middle of the bottom. There is a cut here in the leather which is true of the Authentic.
Comparison of the cut in the leather.
This is the Right Corner.
Still on the same side, close up of the zipper hanging down. The zipper is also a glossy finish, same as the rings, clasp and buckles.
The other side of the same zipper. There's a little glue residue showing here too but it's not noticeable in person.
Still on the same side. Here are some shots of the ring, bale and the clasp that attaches the long strap.
The ring is sealed closed just like my Auth. It has about the same thickness and feels substantial.
The clasp is just as difficult to remove and attach as it is for my Auth bag. I am leaving all the straps of my Balenciaga bags attached. I like to wear them on the shoulder and even hand held the straps look nice dangling in the front :).
The shape and thickness of the clasp and the bales are very close to my Auth.
More glue residue showing here. Again this isn't really noticeable in person.
There is a cut in the leather on the long straps on just on one side of each end. If you twist this around the other side has no cut which is the same as on the Auth.
Back Side view followed by lots of close ups of various parts all on the same side. The back side is not smooth as it appears in this picture. It is evenly textured all around.
Top Left Corner. In this picture the studs look really shiny but that's only the lighting.
Top Middle of the Back.
Top Right Corner of the Back. Color of the studs here look almost bronze but that's just the lighting.
Bottom Left Corner of the Back.
Bottom Middle of the Back.
Bottom Right Corner of the Back.
Left Side still on the Back.
Center of the Back
Right Side of the Back.
Back view with the handles down.
Some close ups of the handles on the back. This is the Left side.
There's a tiny hole in the gray glue trim which I didn't notice until I saw this picture. I went back to look at the bag and it is noticeable but only if you're looking for it. It doesn't bother me and it's on the back of the handles so it wouldn't be seen while being carried.
The Center of the handle. The rope string are quite thick.
The Right Side.
And more close ups of the interior and exterior of the leather tabs that holds the handles on both sides.
Top view of the back Left handle.
Top view of the back Right Handle.
Ok, another top view of the back Left Handle. I know it's a little redundant but each picture shows something different so I like to keep as many as possible :).
Here's the same view of the other side.
Center of the Back Handles shooting down.
Left Side of the same handle.
Right Side of the same handle.
Center of the Front handles.
Front shot shooting down.
Left side of the Front handle.
Right Side of the Front handle.
And some top view of the handle tabs of both sides. These are on the front of the bag.
Here's the other side where the mirror is attached.
This is the Right Side of the bag. The front of the bag is now on the Left.
And more close ups of this side. Zippers hanging down.
Zippers pulled up.
Close up of the back of the zipper.
Close up shots showing the rings and studs.
Clasp and bales.
There is a little orange something showing where the bales are attached to the straps. I don't know what it is but it's only noticeable if you look for it.
Still on the same side, this is the bottom overall view.
Left Corner of the bottom.
Center of the bottom showing the cut in the leather.
This is the Right Corner.
Going back to the front. Here are some shots of the long strap. This is the bottom part that lays on your shoulder. The center piece that lies on the shoulder is about the same shape and size as my Auth.
This is the top part that shows when it is on your shoulder.
Left side of the top of the strap.
Left side of the Bottom of the strap.
Left side of the Strap going all the way to the bales.
Here is the Right Side of the bottom of the strap.
Right strap going all the way to the bales.
Top view of the bag with the handles up. The color of the bag shown in this picture is probably closest to the true color of this bag.
Close up of the top of the handles.
Left Side view of the handles.
Right Side view of the handles.
Top view of the double zippers. The zipper does not close all the way. It leaves a slight gap which is the same for my Auth bag.
The zipper heads and rings are also a glossy dark color similar to hematite.
Comparison of the gap in the zipper. I have pulled them as close together as they would go but as you can see there is a small gap on both.
The backs of the zippers are embossed with Lampo. The embossing on this bag is actually more clear than it is on my Authentic bag. Clear as in I can see it better :). I had a hard time comparing this part because it's so hard to see in person.
I tried very hard to keep my fingers out of the shots because this darn camera makes my nails look absolutely HORRID. There are bumps in my polish and my cuticles look a nightmare but when I look at my fingers they are nothing like they look in the pictures, I swear it lol.
Comparison of the Lamp embossing on back of zipper. The shape of the zipper head itself is different but I doubt anyone would notice this.
Some shots of the bag laying flat. It's stuffed full so looks like a pillow here :).
Some close ups of the studs and buckles from different angles.
Back side view. I want to note that the leather is the same throughout. My Rose Blush from NBF had a different leather for the straps and another review from one of my readers showed the bottom of her bag was a different leather so I'm thankful this is consistent :).
