The Trapeze was my first love out of all Celine handbags. That is impressive because I literally like every single handbag from Celine: luggage, box, trio, belt, knot, and the list goes on and go. Yet, without a doubt, the Trapeze was on the top of my list. I love love the clean lines, the classic “briefcase” shape, the distinctive wings from Celine, the sleek silhouette, the simple lock and the large curvature of the top handle.
I’ve had the Trapeze for over a year now and would like to share my thoughts! As much as I love the Trapeze, there are some flaws and points to consider before you make your purchase.
The Trapeze I purchased is in the small size with drummed leather and gold hardware. The color is called indigo which is a bright blue in the sunlight but a darker blue indoors.
Sizes – Mini, Small and Medium
From my knowledge, the Trapeze comes in 3 sizes: mini, small and medium (there might have been a large size at one point). Honestly I think the small is the best size unless you are tall and the medium won’t look overwhelming or you carry around a lot of stuff. The small Trapeze measures 10.5” x 8” x 6”, these are the measurements excluding the wings. At its widest wingspan, the small Trapeze measures 17 inches. Out of all my bags, I bump into people and things the most with the Trapeze due to these wings.
The mini is really cute but I haven’t seen them in Celine boutiques recently. If you are looking for a mini bag, I think the nano luggage beats the mini Trapeze hands down (although the nano luggage costs significantly more). I actually think the medium size looks better proportionally; however, I purchased the small in the end due to my height, the minimal amount of stuff I carry and I think the small has the best chance of preserving its beautiful shape the longest.
Tri-Color vs. Solid Color Trapeze
Celine is known for its beautiful tricolor combinations. Although I have to say for the past few seasons, none of the tricolor combinations have been that great. Tricolor is very “Celine” but it’s not very “me” and I wanted to stay true to what I like and what I will use so I went with a solid color Trapeze.
I do like some color combinations but it’s very rare and even rarer for me to find the specific tricolors at the boutiques. Either case, you can’t go wrong with a tricolor or a solid color. The pro of a tricolor is you can pair it with any outfit that has a single matching color or similar color. The tricolors makes the bag much more edgy and fun. However, I think in the long term solid colors will last longer on the “fashion timeline” and on my personal timeline. I don’t know if tricolors will be “in” in 10 years but I know for certain I would prefer a solid color bag 5, 10, 20, and 30 years from now.
For the solid colors, black, dune, indigo, and vermillion are all in Celine’s permanent collections. I love the black but the indigo was just more special and I think the color is very versatile for all seasons.
Leather: Smooth vs. Drummed
In all other Celine bags I like the look of the smooth leather but because the design of the Trapeze is so simple, I think the textured drummed leather makes the bag more interesting, especially if you are getting a solid color Trapeze. The smooth calfskin leather is beautiful but prone to scratches. In general, I don’t mind scratches but I think they will be more pronounced on the Trapeze, again because the bag is so simple.
The interior and the wings can be leather or suede. Personally, I wanted an all leather bag because suede is harder to clean. However, solid color trapezes only come with suede wings, which I actually learned to appreciate later. Even though the leather and the suede of my Trapeze are both indigo color, they are actually different tones of blue. The suede is a slightly darker and richer blue than the leather so in some ways I got a two-toned Trapeze. Overall it was the indigo color that took my breath away in the stores, so I signed onto the suede wings.
Other alternatives include pony hair, croc stamped leather, saffiano leather, full suede, nubuck calfskin, canvas, felt, and exotics. Overall, I highly recommend the leather; smooth or drummed, Celine’s leather is heavenly!
Practicality – Lock / Opening & Closing
The biggest drawback to the Trapeze is it’s difficult to get in and out of the bag. First, you have to open the square clasp, then you have to turn the lock horizontally, then open the flap, then unzip to get your content.
- You can try to cut down a step and keep the bag unzipped; however, if your bag is stuffed, the second you open the flap, your contents are very likely to fall out
- If you want to cut down a step and just have the lock on horizontally, the clasp won’t close properly and an SA told me it will damage the hardware overtime
So there are no real shortcuts. To access goodies from the bag, I have to either use both hands or do a one-leg stand, have the bag sit on my leg then take out the content. As a result, I only open the bag to grab larger items. For my wallet, I would leave one of the wings unbutton so I can simply slip my hands through. The exterior zipped pocket is also extremely useful, you can slip your most used card or phone in the outside compartment.
Is it a pain? Yes.
Do I wish it was easier? Definitely.
Does it prevent me from using the bag? Maybe 10% of the time.
