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.
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  1. Anonymous wrote:

    Not completely

    Posted 10.1.12 Reply
  2. Lawgirl wrote:

    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.

    Posted 10.1.12 Reply
  3. Lawgirl wrote:

    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

    Posted 10.1.12 Reply
  4. VieLondon wrote:

    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

    Posted 10.1.12 Reply
  5. A wrote:

    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.

    Posted 10.1.12 Reply
  6. Very informative.

    Posted 10.1.12 Reply
  7. Lawgirl wrote:

    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!

    Posted 10.1.12 Reply
  8. Anonymous wrote:

    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

    Posted 10.1.12 Reply
  9. Rhobi wrote:

    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 🙂

    Posted 10.1.12 Reply
  10. Anonymous wrote:

    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.

    Posted 10.1.12 Reply
  11. Anonymous wrote:

    It's all about how much value Jean gets out of her bag. Considering that this is a beautiful, well-made purse that she can use for work and play for years to come, I actually think it's a great buy. Sure, she can probably carry around her stuff in a $0.99 grocery bag, but it would be a sad, sad day if people stop valuing beauty and only look at function.

    Also, I believe the only requirement to buy a Saffiano is "adequate funds." I wasn't aware that you had to fill out an application or sign an affidavit saying you are a C-level exec with a nice home and a Mercedes before you can buy a handbag.

    Posted 10.1.12 Reply
  12. Anonymous wrote:

    Everyone spends their disposable income in different ways. As a decently successful corporate lawyer, I'm sure you have your fair share of such income, and I'd be curious to take a stroll through your home and see what things make me go "lawdy, I can't believe she spent her money on THAT!". To each her own…no need to judge.

    Posted 10.1.12 Reply
  13. CynthiaC wrote:

    I have the small double zip – I've been looking for a more classic black bag for a while, to replace another one that I've used for a few years. I like how it's relatively light weight compared to other bags I've seen in stores and the size isn't overwhelming (something that is difficult for petites to deal with). I could have gone with the medium sized bag, but felt that the shoulder strap made it a little overwhelming (which you can see in Jean's video – I'm a little bit taller than Jean).

    Posted 10.1.12 Reply
  14. Anonymous wrote:

    Lol Lawgirl, your comment reminds me of this article.

    Posted 10.1.12 Reply
  15. Anonymous wrote:

    Technically, Jean didn't just "drop" $1,800 on a bag. She took time to think about her purchase. Who are you to judge what people can or can not do with their hard earned money. She has a successful career herself, so don't go around thinking she's not part of that demographic.

    Posted 10.1.12 Reply
  16. Lawgirl wrote:

    Wow, not to be judge-y, but it's stunning how you'll fret over spending $40 polyester skirt from H&M;, and then drop ~$1800 on a bag. In my wildest dreams, I couldn't justify spending that amount on a purse, and I've been a decently successful corporate lawyer for 15+ years. I'm not a luxury goods purveyor, but I'd imagine that the target demographic for this kind of purse is a C-level exec, owns a nice home, has kids in private school, drives an Mercedes, and wears Chanel. I know it's unscientific, but those are precisely the type women I see in Neiman Marcus buying high-end clothes and accessories. I guess it's all about priorities…

    Posted 10.1.12 Reply
  17. Dazzle wrote:

    I have a Saffion Leather Prada bag in Black. Its small size with detachable strap. I ordered SAND color before, but it came in a very bad shape. The bag was dirty and it was just wrapped in a plastic bag (bad quality bag), no shoulder strap… I ordered from Neiman Marcus and the bag came with abill like ebay seller bills… weird! My tax was very less too…

    then I returned it back and bought one from NM store. I told them my issues with the earlier bag, So they sent home a clean, nice crisp amazing PRADA Black bag… 🙂 The tax was waay too much when i purchased at store. Have not used much… Prefer lighter tone bags in summer.

    Michael kors makes a bag, that looks similar to this leather leather and I have a wallet from DKNY and Furula with same leather.

    Posted 10.1.12 Reply
  18. Ashley wrote:

    Did you keep both or just one?

    Posted 10.1.12 Reply
  19. Love the shape of that bag! I have a TB version that's similar.

    We're kicking off October at The Glitter Life!

    Posted 10.1.12 Reply
  20. lin wrote:

    thanks for the thorough review. it's very helpful and informational. i'm going to bookmark this so when i finally do decide to purchase a prada bag, i'll know what to look for.

    Posted 10.1.12 Reply
  21. Tang wrote:

    I have the Tory Burch Robinson zip wallet that's made with the same saffiano leather. I've had it for about 5 months now and love how the leather has held up!

    Posted 10.1.12 Reply
  22. Susan wrote:

    Thanks for your thorough review. 🙂 The bag looks lovely.

    Quick question. What are the functions of the double zip compartments? I can't imagine putting anything more than a few (small) pieces of paper or tissues before the body of the bag gets lumpy or misshapen. And it looks to small to carry office documents unless folded.

