This will be my second bag review, and it will be of the Givenchy Antigona. Previously I tackled the Saint Laurent Sac de Jour, and this time I’ll be reviewing a bag that is usually compared to the SDJ – the Antigona. I was very much aware of the Antigona’s status as an “It” bag well before I received mine (unlike the SDJ which I bought myself, the Antigona was a birthday gift from my hubby; with the SDJ I wasn’t aware it was considered an “It” bag until after I purchased it, while with the Antigona I knew about its bag standing beforehand) – truth be told, it was that fact which made me hesitant to buy the Antigona, as I didn’t want to just go with the crowd and get what everyone else was getting. My dear hubby made the decision for me in the end, knowing I’d been eyeing it for so long. I’m glad he did – read on to find out why.
Bag: Givenchy Antigona
Givenchy’s Antigona (or the Ant, as some call it) became an “It” bag almost as soon as it was released a few years ago. It isn’t hard to see why – the design is very unique, it’s Givenchy (which was on a roll then, and seems to still be on a roll now), and it successfully fuses edge with sophistication – which is a rarity in itself.
And yet it was its “It” bag status which made me stay away from the Antigona initially. It seemed like everyone wanted one just because it was so hot. I didn’t like that… I resisted the urge to buy it because I did not want to be viewed as part of that group. I kept finding reasons not to buy it – I told myself things like, it won’t fit my lifestyle (I usually prefer soft, slouchy, unstructured bags – funny how that works, since my first two reviews are on bags that are exactly the opposite of that); or – it doesn’t come in a color I’m dying to have; I even told myself I didn’t really like it that much.
Eventually, this realization dawned on me – it would of course be ridiculous to buy a bag just because of its status or popularity – but I already knew that was not why I wanted it; so wouldn’t it be more ridiculous not to get a bag (or anything, for that matter) that you REALLY want after all, just because everyone else wants it too?
Thankfully I received mine as a birthday gift, so my inner turmoil was at last put to rest 😛 Now after all has been said and done – how did the Antigona stack up against expectations?
General Features and Usability
The Antigona is a handheld bag that comes with a shoulder strap. I find that I use the strap more often than I thought I would – for my SDJ for example, I don’t use the strap. For the Ant though, I’d say I use the handles and the shoulder strap around the same.
The size I have is small, which I think suits me best. One size smaller (mini) would have been too small for me to fit my things in, and one size up (medium) would have been too bulky for my (almost) 5’0 frame.
My bag is in grained goatskin (you can also get it in a variety of other materials such as calfskin, rubberized canvas, crocodile, ostrich, nubuck, anaconda, and python). I’m lucky that my husband gave me the grained goatskin as it doesn’t scratch easily, and at the same time, I like the look of the Antigona in grained goatskin best. I find the calf too shiny, and the others just don’t appeal to me as much aesthetically. Just a personal preference.
I expected the Antigona to weigh more. Surprisingly, it’s not heavy at all. Without anything in it, the bag is very light. When loaded, the bag still does not get too heavy for me.
The gripes I have with this bag are around the shoulder strap. Firstly – it’s not detachable. Most structured bags (that I know of, anyway) come with a detachable strap, so that you have the option of removing it if you prefer to use just the handles. The Ant’s shoulder strap cannot be removed. This can be a deal breaker for some people – if you belong to this group, then you might want to scratch the Ant off your bag wish list. I was initially annoyed by this, but when you actually use the handles, the strap falls very naturally to the back of the bag and you forget it’s there. So that part, though an inconvenience on paper, was actually not a big deal at all in reality. The real con of the shoulder strap for me is when you put it on your shoulder, the bag can fall a bit awkwardly on your side/under your armpit – the handles actually hit your armpit (please refer to the picture above). I think it’s because of the boxiness of the bag combined with the length of the strap (which many people find too short). The length of the strap is not that big a deal to me since I’m short. Also, I’ve found that moving the bag behind my arm when using the shoulder strap is a good solution to this, but again – if something like this might not work or could be a deal breaker for you – try the bag in the boutique first and try walking around with it while using the strap. If you feel uncomfortable or awkward and the solution I mentioned doesn’t make it any better for you – then the Ant might not be the bag for you. My solution has made the con regarding the strap acceptable to me (but this might not be the case for all). Or – if you are one who uses just the handles anyway – then this would make the aforementioned gripe a non-issue.