Do I regret buying the bag? Not at all.
If anything, the “bulkiness” of the bag and the wings prevent me from reaching for this bag more than the opening / closing. By bulkiness I mean the amount of space this bag takes up due to the large base and the wings. The base will make the bag stick out more and you are bound to bump into something with the wings. If I am heading somewhere with a crowd or I want to be more “agile” then I would not reach for this bag.
Hardware, Compartments, Handle and Shoulder Strap
The Trapeze like all other Celine handbags have minimal hardware. The whole bag, excluding some hardware around the straps, only has the square lock. Celine hardware also has an aged finish. I like the aged / vintage look and think with the Trapeze it helps with the casual vibe. The inside of the Trapeze is just one large open compartment. There are 2 pockets on one side of the bag which I never use.
I do think it’s pretty cool that these 2 pockets are on the same leather flap as the exterior pocket. The fact that 3 pieces of leather can be sewn together and still be so thin and sturdy is pretty amazing.
Unfortunately, I have to say this bag doesn’t hold very much relative to its mass. The reason is due to the trapezoidal shape. Although the base is large, the bag becomes narrow on the top so overall the volume of the bag is half of what it would be if it had a rectangle shape. For me, the room is more than sufficient, I usually only carry around phone, wallet, keys, sunglasses and a scarf in the winter. Also you won’t want to overstuff this bag anyways to prevent the shape from sagging. Overall, this bag carries enough for a daily basis but I don’t think it would be the best travel or work bag (note: this is for the small size).
Lastly, I wished this bag came with feet, either leather or metal, to protect the base of the bag.
Versatility is a very attractive characteristic of a bag because chances are you only have a limited number of bags and if you can stretch each bag to have multiple looks, uses, or functionalities then you have more options than the mere number of bags. When it comes to the Trapeze, I think this bag wins the multiple-look category. Of course the standard is having the wings out, but you can also tuck it in and voila, it changes the look completely! I love wearing the wings tucked-in because it reminds me of the Celine Box, another bag I love.
I have to mention that if you do wear the wing tucked-in then the bag really doesn’t hold much. Also when the wings are tucked-in, the zipper becomes harder to zip and unzip because everything is more crammed together. Generally I don’t carry a lot of stuff, so I like wearing the wings tucked-in, it makes the bag look very simple, classic, sleek and I am much less prone to bumping into things.
The Trapeze comes with one large handle that you can carry in your hands or on the crock of your arm. The large arc of the handle makes it super easy to carry. Then the bag also comes with a shoulder strap. The length of the strap is perfect for over the shoulder; it is seriously the ideal length for my 5’2” height. The downside is the length is too short for cross body. The shoulder strap has a rectangular padding which makes the strap very comfortable on the shoulder; however, this padding can shift around slightly so at the end of the day you might have to adjust it back to the middle.
Although you can get multiple looks out of the Trapeze, the one thing you can’t do is make it a formal / night bag. To me the Trapeze is classic yet modern, casual yet pulled together, simple yet sophisticated. It’s just beautiful!
Celine Trapeze Losing Its Shape
One of the biggest concerns I had was whether the Trapeze will start to sag and lose its shape after a while. If you google “out of shape Celine Trapeze” you will find many pictures of Trapezes with both ends sticking up, the flap concaved in and the poor square lock working very hard to hold the bag together. In my opinion, the small Trapeze has a better chance of preserving its shape than the medium Trapeze. However, I would have to say how much you stuff your Trapeze will impact how long it can maintain its shape much more than the size. In another words, don’t carry everything with you in the Trapeze if you want to preserve the shape as long as possible!
From the PurseForum, it seems Celine has updated the structure of the Trapeze post 2011 to make it more structured and less prone to sagging. Personally, I still think the shape will eventually give out, how long just depends on the size of the bag and how much you put into your bag.
Price and Where to Buy
The price of the Trapeze depends on the size, leather type, leather combo and color combo. The solid color in drummed leather is retailing for $2,550 currently in the U.S.
Of course you can purchase the bag directly from a boutique. Please just note, Celine has a no refund, exchanges within 14 days policy. I have also seen certain colors of the Trapeze go on sale for ~$2,300 on flash sale sights such as Ruelala and Gilt. You can also get it on consignment websites such as Yoogi’s Closet and Fashionphile. I actually think you can get a great value buying the Trapeze used because for some reason the Trapeze has a lower resale value compared to the luggage. I have not purchased any bags from the flash sale sites or consignment websites so I cannot comment on the quality, authenticity or customer experience.
