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Handbags - Editor's Pick

Editor’s Pick: Louis Vuitton Capucines MM Exotic

An in-depth look at my pre-loved handbag of the year, the Louis Vuitton Capucines MM in matte black crocodile from 2014.

Today I have the pleasure of reviewing the sort of handbag that I will sadly never own. It is quite simply one of the best I have ever had between my white-gloved paws. Its only rivals are the rarer Birkins, but it’s arguably even more exquisite than many of those, and certainly more original. Anyway, here’s why it’s my pre-owned bag of the year.

Louis Vuitton Capucines MM Exotic

The Capucines has been one of the hottest new handbags of the last decade. When it first hit the runway for Autumn/Winter 2014 it was big news because it was Louis Vuitton rebranding itself. As in, the original handbags brand was changing direction. More specifically, it was trying to distance itself from an image that had been eroded over the years by the proliferation of monogrammed classics (fake and genuine). It worked too, and very quickly. Angelina Jolie picked one up early on and then no one could get one because all the stores across Europe were sold out and they were running Hermès-esque waiting lists.

Louis Vuitton Capucines MM Exotic

The new bag was monogram free, except for that leather-covered LV that shows when the flap is tucked in, or the petite monogram flower when the flap is out. It was also a classic cut. Nothing fancy, just a Kelly-style trapezoid with a handle attached by jewellery-like rings that ever-so-slightly modernise it. But it’s well made and classy, which means it’s timeless and not subject to the changing tides of fashion.

The initial shortage was undoubtedly a ploy in the manner of king of scarcity Hermès but even though everyone knew that it still worked, despite its price tag being triple that of most other Louis Vuitton offerings. I’ll admit I was surprised at just how quickly LV managed such an image reversal but I guess it helps that they are the biggest luxury brand in the world. Oh, and the marketing campaign with Michelle Williams was pretty convincing too. The next year, however, Louis Vuitton took their latest concept to a whole new level with the introduction of an exotic-skinned version at a mere ten times the price of the standard piece.

Louis Vuitton Capucines MM Exotic

Of course, only a small number of Crocodile Capucines were made and they were only available from certain stores. I didn’t expect us to manage to get one because they are just so rare. But here it is and it’s, quite simply, stunning. It’s superbly made. The leather is gorgeous and the seams are perfect. I love the gold bracelets and the handle, which can be carried by hand, arm and shoulder. I also love the new LV initial set-up, which is also half-covered in crocodile and is a much more subtle affair than the usual LV yet with just enough gold to fix the attention. The inside is equally immaculate. It’s lined with goatskin and has two large compartments and two pockets (one zipped and one open). Overall the bag is semi-rigid and can hold plenty of weight without bulging.

Louis Vuitton Capucines MM Exotic

There are few bags I can compare this with other than the exotic Kellys and Birkins. To me, it’s far more up-to-date than the Kelly and it’s nice to see a fresh change from the Birkin. I’ll admit that although the Capucines comes in many looks and three sizes I don’t have one, but I have been close to getting one and this one is certainly doing its best to convince me. I’d say the super-cute crossbody BB version is slightly more realistic for me though, sadly.

Louis Vuitton Capucines MM Exotic

For more information, visit our dedicated pre-owned and vintage Louis Vuitton handbags page.