Review: Prada Saffiano Lux / Galleria Double Zip Tote Bag

Today’s post is a belated review of the Prada Saffiano Double Zip tote bag. I recorded this video a while back in a rush, and scrapped it due to fluctuating lighting and choppy content. Since several readers have been asking questions about this bag, I figured I’d post anyways in hopes of answering some of those questions.

As a preface, this bag was probably my most mulled-over purchase to date. I’d like to think that every one of my larger purchases are carefully-considered, but unfortunately, some of them could’ve used more thought and research on alternatives. I’ve been trying to shop more deliberately, which starts with discovering what the biggest “voids” are in my closet. I realized early this year that many of my work and casual outfits could use a simple brown, medium-sized bag. I needed one that was durable, lightweight, and preferably weather-resistant. I fell in love with Prada’s Saffiano tote, and spent half a year trying on all the options, scouring the pre-owned market, and looking for any small ways to save. There was no rush to buy, and ultimately I ended up with something that I am in love with and do not regret (so far, anyways).

Change to “HD” (4th button in from bottom right) for better quality:

What exactly is “Saffiano” leather? I couldn’t find any authorized information directly from Prada, but this thread on The Purse Forum contains some member opinions that sound right. Based on that thread and a few other articles, Saffiano leather is treated for increased durability, scratch-resistance, and water-resistance. Several other handbag designers use it as well.
Prada Saffiano Tote Review5Sizes 
There are so many sizes and variations of this bag that I often get confused, but the sizes that I have tried on include..

**Prices are as of 9/2012 and will probably change**

Mini Double Zip w/ strap – 7″ x 10″ x 4.15″ – $1520
Small Double Zip w/ strap – 8.25″ x 11.5″ x 5″ – 1730
Medium Double Zip w/ strap – 9″x 15″ x 5.5″ – $1810
Medium Double Zip no strap – 10″ x 14.5″ x 6″ – $1960
Large Double Zip no strap – 12″ x 15.75″ x 6.75″ – $2100

Open Tote no strap– I’ve seen a range of online measurements and don’t know exactly which one is right…approximate size is 10″ x 14″ x 7″ – $1730
Prada Saffiano Tote Review4

Trying on various sizes to find the most proportionate one (for reference, I am about 5 feet tall):

Prada Saffiano Tote Review

Top left: Medium #2 double zip tote in caramel, medium #1 double zip tote in cammeo
Top right: Open tote in caramel

Below: Open tote in cammeo (for some reason, this one definitely looks wider than the caramel one above)

Prada Saffiano Tote Review2

Issues: As mentioned in my video, I am not a fan of the nylon logo lining nor the less structured base. The base, however, should be an easy fix with a base shaper. A bigger issue that I did not mention in my video is the inconsistency of quality I’ve personally experienced. In the photo directly above, the front panel leather looks almost wrinkled – I thought it was a bag that had been used and returned. And out of the two double zip totes I ordered, one was perfect but one also had a slightly wrinkled front panel. I am disappointed that a product at this price point does not have better quality control, so be sure to carefully inspect your purchase before using it.

The open tote easily fits a 15″ laptop, small makeup bag, wallet, plus baggie for shoes:

Prada Saffiano Tote Review1
Where to Buy
After I decided on the size/style/color combo, I combed eBay for a pre-owned bag that fit the bill. There are so many options available with this tote that it was hard to find the exact one on the secondhand market. I am also not an expert in gauging Prada authenticity via photos, and was worried about purchasing a counterfeit. The similar ones I watched on eBay went for about $1,200-$1,400, so it was a lot to pay for the risk of unauthentic merchandise, plus not getting the exact bag sought. I ended up buying mine from Neiman Marcus at full price, choosing them over the Prada boutique because I trust their customer service and return policy more.

Relatively Lower-Priced Alternative
Ever since I started looking at Prada’s Double Zip Tote, a few readers have suggested Tory Burch’s rendition. This bag is also made of Saffiano leather and comes in a variety of colors, including “luggage” brown. At 10″ x 16″ x 5.5,” it is approximately comparable to Prada’s larger medium size but has a detachable strap, and has the same inside compartments.
Prada Saffiano Tote Review6

Readers – Do you own a Prada Saffiano tote? If so, please share your thoughts on it and whether you’ve encountered any issues over time.