This bag is nothing if not striking. It’s the type of bag that inspires double-takes on the street. The Antigona’s unique design really makes it stand out – it’s a statement piece.
It does make you wonder though – why is that? The design is relatively simple, but it still feels unique. The shape is boxy but not too boxy; the placement of the handles (lower than usual) adds to the look; and ultimately to me it is the combination of its unique dimensions and the reversed triangle where the logo is placed on top of (my daughter might scold me and say it’s technically an irregular pentagon, but I think triangle is the first thing that pops into everyone’s minds when they see it 😛 ) that makes it stand out.
It’s hard to fully explain why it’s such a stunner, and why the design is so appealing… it could be a case of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts. On paper, the Antigona’s impact shouldn’t be this great… but for some reason, it just is.
Despite all that though, I can’t give the Antigona a perfect 10 in this area just because of the shoulder strap. It was discussed in-depth in the context of usability, but we have to admit that it’s really a design flaw which resulted in some usability problems. So, if a future version of the Ant comes with a better shoulder strap, expect a perfect score for its design. For now though, a 9 will have to do.
When I first got my Antigona, I was perfectly fine with its interior and canvas lining. When I got my Sac de Jour a few months later and felt its luxurious suede lining though… it made me think a little less of my Ant’s interior 😛 To be fair, the interior of the Ant is completely fine – just not very luxurious once you’ve felt suede and leather linings (the older Prada models had beautiful leather lining). Granted, suede and leather linings can add weight to a bag, but I don’t mind that.
These things matter differently to different people, naturally – some people I know really don’t care about it (no one sees it anyway – it’s inside your bag after all), but I am part of the group that values a bag’s interior and thinks it’s a factor that needs to be considered. To me, it adds to a bag’s over-all appeal. A bag’s lining can also determine how quickly the inside will stain, how easily you can find your things inside your bag, and other more practical concerns.
Going back to the Ant’s interior – it’s perfectly adequate, just nothing special.
Quality and Construction
The quality and construction of this bag is superb. It feels sturdy, there are no loose stitches or misaligned letters, and it hasn’t shown any wear in the few months I’ve had it. I don’t wear it everyday (I rotate my bags quite often) but given the fact it’s been bumped by people quite a number of times and I’ve subjected it to conditions wherein I thought it would get scratched or scuffed yet it didn’t get either – at the very least, I’d say that it’s been proven that the bag is not fragile and does not need to be babied. It hasn’t lost its shape yet and it doesn’t look like it will any time soon.
For an “It” bag, the Antigona is quite reasonably priced. It hasn’t had crazy (or frequent) price increases yet, which is a plus. When all is said and done, it IS expensive since it’s a luxury item; but compared to the bags in the same price range, I’d say you get your money’s worth with the Ant.
The hype around this bag hasn’t died down yet. If anything, it has gained even more momentum. The surprising thing is people have neither lost interest nor reached their saturation point yet, even with the amount of press and publicity this bag has gotten just from being on the arms of different celebrities (no, I am not a celebrity watcher at all – but you don’t have to be one to notice the fact that the Antigona is a celebrity-favorite. I suppose it’s just that ubiquitous). I’d say this is a very good indicator of this bag’s staying power – it’s been near the top of bag favorites for a few years now and it’s been seen on practically every female celebrity’s arm – if people aren’t tired of it by now, then it probably won’t be going away any time soon.
The Givenchy Antigona is a keeper. We often find that the most popular things (in whatever area – be it food, fashion, television/cinema, etc.) are over-rated – this is not the case with the Ant. It isn’t perfect, but it’s certainly a bag worth owning if you can look past its flaws. A triumphant testament to Givenchy’s vastly improving accessories game, the Antigona is one of the few bags that successfully merges sophistication with edge.
Over-all score: 8.5/10