This is a bag I will never sell. I love it because it is so beautiful and also because it is such a part of Mulberry history.
Luella Bartley had some handbag designs but no money. So Mulberry agreed to make the bags for her. I think this was around 2001. Mulberry was a well-established brand but seen as rather staid and fusty. Their scotchgrain leather wore like a dream but you were more likely to see someone in Wellies (before they became trendy), a headscarf and Barbour carrying a Mulberry than a celebrity. This was before the Bayswater, before the Roxanne and the Alexa and before Mulberry became so trendy.
These bags were beautiful and made for one season only. There were canvas multi-pocketed bags in this collection as well and I almost got into a fight for one at Dickins and Jones in London 🙂
A large east-westish type bag with short handles. Unlined with one internal zipper pocket. 4 ‘feet’ under the bag. Flapover closure. Made of brown harness leather with white stitching.
Absolutely beautiful to look at. Not too heavy. The leather is magnificent – never shows marks, rain, scuffs, scratches. Mine is about 13 years old and looks as good as new. The workmanship is better than any Mulberry bag I have ever seen. The complicated straps don’t make it difficult to get in and out. It’s like a bondage Hermés Birkin so I just leave the straps loose and it looks good.
The short straps.
Below is the reason the bag is called the Giselle. Giselle Bündchen walked for Mulberry in 2001 carrying it. This was the larger version than I have though.
Here is a (very bad) photo of me carrying mine.
And then a gallery of this beautiful beautiful bag
Love you blog but you’ve got a few things wrong. Firstly the Mulberry made Luella came in three colours, black, tan and pink. Luella Bartley was in fact a very successful, young fashion editor working for Vogue in 2000, when she launched her brand and held HER first show (which included the Luella made my Mulberry) at London Fashion week which included. The show was hers, not Mulberry. At that time Mulberry, which started in the early 70’s, was an ailing company, making very old-fashioned, but mainly good quality leather goods.They were definitley not a fashion brand then and they certainlly didn’t stage catwalk shows as they do now!
Luella had asked them to make the bag for her show. The bag, carried by the model Gisele, was a huge hit and demand for it went through the roof. The success of her fashion show led to Luella getting investment with a Singapore company for her new fashion company.
The design of the handbag was hers…as was the copyright. One can only assume that at the time Mulberry, who made the bag for one year (which is why the ones which bear their name are rarer) couldn’t meet the demand for the Gisele. Luella turned to other manufacturers around the world…probably the same companies later used by Mulberry themselves.
She parted company with Mulberry who were not allowed to continue to make the Gisele, which was her design. I suspect this was not a happy parting due to the growing success of the Gisele bag…..becoming one of the very first “It” bags at the time.
This led Mulberry to take the concept of this bag, which was based on Hermes Kelly bag, put the straps inside, made it more boxy, used softer leather and launched the Bayswater the following year in 2003. The rest they say is history!
So I suppose it’s thanks to the liaison with Luella Bartley and her fashionable celebrity and model friends back then that helped put Mulberry on the fashion radar!
The success of the Bayswater and the Roxanne the following year led to Mulberry being taken over by a Singapore investment company and becoming the international brand it is today. Funnily enough they never used that same thick, stick smooth leather again on any of their bags!
Thank you so much for this! I have learned a great and I appreciate the time you took to educate me.
I loved mine but it is so worn out after over use! Do you know where I can get one? Even second hand !! Thanks
You could set a saved search up on ebay or try sites like bagboudoir and ilovehandbags (you can find the addresses if you do a search on my blog) who will even look out for one for you. I know both of those sites carry this bag fairly regularly. Good luck and keep me posted!
It pays to know the history of the bag. I have one and I was going to sell it. Not now!