112 thoughts on “Review: Prada Saffiano Lux / Galleria Double Zip Tote Bag

  • Anonymous October 1, 2012 at 3:25 pm

    I have the BN1874 which has a middle zipper (I find that it fits more and I can actually put something in the zipper pocket) around the same size as yours in cammeo. I took it on vacation and got 2 scratches on the back and one on the front, have no idea how that happened. I thought the saffiano leather was durable, but guess not. Also I noticed that the stitching on the handles were not even and some spots kind of bumpy, maybe if you could check yours also. Other then that I think it keeps its shape pretty well. I heard some people with the handles peeling, but mine is fine so far. This was going to be my everyday/work bag. but after the scratches I'm kind of scared to use it.

  • Rhobi October 1, 2012 at 3:30 pm

    I wish I could afford the Prada Saffiano Tote. No matter how I slice and dice it, it is not affordable. I will just have to admire it on others from the side lines 🙂

  • Anonymous October 1, 2012 at 4:46 pm

    I am new to your blog, Jean, and loving it! I am petite at 4'11" (albeit curvier) and really find your outfits and pictures very helpful. I actually used your blog to help me locate a pair of boots! So thank you! ~ ChristineN

  • Lawgirl October 1, 2012 at 5:05 pm

    Womp. I got the slapdown, but ladies, based on the posts, it seems that you guys are early to mid-20s. Nothing wrong with that. I'm 42 years old, 2 kids, and I've done some hella dues paying to get where I am, and I'm sure Jean is working hard for the money too. Just a different perspective. And mos' def, Jean can spend her money however she pleases. She's a certified financial planner, for heaven's sake. It's just the juxtaposition of sweatin' a $30 top at H&M; and then buying (after much due consideration, reflection, and gazing) $1800 designer purses that make me go: "Huh?"

    And with that, I'll go back into Lurkdom… Go 'head, Prada!

  • Petitetomatoes October 1, 2012 at 5:21 pm

    Very informative.

  • A October 1, 2012 at 6:55 pm

    I don't know how you even think that juxtaposition is comparable… A $30 top at H&M; can be easily replaced, while this bag is something that one can wear frequently and will last for a lifetime. That top can easily be substitute by other top, tear and fray after a few wears, or simply sit in the back of the closet collecting dust. It can be a heart-of-the-moment purchase that Jean has probably experienced and regret, and it's understandable if she mulls it over before buying such a small, yet easily regrettable purchase. But as Jean mentioned, she's been eying this bag for a long, long time, and it is something that she can see herself carrying for a lifetime. Everybody has something "big" that they want and have things that are "small" that they don't need. It's the same thought process as "Is that $10 toaster necessary when you already have one at home? No, but that toaster sure is cheap… hmmm. Maybe I should buy it to see if it works better than the one at home… but I really don't need one.." It's cheap, but it's not a necessary purchase. That car that you will be driving to work on the other hand, is something that you will be using on a frequent basis, so what's wrong with getting a nicer one? Why would you want to drive a beat up, hunkered down car while going to a fancy work environment where everyone is driving fancy Mercedes? If one can afford a nice car, it's perfectly fine to purchase it especially when it will make you much happier.

  • VieLondon October 1, 2012 at 7:23 pm

    Very useful review! I bought mine back in april and i have to admit my biggest issue is the lack of any base. I hsve the larger version and unfortunately that makes the less structured base even more evident. On the whole though, almost 6 months on, i still love wearing this bag!

    If you have any tips on the base, that would be awesome! <3

  • Lawgirl October 1, 2012 at 7:52 pm

    Points well-taken, all. And in full disclosure, I have $1800 worth of bags in my closet, but it's more like ~$100+ x 18 or so. LOL. And my purses aren't museum quality specimens, so therein may lie the difference. My purses hold, among other things: ink pens (that leak), Equal packets (that break open), snacks for my kids, snacks for me, notepads, laptops, legal briefs, tampons, random receipts, you name it. They get sodas spilled on them, and they wack people on the knees in trains. And during my 15 hour days in the office, they go underneath my desk or in a drawer, never to be seen of again… Difference makes the world go 'round.

