Monday, October 8, 2018

Yves Saint Laurent | Niki Baby Bag: Review

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links and the product featured was purchased by me.
YSL Yves Saint Laurent | Niki Baby Bag in Vintage Leather: Review
Most of the time, when I set my eyes on something expensive, I can usually talk myself out of it. Unfortunately, when I spotted the Niki Baby Bag in Black Vintage Leather (C$2440, as of October 2018) from Yves Saint Laurent about a month ago, I could not get it off my mind. No matter how I tried to rationalize, it was about time that I treated myself with a luxury bag. I mean, I totally deserve it... right? Well anyhow, after extensive research online, I finally pulled the trigger. Since it's such a hefty investment, I thought it was worth reviewing it on the site. So if luxury bags are your thing (or if you are just curious how a bag can cost so much), read on to learn more.......
YSL Yves Saint Laurent | Niki Baby Bag in Vintage Leather: Review
YSL | Niki Baby Bag in Black Vintage Leather | Front Flap Monogram
Size & Leather:
Available in three different sizes* (large, medium, and baby), the YSL Niki Bag in Vintage Leather is made with 100% calfskin leather. With a crinkly, glossy finish, the bag looks a lot shinier in person than it appears online. The sales associate mentioned that with wear, the leather will take on a more matte finish but as it stands, the glossy finish is quite durable and scratch-resistant. I have here the Niki Baby, the smallest of the three sizes, and its dimensions are 8.2 x 6.2 x 2.9 inches (or 20.8 x 15.7 x 7.4 cm).

*Update*: As of January 2020, the Niki is also available as a wallet on chain, a body bag, a medium shopping tote, a large shopping tote, and a handful of wallet designs.
YSL Yves Saint Laurent | Niki Baby Bag in Vintage Leather: Review
YSL | Niki Baby Bag in Black Vintage Leather | Magnetic Snap Button
The Niki in Vintage Leather is currently available in several colors and finishes (ex. stamped patented crocodile, studded, lambskin). I chose the Vintage Leather in Black as it's the most classic. Do take your time when examining the bag before purchasing as there were some notable variabilities between identical styles. The leather for a couple of the Niki Babys was super wrinkly, which is be a look some may prefer but I chose a model with a smoother finish.
The iconic YSL logo on the front flap is wrapped with leather in a matching color as the rest of the bag. So although front and center, the logo is quite subtle. It doesn't scream in your face, telling you that it's a YSL bag, which is great for those looking for something a little more sophisticated and lowkey. The bag closes via a magnetic snap, which as many others have mentioned online, is incredibly strong, resulting in the need to use a lot of force to pull open. I advise keeping the clear protective film to dampen the magnetic attraction or alternatively, you can stick a couple hole punch reinforcement on both the top and bottom magnet to weaken the force.

