Spotted on the likes of Kate Moss, Rihanna and Salma Hayek, Stella McCartney’s Falabella is the ultimate on-the-go handbag. The Falabella was launched in Stella McCartney’s Winter 2010 collection and has been a signature style for the brand ever since. Its ample capacity, cool-girl slouch and sleek hardware make it a top contender for outings with children, drinks downtown and everything in between.
Stella McCartney has drawn a host of followers who appreciate not only her luxe designs, but her dedication to sustainability. In addition to recycling and responsibly sourcing materials, the brand abstains from using fur and skins and instead fabricates their own faux-leather material. All of Stella McCartney’s shoes, accessories and handbags are made with vegan leather and are PVC-free. While “synthetic” may not scream luxury to some, Stella McCartney’s craftsmanship will put any naysayers in their place. Many don’t even realize Falabella bags are leather-free given their feel and quality, and things can get even trickier when fakes are involved. We asked our Senior Director of Authentication, Graham Wetzbarger, to walk us through spotting the real deal. Read on for his tips.
Stella McCartney Falabella Construction
All Falabella bags are made in Italy, so there’s no doubt that they’re expertly crafted. When examining a Falabella for authenticity, the bag’s stitching and dimensions should be uniform and well-finished. “These bags are constructed with exposed seams, which are then punched at regular intervals,” explains Wetzbarger. “Cord is then whipstitched through, attaching the chain at every link, and it should be very tight and secure.”
Artisans apply the chain detail to the bag by hand, increasing production expenses but ensuring unparalleled results. “The amount of labor is reflected in the quality and price point. Even though it’s not leather, it’s still a luxury product requiring artisanal craftsmanship,” says Wetzbarger.
Stella McCartney Falabella Materials
Though there are many variations of the Falabella, one of its most popular iterations is composed of a Stella McCartney signature, the vegan leather substitute called “Shaggy Deer.” “This is a very expensive material to manufacture and it’s proprietary to the brand — it’s even more expensive than some leather skins,” notes Wetzbarger. “Because it’s proprietary, it has a unique weight. While many synthetics feel oily or like plastic, the Falabella should not. Fakes also have a lot of stretch and won’t hold their shape the way Shaggy Deer does.” Authentic Shaggy Deer is textured, with an appearance similar to suede that has been overprinted with a glossy pebble.
The lining can also be a tell-tale sign of a fake. A Falabella’s lining is made of recycled nylon with a jacquard weave that features the logo in a circular motif. This motif should consist of clean letters formed by dots.
Stella McCartney Falabella Hardware
For the Falabella line, Stella McCartney accents her bags with a flat curb link chain. “These chains are normally ruthenium or brass, and are diamond-cut,” explains Wetzbarger, referring to a process by which a saw coated with diamond dust is used to make an extremely clean cut. The chain should line the edge of the bag as one continuous link without gaps or joints, and it should also be in proportion to the bag’s size; a Falabella Mini bag will have smaller links than a standard tote, for example. “The chain link will line the bag’s perimeter and will make up the top handles and shoulder straps, if applicable,” adds Wetzbarger. “Only if a bag has shoulder straps will there be a jump ring or space in the chain.”
Another iconic hardware element to look out for is the disc attached to the chain. This charm will include the brand logo formed by dots, similar to the lining. If there is an interior pocket, there will be another disc as a pull for the zip closure, but the zipper itself will be branded YKK.
Stella McCartney Falabella Brand Identifiers
When identifying a real Falabella, look for the white tag sewn into the interior pocket. The tag will feature three rows of numbers which refer to style number, embellishments and fabrication, and season. “Another identifier is the interior label, which should read ‘Stella McCartney Made In Italy,’” says Wetzbarger. “It will either be stamped in foil or debossed.”
Ready to invest in a Stella McCartney original? Shop our authenticated collection of Falabellas here.