It’s been a while since our first interview, hasn’t it? If you’ve been following our journey, you’ll know that we’ve been busy over past months planning our first ever pop up in Hong Kong.
Now that we’ve got some breathing space, we’re getting back to our interviews! We recently had a chat with a fellow vintage lover and collector, E. She’s a new friend of ours, having started her journey into vintage only in the last couple of years, but we found her collection and bag-buying philosophy fascinating, and so we needed to learn more about how it all came to be.
Thanks for the wonderful chat, E!
You’re a unique collector because you didn’t start your journey with vintage. Tell us a little more about the early days.
E: I’ve always known about vintage bags, but in Jakarta where I’m from, it’s not that common to see on the street. While I love shopping on HuntStreet, which if you didn't know is where many Indonesians buy their bags, the selection of vintage pieces isn't as good as on MGFT! I agree with you that vintage is really a different category from simply pre-loved items.
It might even be a cultural thing? My husband and friends don’t really get the vintage thing—to them, it just sounds like I’m buying something used. Well yes, it was owned by someone else before, but vintage is so much more than that!
For all those reasons, my collection in the early days consisted of classics from YSL, Goyard, the like.
What was your everyday bag from that time?
E: Absolutely my trusty Goyard Bellechasse. It’s coming up to 7 years old now, and it was a gift from a BFF, who was living in Taipei at that time. She’d gotten the bag in Paris, and had given it to me when we had a rendezvous in Rome. I later got the bag initialed in San Francisco. Clearly, the bag has been around the world!
I like the Goyard Bellechasse because it’s such a survival bag. Like a bag that I’d literally bring with me on a desert island. Quite literally—I was stranded outside of Jakarta early into the pandemic, where what was supposed to be a two-week trip got unexpectedly extended into six whole months. During that time, the only bag I had with me was my Goyard, and it truly became my go everywhere, do everything bag.
And as a mother of three boys, I need a bag that can keep up with anything and everything I need it to do. On the busiest of days, the bag has even served as a temporary trashcan for candy wrappers and whatever other stuff magically gets tossed in.
That sounds like quite the bag!
E: It was! To be honest, throughout that time, I was perfectly happy being a one-bag type of gal.
I never really had a big rotation of bags. It’s a side effect of having a background in architecture—my philosophy is: only do something if you have a strong reason for it. Otherwise, why do it? This means I tend to hold on to bags for a long time unless something strongly compels me to switch out.
How did the switch to building a bag collection happen? Tell us about your first Chanel bag.
E: There’s a bit of story behind this one. I’ve always wanted to buy my first Chanel bag as a milestone reward for my first job. But because life is just unexpected that way, it never happened.
Fast forward to my pregnancy with my first son. We were living in Hong Kong then, and my husband was away on a business trip in Paris.
Knowing that I’d always wanted a Chanel bag, he’d visited a boutique and consulted with the sales associates. Because the SAs knew it was my first bag, they recommended something timeless: a black caviar medium classic flap with gold hardware. He was lucky that they had it exactly in stock, and so that became my first ever Chanel bag.
In hindsight, I would’ve wanted a square mini instead, but hey, you can’t go wrong with a classic flap, right?
A classic flap sounds like the perfect first bag. What advice do you have for someone looking for maybe the second Chanel bag of their collection?
E: Once you get the classic pieces out of the way, I’d say definitely have fun with more interesting stuff.
For example, I have a black lambskin Wallet On Chain with a beautiful white contrast lining. I love matching that with a Chanel jacket I have with a similar style. It’s little accents like that that really make a collection interesting.
What has changed since your first bag to get you into the vintage game?
E: Believe it or not, the pandemic was a huge factor. Like so many people around the world, I basically lived in Lululemon and sweatpants for a good year. And with the world opening up, I felt long overdue for a style shakeup. Yet, as I went shopping, I didn’t really connect with any of the modern bags and styles. I felt like I had outgrown that more trendy and chic aesthetic. And so, I began exploring vintage, and that’s what led me to MGFT and the world of vintage Chanel.
There was another more personal factor that led me towards vintage. I’ve recently turned forty-three, which is the age my mother passed. She was a stylish, sophisticated woman—you can tell just by looking at photos of her, with her strapless dresses and fabulous hair. She knew how to party!
I wanted to pay homage to my mother by channeling her style in my own. And so vintage was a natural way for me to embody that 80s aesthetic that I’ve grown to love. Mila seemed like a good start to achieving that look.
That’s a beautiful story about your mother. And Mila is such a wonderful bag that really captures that 80s aesthetic. Has your taste changed since then?
E: The first bag I ever bought from you is Mila, which is a brown lambskin classic flap. That was followed shortly by Magi, a brown lambskin full flap. Both are delicate and buttery and absolutely gorgeous.
But I’ve really come to appreciate caviar leather, which I find more suitable for my lifestyle. As a mother of three feisty young boys, caviar is just more hardwearing and basically indestructible.
I like to buy things that last a long time, so for me, if it’s something that I’m not going to trade, then I’d want it to go the distance. I don’t have girls, so I don’t know who’s going to get my handbags (maybe my nieces?). And that’s why I don’t mind spending a bit more for caviar. That’s what pushed me towards buying Flossie. She helps me achieve my homage to my mother’s 80s aesthetic, all while being able to keep up with my busy lifestyle.
Another aspect of my taste that has changed over the years is hardware. I used to shy away from yellow gold when I was younger, thinking that it was too old-fashioned or that I couldn’t pull it off.
But lately, I’ve been telling myself: I’m forty-three, so what if the gold is yellow? You’ll have to imagine me saying that with a LOT of swagger.
Ah, Flossie, your latest acquisition! She’s an ivory beige small Diana caviar. So much swagger in a tiny package.
E: Yes, Flossie has been such a dream. She’s such a chameleon. There are so many fits that work with her.
I especially love pairing her with Chanel jackets that have a nice splash of colour. The clean ivory beige caviar really complements a wide range of colours and it always feels so effortless.
Spoken like a true collector. You’re one of us now!
E: Yes! Even my friends and family have been commenting on my recent vintage bags. You may be hearing from some of them soon, with any luck.
We definitely look forward to that for sure! Thank you for the wonderful chat today, E. May your next dream bag be just round the corner. ☺