    Jean, you made a great video, btw. And I enjoy your site. I'll just be the grumpy old lady from time-to-time ;-D

  • Lawgirl October 1, 2012 at 8:03 pm

    Ok, and last point (sorry, drives my husband crazy…:-) I guess it's also a difference of where we value quality. I can't abide polyester blouses in all but the rarest of cases. I love the feeling of silk, and it looks better and drapes better. I don't care if they have to go in the garbarge after 25 wears, I don't feel classy and elegant in poly. I just don't. But, I'm fine with mid-market "bridge" handbags, like Cole Haan, Kooba, Minkoff, if I can get them at a sample sale for <$250... LOL.

  • Anonymous October 1, 2012 at 8:07 pm

    Not completely

  • Anonymous October 1, 2012 at 8:57 pm

    Now, Lawgirl, that last one about quality and value difference I agree and can deeply relate to. I can also understand why Jean bought the purse, this is called "aspirational buyer" in marketing lingo. I shop at NM contrary to your description of their demographics, but I do it mainly when they have sales, not at full price. You can even find a sales lady there who will be very helpful and keep things for you at pre-sales, even if you never buy from her full price, you just need to know how to find that type who are not snooty about it (typically older and wiser looking). And I would rather buy a cute Chanel piece on sale [which is still awfully expensive even after 40% off] or a Ferragamo bag, than load up on cheaper things. And potential for everyday abuse is not an excuse to avoid stylish objects, life is too short to blend in! Just be careful with what you got and if accidentally spoiled something, look at it as an opportunity to go hunting again for a replacement 🙂

    Truly Yours, 41yo professional, 2 kids, one in college, mortgage, only non-luxury Asian cars in the household, and no C-level execs in the family.

  • Anonymous October 1, 2012 at 10:07 pm

    ^ Love this comment!

  • maybejessmaybe October 2, 2012 at 12:57 am

    zara's "office city bag" is a knockoff of this bag, i just realized. i purchased it online for around $89 and it has a similar crosshatching to the saffiano leather, but it is PU. in addition to the 2 zippered compartments, there's a padded pocket for an iPad as well as one for a large laptop. love the extra compartments. it's my every day work bag 🙂

  • Rachel October 2, 2012 at 1:25 am

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • Rachel October 2, 2012 at 1:26 am

    Hi Jean, I've been following your blog for a while now, but this is my first comment! I bought my Saffiano bag in Paris when I was in Europe this June. Love love love my bag. I went to the store 3 times before committing to the purchase, so understand how you thought about it for so long. I bought the bag one size up from yours in the grey colour with no strap. It's the perfect work bag for me, as I often have to take documents home to read, and it fits my A4 documents perfectly, plus all my other work necessities. As I was new to buying 'designer bags', I didn't think to check my bag when the SA brought a new bag out from the store room, thinking it should be OK. When I was at the airport doing my tax refund, I realised there was a dent on my bag! Oh no, but I was already at the airport. Spent the whole trip home worrying about the dent! (I live in Sydney, Australia which means a long long plane journey home). Luckily, I was able to exchange my Prada bag at the Sydney store. The SA agreed the dent was rather obvious so exchanged it with minimum fuss. So despite how exxy these bags are, there can be imperfections. I still love my bag though!

  • Anonymous October 2, 2012 at 1:55 am

    "And potential for everyday abuse is not an excuse to avoid stylish objects."

    I thought Cole Haan, Kooba, Minkoff were stylish.

    "Life is too short to blend in."

    Everyone and their mom and grandma has a size or version of this Prada bag.

  • Anonymous October 2, 2012 at 5:29 am

    Hi! Thank you so much for the review. I am considering about buying Prada bag and your reveiw is really helpful.
    But I wonder what is the code of caramel bag in top picture. Is it BN2274 or BN1801? Because I am 5 feet and think that the size of caramel bag would be perfect for my height.
    By the way, what on your thought about durability of Prada bag compared with Louis Vuitton bag? (Because I am considering Brea MM from LV as an alternative)
    Thank you so much!

  • Madalina Tita October 2, 2012 at 9:28 am

    love the open tote, the color is so cute…


  • Anonymous October 2, 2012 at 10:11 am

    "Everyone and their mom and grandma has a size or version of this Prada bag."