    Thanks 🙂

    Posted 10.1.12 Reply
  23. Skylar Grey wrote:

    Button available to close…

    New Fashion Fantasy

    Posted 10.1.12 Reply
  24. Danielle H. wrote:

    Hi Jean,

    Since I read your blog so much, I wanted to know your thoughts on a specific designer bag that I just recently purchased. After your review on your Prada, I began to think why I never considered this an option when I was shopping for my first designer purse. Anyway, since I don't want to get carried away with another huge purchase, I wanted to know what you think about the Givenchy Pandora bag in large?

    Looking forward to hear from you!

    Posted 10.1.12 Reply
  25. Sheila wrote:

    Sorry to butt in on your question to Jean, but I also recently bought the same model bag as Jean and to answer your question, yes the medium without strap is slightly bigger than the medium with strap, which accounts for the increase in price.

    Posted 10.1.12 Reply
  26. Sheila wrote:

    Thanks for the reply, Jean! No, mine hasn't arrived yet. I just ordered it on Thursday and then it got shipped out Friday morning. It should be arriving tomorrow but then it's signature required so I'll have to pick it up over the weekend. I'm so impatient normally with mail, I don't know how I will be knowing that it's waiting for me at the post office…

    Posted 10.1.12 Reply
  27. Anonymous wrote:

    Sorry for the typo, I meant to say "inside" not "onside"

    Posted 10.1.12 Reply
  28. Anonymous wrote:

    Thanks for this review. I wonder what if it rains ? Will the onside get
    wet since its not completely closed?

    Posted 10.1.12 Reply
  29. Anonymous wrote:

    I LOVE the striped dress you're wearing in the bathroom pictures. Do you know who makes it? Thanks!!

    Posted 10.1.12 Reply
  30. faye lu wrote:

    great review jean – i've been eying a prada bag for the longest time ever as an 'investment' .. thinking should i? shouldn't i? … this is definitely making me lean towards should!! =)

    Posted 10.1.12 Reply
  31. Esther Yoo wrote:

    Thank you so much for your informative review on the beautiful bag. I was wondering why the medium sized bag with no strap was more expensive than the one with the strap? Is it just because it is bigger in size or are there other features to the bag with no strap?

    Posted 10.1.12 Reply
  32. Miriam wrote:

    i absolutely love my prada bag! it was such a great buy! <3

    Posted 10.1.12 Reply
  33. Julie wrote:

    Also, do you twist in a certain direction? Sometimes one side of my hair flip out while the other flips in.

    Posted 9.30.12 Reply
  34. Julie wrote:

    So happy to see a new post! I seriously check back… every single day… especially before going shopping. Haha Is that a pathetic thing to admit? I just wanted to emphasize how much I love your blog! Ok I have a question.. I've been showering at night and trying to recreate your loose waves.. I did as you said and tied my hair in a loose bun when I sleep.. However, my hair is a mess in the morning. It's frizzy and not as soft as usual after just-showered hair.. How does your hair stay so soft after the bun trick? Do you still go to sleep with your buns? Btw, I'm sure we have the same texture hair.. I'm asian and my hair is naturally straight. Also I don't straighten or put much heat on it, so it's not damaged or anything.. I just feel like it doesn't look as soft as yours after the overnight bun trick. 🙁

    Posted 9.30.12 Reply
  35. Fiona Wu wrote:

    I'm really glad you did this review and that you're happy with your new totes! I fell in love with the zippered tote while watching Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol, then made up my mind about it after seeing it in person. I agree with you about the lining, it looks/feels cheap. I didn't know it was nylon! Unless it's an easy clean-up, I don't understand why such a bag warrants a nylon lining. I'm hesitant given the QC problems you mentioned, but it's too perfect to pass up. I'm bookmarking this review for (much) later when I have the need (and the money!) for this bag. Thanks again, Jean!

    Posted 9.30.12 Reply
  36. Ping wrote:

    you know that i been working at a new job. well a lot of my clients are non-profit and i been feeling bad about carrying my LV bag to appointments. ever since you wrote that article about wearing designer items to work, it totally made me feel that i wasn't only one who felt that way! i been on a a hunt for a new work bag (w/o logos) and have considered that tory burch bag. then i thought about purchasing and thought it looked like your prada Double Zip tote bag. then i ended up thinking about buying your prada bag, but am not ready to splurge, mb one of these days! thanks for the great review though.

    Posted 9.30.12 Reply
  37. Anonymous wrote:

    A better way to buy Prada bags is to wait for NM gift card event.
    They usually offer $300 gift card for a $2000 purchase. And sometimes they have double gift card event–that's $600.

    I got my Prada double zip Saffiano bag during that double gift card event, which saved me a lot of money–I got a pair of Louboutin shoes with the $600 gift card. Isn't that sweet?

