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The Collector’s Report: Maria Chamourlidou

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We are proud to introduce our new interview series, The Collector’s Report. Get inspired as selected SACLÀB favourites grant us a look inside their personal accessory closet. For the first issue, Moscow-based blogger and avid handbag collector Maria Chamourlidou takes us through her admirable line-up of luxury handbags. Whether you are starting your own collection or seek inspiration for your next investment, Maria shares her thoughts on her decision-making, key essentials and luxe standout pieces. Text by Leonie Görke

Let’s start at the beginning: How did your passion for luxury fashion begin?

Maria: It all started when I was a teenager, I must have been thirteen or fourteen years old. One day, I started flipping through the pages of my sister-in-law’s InStyle magazine. I felt so in awe of the beautiful dresses, jewellery and designer handbags! At that moment, I decided that I wanted to dress like that one day. The first bag I truly fell in love with was the Lady Dior. 

So the Lady Dior was your very first designer bag splurge? 

M: Yes, it became my dream bag and goal. When I finished school, I had all excellent marks on my record. My parents asked me for my graduation gift wish, and I wanted this exact bag. I had read so much about its history and how it was loved and carried by Princess Diana. When I first held it in my hands, I somewhat felt like a princess as well. That’s when I started my handbag collection.

Luxury Bag Collection Lady Dior Handbag Red

Maria holding her first bag crush, the Dior Lady in a scarlet red shade. Picture via @chamourlidoumaria

Dior Lady Large Calf Black Secondhand Handbag

Shop the look: This Dior Lady Large is crafted from supple Calfskin and makes a timeless investment piece. Available via SACLÀB

You also assembled a beautiful range of Hermès bags. Do you have a favourite Hermès model?

M: That is a very tough choice. Both, the Kelly and the Birkin bag, have their perks. The Kelly has a shoulder strap, which is quite practical in my opinion. And my Hermès Kelly Lettre M is without doubt one of the most special bags I own as it also features my initial “M”. The Birkin, on the other hand, feels more elegant and classy as it cannot be worn over the shoulder. Getting my Birkin bag was a dream come true! I had dreamt of owning it since school, and finally got it when I finished university. 

Luxury Bag Collection Hermès Birkin 30 Bleu Zanzibar

Maria with her much-loved Hermès Birkin 30 Bleu Zanzibar featuring silver palladium hardware. Picture via her blog mychocolatenovelty

Speaking of your Hermès Kelly Lettre M – a Kellygraphie edition collectible – how did you get your hands on it? 

M: I work with a Personal Buyer, who advises me on handbags and helps me to find them. Last October, I was on the lookout for a new Hermès bag. She told me that she had found the perfect bag for me that coincidentally carries my initial “M”. First, I was a bit unsure about the colour and its versatility, but turns out I can wear it with just about anything. She got the bag for me in France, where most of my bags are from, because the prices in Russia are much higher than in Europe.

Photo courtesy of Maria Chamourlidou

Maria with her limited edition Hermès Kelly 28 Lettre M, crafted from Capucine-coloured Epsom leather, Bleu Obscur Sombrero and Chèvre leather in Ambre. Picture via @chamourlidoumaria

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Behind the Bag: Hermès Kellygraphie and the fabled Mademoiselle D

The Kellygraphie series is yet another demonstration of Hermès’ meticulous artisanship. Spelling out ‘H-E-R-M-È-S’, six Kelly 28 designs were released, each decorated with one of the geometric letters. This collectible series is said to be inspired by a mysterious draughtswoman who worked for the Maison in 1930 and finished off each of her sketches with a puzzling signature: Mademoiselle D. Her illustrations have ever since been kept safe by Hermès. Until – almost a hundred years later – a series of her art-deco alphabet motifs was brought to life for the 2018 Resort collection under the creative direction of Nadège Vanhee-Cybulski.

Vogue Runway Hermes Kelly Lettre R

A Resort 2018 Hermès Kelly 28 Lettre R crafted from Clemence and Tadelakt leather. Picture via Vogue Runway.

Hermès Kellygraphie Resort 2018 handbag

A limited-edition Hermès Kelly 28 Lettre E, crafted from Taurillon Clemence leather coloured in Brique. Picture via curatedition

Whilst the identity of their mysterious creator remains unknown, the limited-edition Kellygraphie pieces are highly coveted among collectors and were sold to selected clients only.

On the search for a Hermès Kelly 28 Kellygraphie edition? Contact our consultants, they will track it down for you!

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Which is your most underrated handbag? 

M: The Hermès Evelyne. It is a bag that only grew on me over the years. I have an Hermès Evelyne 16 Mini coloured in Rouge Casaque, one the most beautiful red shades ever created by Hermès. It has become my go-to bag for low-key occasions, and when my outfit needs a pop of colour.

Luxury Handbag Collection Hermès Evelyne Mini in Rouge Casaque

Maria with her Hermès Evelyne 16 Clemence Rouge Casaque. Picture via @chamourlidoumaria

Do you have a go-to evening bag for going out? 

M: I usually carry my Lady Dior, it has a very elegant and timeless look. Alternatively, I take out one of my Chanel bags. I have a two-tone Chanel Boy that has a great size for going out. If I only need to bring my lipstick and wallet, I opt for my Yves Saint Laurent clutch.

Do you prefer poppy colours compared to more subtle shades?

M: I do love bright colours for accessories, my favourite colour is red. One of my most-beloved bags is my Chanel Valentine’s edition flap bag with heart-shaped charms, it comes in a beautiful red tone. I also love bold pink bags, the Hermès colour Rose Tyrien for example. However, I think I need to invest more in neutral colours, especially when it comes to Hermès.

Luxury Bag Collection Red Valentine Edition Chanel Flap Bag

Heart skips a beat: Maria with her Chanel Valentine’s edition flap bag. Picture via @chamourlidoumaria

Collectors Report The Chanel Lucky Charms Limited Edition

Shop the look: This Chanel Timeless Medium is crafted from coral patent leather, and features dangling lucky charms. Available via SACLÀB

Do you prefer buying in-store or pre-loved? 

M: Admittedly, I prefer buying in store. However, I do own one very special vintage Chanel flap bag. I found it in a vintage store in Moscow, and instantly fell in love! The large 90s “CC” logo has this cool retro vibe, and the classic combination of black and gold makes it easy to style. For Hermès, I would consider buying pre-loved if I found a special order or limited edition bag in excellent condition, a Kelly Picnic for example.

Luxury Bag Collection Vintage Chanel Flap Bag

Maria with her vintage black lambskin Chanel flap bag. Picture via @chamourlidoumaria

Vintage Chanel Timeless Mini Caviar White Handbag

Shop the look: Get your own vintage Chanel rarity, and shop this whimsical Chanel Timeless Mini from 1993 via SACLÀB

Do you see your bag collection as an investment? 

M: Yes, definitely. I always think of future generations, of daughters and grandchildren who will continue to wear and love my luxury pieces. 

What is currently on your wishlist? 

M: I want to expand my Hermès collection. Right now, a Birkin 25 is on top of my wishlist, preferably in Bubblegum or Rose Azalee – it’s so graceful. Gold would also be amazing, but it’s a little harder to get.

Hermes Kelly 20 Epsom Rose Azalee Mini Lo

Rose Azalee, a saturated bright pink, on a Hermès Kelly Mini 20 in Epsom leather via SACLÀB

Looking for a special edition or all-time classic Hermès, Chanel, or Dior bag? Shop our selection or put it on your WISHLIST and we’ll hunt it down for you!


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