    I was looking around on the train and while walking from station this morning. No Prada bags spotted. I wish I had one with me, it would definitely not blend in. But wait … may it was just because it was raining! Hopefully tomorrow, if it is dry, they will all bring out their Pradas for me to see.

  • Anonymous October 2, 2012 at 3:57 pm

    To lawgirl: I agree with you in that I would never spend this much money on a purse (my upper limit for any fashion item is $100), and I, like you, may never understand why others will choose to spend that much money on a single item. However, I recently had a revelation where I took a look at myself and said, "have I spent my money on anything that others might find incomprehensible?" And I have. I spent $600 on a camera, and I'm planning to spend $1000 on an even better camera maybe 5 years down the road. I also love to travel, so that's a ton of money I've spent on plane fare, train fare, exhibit tickets, etc. When I look at it that way, I tend to stop making judgments about what people choose to spend their money on.

  • Kat October 2, 2012 at 5:58 pm

    If anyone is looking for a bag that is very similar to the Prada Saffiano tote above but at a much lower price tag, I recommend the Furla version. I was at Nordstrom Rack and they had a shelf full of the Furla version, which is pretty much identical (got it because it also has the Saffiano leather texture) except for the Prada logo. It has the snaps on the side and the handles are made the same way as the Prada one (not the Tory Burch one where its one handle attached to material on the bag, that is then attached to the bag). I got it for $180. The base is wider than Prada. I take it to work and it's been great. It holds its shape, holds all my papers, everything I need for a day at work without looking too "large".

    It's great for work, for casual outings that can hold quite an amount if needed to, and very classy at a great price.

    Just wanted to note that when I took it on a trip and went to the Prada store, the sales associate asked me who made the bag because it's very well made. I've noticed that the quality of Prada seems to have improve from years and years ago. The design of the bag is very practical and the leather can take a lot from everyday use.

    My Saffiano Ferragamo wallet has been with me for 10 years and it's still doing great! You can probably tell that I highly recommend saffiano leather, regardless of brand.

  • Lawgirl October 2, 2012 at 7:22 pm

    Yes, @anonymous, no argument from me; you make good points about your camera vs. Jean's bag. I'm rightly chastised for being judgmental. I continue to see these bags as badges of the ridiculously affluent, and the market is much broader than that, and includes non-rich, aspirational buyers.

  • Anonymous October 2, 2012 at 9:46 pm

    Lawgirl: Thanks for being so calm and reasonable. Please don't think I was calling you judgmental; I was actually referring to myself. I do tend to be judgmental when I see college girls my age (21) carrying a Louis Vuitton purse. I'm prone to think, "I can't believe her parents blew that much money on a bag for their little princess." I'm not proud of entertaining those thoughts because they are rude, assuming and stereotypical. But I am only human after all.

    The reason I personally don't care for high-end brands, other than the fact that I'm stingy, is that I've come to associate some of them with political corruption. There have been several cases in China where the mistresses of high-ranking politicians were busted with a huge collection of Hermes handbags that were purchased with bribe money. I think by pricing items so high, some fashion designers have turned their artistic creations into little more than status symbols, which is unfortunate.

    (I'd like to say more on the subject, but I'd rather not. I don't believe that anonymity on the internet grants me the privilege to say things that I wouldn't say to Jean's face in real life. I do think this Prada purse is lovely, and I think it's great that she thought about it long and hard before she pulled the trigger on it. I'm a little younger than she is, and I hope that one day I'll get to be in a similar position where I can afford to splurge a bit on things that I like.)

  • Anonymous October 3, 2012 at 1:37 am

    When it is dry, keep an eye out for Kooba too!

  • Anonymous October 3, 2012 at 1:45 am

    …or Furla! (per Kat, below)

  • Anonymous October 3, 2012 at 5:48 am

    Great review!! Can I ask what colour & brand red nail polish and lipstick you're wearing in the video? Love both! Thanks so much!

  • lisacng @ October 3, 2012 at 12:35 pm

    Wow, the convos that happen right in the comment section. Awesome! Great purchase and I really like that you take much time to research and mull over big purchases like these. Recently, I was considering buying a $25 polyester satchel but then decided if I really found it functional for my life and could see myself loving for a while, why not take the plunge and buy more leather! I'll definitely check out PurseForum before I buy!