*Update (April 2019)*: In terms of wear and tear, this bag has done pretty well. There are zero scratches/dents on the leather but there is moderate edge wear on the leather-bound YSL logo. The finish of the leather remains quite lustrous despite the fact that I've been caught several times in the rain with this bag. The trimming on one corner of the front flap has started fraying but as I look through my initial photos, this was a flaw from the beginning so I would advise a careful examination of the trimming before purchasing. 
YSL Yves Saint Laurent | Niki Baby Bag in Vintage Leather: Review
YSL | Niki Baby Bag in Black Vintage Leather | Brushed Silver Chain
Strap & Hardware:
The bag itself is super light but the brushed gunmetal silver chain adds some weight. Both chains are connected in the middle with a leather strap so they rest comfortably on the shoulders. The straps are convertible so you can wear the Niki either as a shoulder bag or as a crossbody.
YSL Yves Saint Laurent | Niki Baby Bag in Vintage Leather: Review
YSL | Niki Baby Bag in Black Vintage Leather | Leather Straps
When doubled up, the bag can be worn over the shoulder and when fully extended, the bag can be worn as a crossbody. I personally prefer to wear it as a crossbody as the straps tend to slide down my shoulders when worn as a shoulder bag. However, the length of the chain is just an inch or two too long for my 5'1" frame, therefore hanging a little low on my hips.
YSL Yves Saint Laurent | Niki Baby Bag in Vintage Leather: Review
YSL | Niki Baby Bag in Black Vintage Leather | Adjustable Strap
Exterior:
As mentioned, I went for the smallest of the three Nikis. I was initially set on getting the medium but after seeing all three in-store, I decided that the baby fit my stature the best. In fact, the medium looked so big that it was almost the size of a messenger bag on me. To my surprise, the bags have a much bulkier profile than it appeared online. When fully expanded, the Niki Baby is almost five inches thick at its base.
YSL Yves Saint Laurent | Niki Baby Bag in Vintage Leather: Review
YSL | Niki Baby Bag in Black Vintage Leather | Bottom
YSL Yves Saint Laurent | Niki Baby Bag in Vintage Leather: Review
YSL | Niki Baby Bag in Black Vintage Leather | Side
The exterior features a back pocket equipped with a hidden magnetic closure. It provides a really convenient place for phone storage as I can easily retrieve it without actually opening the bag. The pocket is big enough for my iPhone 7 with just a bit of wiggle room. The phone expands the pocket far enough that the magnetic closures won't shut. However, this isn't much of a concern as the pocket is deep enough to prevent its content from spilling.
The flap opens to reveal one central compartment and a fairly large slot pocket in the front (see picture above). This pocket is big enough to fit a cell phone but I generally only keep a few grooming products inside.

*Update (May 2019)*: One drawback I've noticed is that smaller items placed in this pocket have the tendency to slide out of place when you lay the bag down on it's back. I've had one occasion where my lipstick actually slid out so it's something to be aware of. 
YSL Yves Saint Laurent | Niki Baby Bag in Vintage Leather: Review
YSL | Niki Baby Bag in Black Vintage Leather | Central Compartment
The central compartment is lined with grosgrain fabric and it fits a full-sized wallet. The opening of the bag is narrower than the base so I do have to angle my wallet to place it inside. This roomy compartment is actually large enough to fit a small water bottle diagonally but the bag will appear quite bulky. There's also a small slip pocket inside; it can fit a few cards or small valuables but that's about it.

*Update (May 2019)*: It appears that newer models of the Niki have a zipped pocket instead of the small slip pocket inside the main compartment. Additionally, there's an added mini slip pocket on the front side of the main compartment.
YSL Yves Saint Laurent | Niki Baby Bag in Vintage Leather: Review
YSL | Niki Baby Bag in Black Vintage Leather | Inside Pocket
Shopping Experience:
I bought my bag at the YSL counter inside the Vancouver Nordstrom. The sales associate Jennifer helped me with my purchase and she was super patient and pleasant. It's worth noting that all YSL bag purchases are non-refundable. Exchanges are available for unworn, original merchandise within 30 days but it has to be for an item of equal or greater value. The no-return policy is definitely restrictive but it is the norm for luxury goods as a more lenient return policy can be easily taken advantage of.
YSL Yves Saint Laurent | Niki Baby Bag in Vintage Leather: Review
YSL | Niki Baby Bag in Black Vintage Leather
Summary:
Overall, I am very much in love with the Niki Baby Bag. It's without a doubt one of the most expensive items in my wardrobe but I love its craftsmanship and practicality. The baby size turned out to be just right for my everyday needs and it fits most things without weighing me down. I am looking forward to seeing how the leather wears with time and will report back with any noteworthy updates. So, what are your thoughts on luxury handbags? Do you like the YSL Niki? Share with me in the comments below!

*Update (January 2020)*: I am still extremely pleased with this purchase over a year later. The lightweight design, the roomy interior, and the lowkey aesthetic really make it the perfect casual bag. Additionally, I like that the Niki is not a bag that I see everywhere so I feel quite unique/special when I'm wearing it.  Interestingly enough, the price of the bag has gone up ~$500 CAD since my initial date of purchase so there must be a demand!

Availability:
YSL is available online and in stores at Nordstrom and www.ysl.com.
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