Reveal and Review: The Balenciaga Bazar Shopper

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As promised, here is a review of the Balenciaga Bazar Shopper. I’ve been wearing the bag frequently and I am enjoying the experience.

The Bag: Balenciaga Bazar Shopper XS

The Balenciaga Bazar Shopper tote was launched in 2016 for the house’s Fall/Winter collection and it certainly perplexed fashionistas because of the inspiration behind the design: Thailand’s ubiquitous sampeng bag. It’s literally inspired by a market bag, guys.

This bag comes in so many colorways, most of which are quite colorful. I’m not into colorful bags at the moment so I had my eye on the color and black combo. Since that’s nowhere to be found, I opted for the sky blue and gray combo, close enough.

My bag comes in XS aka the Mini size. I believe the bazar shopper comes in five sizes – but don’t quote me on that – the XXS, XS, Small, Medium, and Large. I usually don’t like bags that stand too tall and since the Bazar’s lambskin material softens over time, the larger sizes lose their structure even more. The XS is more structured so it doesn’t lose its shape.

Also, the small size is too big for me. I’ve been wearing mini bags as of late and the small is too dang clunky to wear, I can imagine.  I also don’t like the way the top slouches when you put a lot of stuff in the bag so I opted for the cuter size.

The Quality

The inspiration behind the Balenciaga Bazar is a cheap market bag and I feel that the design reflects that. No, the bag does not look cheap but it emulates that aesthetic if that makes sense.

For starters, high-end designer bags tend to have tone-on-tone stitching. That’s not the case with the Bazar, the stitching is white against the black leather trims and the white thread stands out  – a little too starkly, to be honest. That’s part of the look.

The stitches are also fewer than the usual, just 4 stitches per inch, which is supposed to “mimic the inexpensive craftsmanship that you would find in a traditional market bag.” That’s not to say that the bag isn’t durable. The seams are reinforced so the cheapened appearance is just that, for appearance.

The Bazar is crafted from supple lambskin, which might’ve been treated to achieve its somewhat glossy, crinkly finish. This is the first time that I’ve touched lambskin leather and it feels so nice. I sort of understand the hype over lambskin Chanel classic flap now. The material is thinner than any of my calfskin leather bags for obvious reasons but the lambskin reduced the weight of the bag. It’s so fucking lightweight.

The striped leathers were stitched together to create the “body” of the bag, which also adds to the durability of the purse. As far as the quality goes, the Bazar is one sturdy bag.

The Details

The bazar has palladium hardware. As much as I love gold hardware, I think the silver hardware looks better in this particular colorway. I like the quality of the leather, it does feel durable but is so freakin’ lightweight. All of my bags with the exception of this one are all made from calfskin. The bigger ones can be hella heavy at times. No such problem with the Bazar XS.

I love the strap, the length is just right. I can wear it as a crossbody or shoulder bag and the Bazar does not look awkward at all.

Although light, the strips of leather are actually reinforced – especially the bottom! The Balenciaga Bazar has two zippers, which I thought was a great touch. The zips do not glide as smoothly as I would like, however, but that’s just a minor thing, not a deal-breaker at all.

This is the third mini bag in my collection and honestly, there is nothing mini about it. It’s a sizable bag for sure. It fits my makeup pouch, my continental wallet, key holder, wet wipes, and even my foldable umbrella.

Even when filled to the brim, the Balenciaga Bazar still has room for more on either side of the interior. Both sides have size pockets for more stuff, one’s an open pocket and the other one’s a zipped pocket. If you love the look of mini bags but you’re not used to the cramped space, you will definitely love the Bazar!

The Cons

The hardware feels light. It’s not flimsy at all, don’t get me wrong, just light. I’m so used to my other bags having hefty hardware, I guess. Also, I feel that the top part of the bag that zips up will soften and deform at some point. The extra flaps get in the way when I get my stuff in and out and if I use the bag often, these parts will be the first to deform.

Mod Shots

Final Thoughts

In all honesty, this is one of the best bags I’ve purchased. Don’t let the size fool you, the Balenciaga Bazar is one roomy tote. It’s stylish with a classic shape, the color combination is sooo cool, and it makes any outfit pop. Even when full, the Bazar mini is able to hold its shape, something that’s not possible with its bigger siblings. I favor structured bags and the bigger Bazars are definitely slouchy so I feel that I got the perfect size.

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Tina Lee

Tina Lee-Almazar is a writer with an insatiable appetite for all things bright, shiny, and beautiful. She's a beauty junkie, a shopping connoisseur, a book collector, a purse addict, and a budding mom-tepreneur. Tina has a long-standing (and well-documented!) but one-sided love affair with cats. Special talents include: the ability to eat again an hour after eating, shopping at 3 different malls in 1 day, and taking a 3-hour power nap every day including weekends.

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