  • Anonymous October 3, 2012 at 1:17 pm

    Bravo to Lawgirl; you took all those snarky comments with so much class! Everyone has their own opinions… and when one has a blog that allows commenting, they need to take the negatives (to a degree) as well as the positives; the downside of going public with yourself.

    One can only hope that many of the young'uns here can mature as well as you 🙂

  • Anonymous October 3, 2012 at 1:37 pm

    Hi! Can you put the name of this Furla bag? I went to their website and couldn't find anything similar to Jean's Prada bag…

  • AubreyOhDang! October 3, 2012 at 7:18 pm

    ooooh this TB one is a good alternative. good pick.

  • Anonymous October 4, 2012 at 5:05 pm

    It was dry today. Alas, still no Pradas. But one YSL with metal Y on the side really nice, looks like a briefcase. And MANY Longchamps, lost count! (very practical I guess, see also Jean's review of them to navigate among variety of styles)

  • Vivian October 5, 2012 at 2:02 am

    Lucky that Prada allowed you to take a picture with the bag, I went to Prada to check out and maybe invest in one too, because I remember you mentioning taking pictures really help, but the saleslady didn't allow me… Weird. But that's a great bag!

  • jennell chang October 6, 2012 at 11:28 pm

    the robinson collection from tory burch looks so great in pictures. even in person, without closer inspection, looks great. however the quality really isn't there at all. i bought the bag and a matching wallet from neiman marcus and ended up returning both due to poor quality. the leather was uneven, stitching wasn't lined up, ripples and wrinkles especially at seams and edges… the list goes on. since i didn't use either item i can't say if the embossed saffiano texture would fade like other readers have mentioned.

    great review on the prada bags! i see them all the time and have considered it for a new work bag.

  • Frmcoasttocoast October 7, 2012 at 5:44 am

    Furla Practica Large Tote

  • RnRMom October 7, 2012 at 2:23 pm

    It was pouring cats and dogs one day when I was leaving a shop. I went back and asked for a large plastic shopping bag then put my bag in it to protect it until I got to the car. I would think that the rain would leave water spots on the leather.

  • RnRMom October 7, 2012 at 2:25 pm

    the back zipper can hold my Prada wallet and sunglasses with extr room to spare. I use the front pocket for papers and my iPad. tons of room in the medium with shoulder strap for all of that.

  • Anonymous October 8, 2012 at 7:33 pm

    The Robinson collection (and the whole Tory Burch site) is 25% off on Tory this week with the code TBFRIENDS. FYI, Nordstrom honored the discount, I had just ordered the double-zip Robinson online over the weekend…it shipped today after I saw the TB discount and IM'd Nordstrom requesting to cancel the order…they couldn't cancel the order since it had already shipped out but were happy to refund 25% back onto my credit card.

    With the 25% off it took $143.75 off of the original price and brought the price down to $431.25 instead of $575 + @ $50 tax for a total of $625.

  • michael kors coffee monogram logo satchel October 14, 2012 at 11:30 pm

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  • the married maiden October 15, 2012 at 8:09 pm

    Hi Jean:

    After much deliberation I also purchased Prada BN2274 from Saks (apparently it is Saks #1 selling bag according to the SA and that in of itself says a lot).

    I purchased mine in the Cameo color (blush pink) and do worry that it will get dirty as the color is light. Especially with the price point, sometimes I'm nervous to carry it around so if anyone has any good tips on how to keep the bag clean (i.e. with what protectors/sprays that would be helpful)

    I love the utility of the double zippers for putting important items like passports and wallets and the open middle for everyday items like make up bag and scarf for a windy day (here in SF).

    I hear what everyone is saying about the quality especially for the price. I did notice a few very slight minor defects on the bag. I do know the bag has a one year warranty so for those who just bought it, maybe use it often so if there are any hardware issues they can be brought up before the warranty =) I should practice what I preach.

  • Unknown October 31, 2012 at 6:36 pm

    Hello gorgeous, may I know what is the model number please for your caramel medium tote, BN….? I am so confused with the model number there are so many. And the one you showing here is an exactly the size I really wanted to get it. Thank you for sharing and love to hear from you! cheers, Best , Jane

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