I received an email from someone today asking me the difference between a Luella Giselle handbag and a Mulberry Luella Giselle (also called a Mulberry Giselle by Luella). On eBay some sellers do not know the difference and others want to attract more buyers by using a ‘Mulberry’ tag in their auction.
Luella Bartley was a designer but did not have money to make the bags herself. So she approached Stuart Vevers of Mulberry and they designed the Mulberry Luella. This bag became a huge hit when Giselle Bündchen walked for Mulberry in 2001 carrying it. It was then renamed the Giselle. The Mulberry Luella was available in two sizes and two colours (black and brown), and only available for one season.
Mulberry at that point 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 and before the Roxanne, so the Giselle, looking like a Hermés Birkin in bondage, shook off all the dust and reinvigorated the brand.
At this point, Luella had enough money to start her own brand and began making her own version of the Luella. She could not make exactly the same bag but they were close enough to cause confusion.
The Mulberry one is made of harness leather and cannot easily be carried over the shoulder. It is not lined. There are no logos on the studs and there is a leather heart tag on the zip. The hearts hanging on the straps have reverse-embossed Mulberry trees on them.
The Luella came in many colours and sizes, was lined and had heart studs with ‘Luella’ embossed on them. The hearts hanging on the straps had ‘Luella’ embossed on them. There were different kinds of leathers and strap lengths.
So if you see one on eBay and it is being sold as a Mulberry:
- Check the leather (the Mulberry one is smooth)
- Check the studs (the Mulberry ones have no logo and are round. The Luella ones are heart-shaped and have ‘Luella’ embossed on them)
- Check the hearts (the Mulberry ones have reverse embossed trees on them, the Luella ones have ‘Luella’ on one of the tags)
- Check the lining (the Mulberry is not lined, the Luella is)
- Check the inside pocket (the Mulberry looks like the one pictured above, with a leather heart zipper pull and gold ‘Luella made by Mulberry’. Luella has a silver heart shaped plaque with ‘Luella’ on it)
For identification purposes, here is my black Luella