Also if you are able to travel to Europe then you can save substantially on Celine handbags! The prices are already lower to begin with plus the ~15% VAT return plus the favorite exchange rates can save you ~30%! If you have family or friends traveling to Europe, consider asking them to do you a huge favor and help you bring one back! Just remember to be flexible with what you are looking for, especially if you are looking for a tri-color, it might not be available at the specific boutique.
Lastly, MimiLovesToShop talks about personal shoppers from Harrods and Selfridges in her YouTube videos (see here and here). You can purchase Celine bags through personal shoppers from these two European retailers. You do have to pay shipping fee and a 2% commission but you will still save money with the lower prices in Europe and VAT returns.
What Specifically to Look For in a Trapeze Bag
I purchased my bag from the Celine boutique in Saks Fifth Avenue in Boston. The bag came with a dust bag, tags and a care booklet. My bag did not come in a box but please make sure you ask for one, Celine boxes are really nice!
I had to exchange my Trapeze twice because both times there was something wrong with the bags. I got really dishearten at the quality and I couldn’t return the bag due to the exchange only policy. It took two tries but eventually I did find the perfect Trapeze.
The first Trapeze I bought, I looked over stitching, glue, hardware, anything “off”. I anything so paid and went home with the bag. Once I got home, I realized there were these air bubbles inside the flaps. I rushed back to the store and after examining a few Trapezes, I found the flap actually consists of two pieces of leather sewn together on the edges only so there is supposed to be “air” in between the leathers to allow the flap to fold over properly. However, the Trapeze in the right picture below (my 1st bag) had noticeable pockets where as the Trapeze in the left picture, the leather was much smoother. So make sure to specifically look underneath the flaps for the Trapeze!(Note: This picture demonstrates what I was talking about earlier, the color Indigo is electric blue in the sunlight but dark blue indoors.)
I was able to exchange the Trapeze with the air bubble for another one. Yet after a few days I realized on the second bag, where the shoulder strap meets the actual hardware, the leather was actually glued onto the hardware so you couldn’t move the leather around! The glue was likely from the black piping used around the edges of the bags. I had to go back and exchange the bag again. Please see the circle below for the area I am referencing, unfortunately I did not take a picture of the glued-on straps.
Wear & Tear
So far this bag is still in great shape after a year. The bag has maintained its shape but I do notice the leather softening a bit and the sides starting to sag. I don’t see any scratches on the exterior drummed leather but I do see scuffs in the interior smooth leather.
Also the buttons of the wings, I am starting to see the leather wearing out. Mine is not bad at all but I have seen some Trapezes with the half of the leather on the buttons gone. I don’t snap open and close the buttons often so I don’t anticipate this to be a problem.
Besides the usual maintenance, i.e., not letting it get rained on, stuffing it when you’re not using it for a while, storing it in the dust bag, not over stuffing the bag, etc. The SA told me to use moisturizers on the drummed leather once every three months. She recommended first cleaning the bag with a damp clothe then using the Coach moisturizer to make circular motions to apply the moisturizer. (This Coach moisturizer must be new packaging because the prior version was in a white bottle.) Then for the suede part, I was told to get a soft bristle toothbrush and brush the suede leather gently in one direction.
To be honest, I haven’t moisturized or brushed my Trapeze just because I don’t think it’s necessary yet. In fact, I don’t think it’s necessary unless you use the bag everyday; once every 3 months seems excessive. Plus I am concern if I put moisturizer on the leather often, the leather will soften faster and lose its shape faster. Maybe in a few months I will purchase the Coach lotion and do a “maintenance” moisturizing on it.
- Beautiful and classic bag with clean lines
- The leather is out of this world
- The top handle and shoulder strap are very comfortable and the perfect lengths!
- Versatile bag that can be carried in multiple ways
- It’s a little troublesome to get in and out of the bag
- For the size of the bag, it does not fit that much
- Leather will invariably soften over time and the bag might slowly lose its shape
- No feet to protect the leather
- Resale value heavily depends on the condition and the shape (in general the Trapeze has a lower resell value than the luggage)
Overall, I personally love the Trapeze. It is not the most functional bag in terms of ease-of-use but I love the look so much that I can and am willing to take the extra effort to use the bag.
If you have made it this far, thank you so much for reading my whole post!!! You must be a handbag lover as well =P I hope you found this post helpful. I think most of the time we search for reviews to help us answer basic questions, but the real answer of whether we should get a particular bag lies within our hearts. The heart wants what it wants =D