This is how the bag looks when completely empty. It lays fairly flat so with your regular contents it has a nice slouchy look.
Ok, back to being filled. I can't show the bottom of the bag if it was empty :).
Left side of the base.
Right side of the base.
Top Left Corner of the base.
Top Right Corner of the base.
Bottom Left Corner of the base.
Bottom Right Corner of the base.
Left Middle Section of the base showing the cut in the leather.
Right Middle Section of the base showing the cut in the leather.
Bag is completely empty with the top open. This was a difficult shot as the bag kept wanting to fall over.
Inside view. Hard to photograph a black interior. It is lined in the typical black fabric. Not quite as thick as the authentic but not noticeably different unless you were to feel them side by side.
The name tag has a silver metal plaque just like on my Auth but there is a "925" number on the bottom left corner which is not shown on my Auth bag. 925 is normally stamped on Sterling Silver jewelry so I wonder if this part is supposed to be made of sterling? Whatever the case it is not shown on my Authentic bag so I don't know if perhaps it was stamped on previous versions or if Vanco just got this out of nowhere?
The center Alpha Numeric # is also different. On my Auth bag bag it reads "N 16885 L". This one reads "N 0745 C". I have no idea what this means but the # below it matches what I have on the authentic bag.
There is some sticky residue from the plastic cover. This part cleans off with some Windex. I should have cleaned it for the picture but I wanted to show how it looked when it arrived.
Comparison of the front name plate.
The # 115748 is repeated on the back side just like my Auth but I don't know about the #'s 3666. I think I read the #'s on the same style bags are supposed to be the same but I don't know enough about this brand to confirm what is correct. Either way I couldn't care less what the #'s say so I'm just pointing this out to those of you who are curious.
Comparison of the Back Name Plate.
Sorry for the blurry picture here It's nearly impossible for me to get a picture of the inside. The gray leather looks more tan in this picture.
Now for the side by side comparisons. The one on the Right is the Authentic bag from Neiman Marcus. It is called the Rose Blush Classic City but the color is more of an Orange Sherbet.
There appears to be a size difference but it's actually not as obvious in person. I believe it looks bigger only because I have the replica overly stuffed and the Auth is only partially stuffed with what it arrived in. Also the handle drop looks vastly different but that's because the handles on the Authentic bag will not stand completely straight up making it look much shorter. The replica stands up easier. Both the replica and the authentic have a handle drop of 4".
Comparison of the leather and the studs. The Authentic leather has more of a gloss to it. The studs are also a tiny bit larger though it's not noticeable. And of course the hardware is not the same. The replica is gunmetal and the authentic is aged brass but I don't know that this is the same style bag so this may not be a flaw.
Shape and size of the bales are close but not exact. The strap of the replica is also slightly wider.
The thickness of the straps are about the same.
The handles are about the same thickness. The replica looks thinner only because of the angle of the picture. The shoe lace like string is thicker on the replica.
The rings, studs and clasps on the sides are very close in size and thickness and both rings are sealed closed.
The zipper on the Authentic extends further than the replica. There's something else I noticed about the zippers. The replica looks the same front and back but on the authentic the back side is different. The picture below shows the front.
Here's the back side. See that little rectangular piece at the end on the replica? It is missing on the authentic on the back side.
The width of the zipper are almost the same but there are a few other differences here. I don't have the words to describe them but I think the picture speaks for itself. Look closely at the shape and size of the zipper teeth and the edges or trimming around the actual zipper.
Back view comparison. Same issue here with the handles. The replica stands straight but the authentic isn't which makes it look much shorter than the replica.
Slight height difference due to the fact that the replica is filled to the max with foam paper while the authentic only has a small amount of padding it came with. I should have filled them with the same amount of padding to get a better comparison.
And for the same reason the replica is more filled out on the bottom where the authentic is wrinkled in on itself due to not enough padding.
Overall I'd rate this bag a 9 on a scale of 1 to 10 and that rating is based on materials and workmanship alone since I do not know what style bag this is supposed to be so I don't know if the details are correct.
I still think it's a great bag but the color is too bland for my style. Someone who likes neutral color would appreciate it more.
I've only had this bag for a month and have not used it yet so it is in Brand New Condition. It is currently available for Trade/Barter. If you are interested please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I would love to trade this for another Balenciaga or Chanel bag in colors I don't already have. My favorites are Chanel, Balenciaga and LV but am open to other brands as long as they are New or in very Gently Used Condition. I'm very picky about that part :).