    Posted 9.30.12 Reply
  38. Anonymous wrote:

    Good review. I do have the money for expensive things as a young professional but will probably not spend $1000+ on a bag. The most expensive bag I have is about $400 and it works just fine. Where do you buy a cheap base shaper? I need one for my Kate Spade bag. Thanks. -Angela

    Posted 9.30.12 Reply
  39. Ann wrote:

    Such a thorough and helpful review! Makes me want to purchase one!… But alas.. I'm still a student and have a buttload of student loans to pay off when I graduate. Sigh. Maybe one day…

    Posted 9.30.12 Reply
  40. Anonymous wrote:

    Thanks for the review, Jean! Just wondering, does your Goyard tote still get much use since you've acquired your gorgeous Prada tote?

    Posted 9.30.12 Reply
  41. RnRMom wrote:

    I have the camemeo (read "blush" in color) bag you show in your pictures. At first I had the Small Double Zip with Strap. I was dissapointed that I couldn't fit my Ipad in the one of the zipper compartments but it did fit in the center. I had a few other items/essentials in my purse. After about a month, the trim (which looks like molded rubber?) started pulling away from the bag revealing the seams underneath. Also, on of the strap hooks which is only held by one stitch! came off from the outside leaving it only attached to the liner. I immedately took it back to the Prada store where they happily exchanged it for me. I ended up with the Medium Double Zip with strap instead – for two reasons. 1. they advised that the strap broke because of the weight I had in the bag and the small couldn't handle this much weight. 2. the medium holds my iPad in the front zipper with no troubles, which I prefer.

    One word of caution that the Prada sales manager told me was that the straps shouldn't be used that often as they cannot handle any real weight. (then why have the straps I wonder??) I have since transitioned to being a handle-only purse wearer as I love the bag dearly. *sigh*

    Also, for those that mentioned cleaning above, the manager also said that I should use the dust bag and rub in small circles to clean the bag. She said that is what it is intended for and that saffiano leather will blend the color on and over any stains or scratches.

    I do love my Prada despite some of the issues I shared above. It is so classic and holds everything that I need for work or as a hockey mom. 🙂

    Posted 9.30.12 Reply
  42. Thank you (& Megan up above) for the advice re the Tory Burch alternatives.

    Did your red one arrive yet?

    Posted 9.30.12 Reply
  43. I'm sorry to hear that! I use chlorox wipes on a lot of stuff, so thanks for that warning.

    Posted 9.30.12 Reply
  44. I do pack lunch if I have food at home, and I store it in a plastic bag (sometimes double plastic bags) just like the one shown in the "inside the bag" view in this post. If you really care about the bag, then I'd double up to be safe and avoid packing liquids.

    Posted 9.30.12 Reply
  45. Katherine wrote:

    I've always been curious, do you usually pack lunch to work? And if you do, would you carry it in your purse (ie, the Prada) or separately? I've been looking to purchase a new work bag and was wondering about this!


    Posted 9.30.12 Reply
  46. alermy wrote:

    I used it on my blue prada saffiano wallet. It removed the saffiano texture and some color. I stopped right away. It looks ok. Only I know the texture is messed up on some parts of the wallet.

    Posted 9.30.12 Reply
  47. Sheila wrote:

    Hi Jean! I was waiting for your review of this bag before I took the jump, but I ended up being impatient and ordered one in red last week.

    I also looked at the Tory Burch alternative but I decided not to go that route based on two reasons:
    1) Members of the Purseforum have noted that their Tory Burch bags have had the Saffiano "pattern" rubbed off their bags after just a few weeks of use, meaning the "pattern" isn't very well stamped onto the bag
    2) The strap of the Tory Burch is placed diagonally of the front and back panels of the bag, and not actually on the sides, which means that if you carry relatively heavy in the bag and you use the strap, the strap will pull on the fabric of the bag, making it look deformed and then maybe even rip.

    Quality-wise, the Tory Burch alternative might not last very long, which is a disappointment because the whole point of it being Saffiano leather is that it is supposed to be super long lasting.

    For those who like the style of the double zippered sides with the bigger compartment on the inside, Michael Kors also has a similar style for about $300. It's not saffiano leather but it's still real leather.

    Posted 9.30.12 Reply
  48. Anonymous wrote:

    Yikes, did cleaning it with alcohol wipes yank the color off??

    Posted 9.30.12 Reply
  49. Megan wrote:

    The Robinson tote with the strap is definitely a great "dupe", however, I found it to be so heavy in itself!

    I've wanted a bag similar to your Prada (without the strap) and ended up getting the Tory Burch Robinson Saffiano East-West tote, which is light and very roomy. Plus it's about half the price. That's another great option! Someday I'll have my own Prada bag though. 🙂

    Posted 9.30.12 Reply
  50. alermy wrote:

    Just make sure you DON'T clean your saffiano bags/wallets with wipes with alcohol in it. I learned this in a hard way…

    Posted 9.30.12 Reply

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