Review: Louis Vuitton’s Neo Noé
There’s something about Louis Vuitton’s monogram canvas that sets my heart aflutter. Touching the bumpy surface of their signature material always takes me to a world of luxury, and before long I start dreaming of boarding a private jet and holidaying in the Maldives (keep dreaming woman).
The Neo Noé is no exception, and at £930, it’s one of their more reasonably priced bags. Released in early 2017, it comes in pink, red or black. A burnt yellow version was also released more recently. I opted for the red because I think it complements the monogram pattern perfectly, but the pink is also pretty adorable.
The traditional Noé was introduced in 1932 after a champagne house asked the brand to invent a bag that would hold their bottles. The Neo Noé is a modern update of the original, and I think it’s been done subtly yet beautifully.
The main change is that there’s no vachetta on the trim, sides or base. While this may compromise on the strength of the base (depending on how much you put in it), it makes the new version a lot lighter. This is a big plus for me – as much as I love high-end bags, I’m not going to sacrifice comfort in an attempt to look good.
The hardware on the strap also has removable hinges. I don’t know why this is an option because there’s no way of carrying the bag without the strap, so perhaps it’s just a stylistic feature. Either way, it’s a refreshing twist on the original.
The calf leather strap is adjustable, so you can wear it on the shoulder. Or you can extend it and wear it cross-body. This is another win. It might just be me, but a bag you can wear two ways is like having two bags. Ok it’s probably just me.
Like the original, it closes with a drawstring. Initially I was worried about security and I wondered how easily it could open up. But surprisingly, it takes some effort to open and the drawstring manages to tighten up very well without coming undone.
Inside it’s lined with what LV call a ‘bonded microfibre’ interior in the same colour as the calf leather. It’s beautifully soft to the touch and gives the bag an extra luxurious feel. The inside is divided into two parts, separated in the middle by a monogram canvas pocket with a zip.
And you can fit so much inside. It’s like a tardis! It’s excellent for on-the-go mums that need to stash baby wipes, tissues and extra nappies – as well as the usual bag contents. And it’s wide enough for a tablet, extra clothes or an A5 notebook. Anything that manages to make us look stylish while carrying less-than-stylish things is another big plus.
Now for the downsides. I really like this piece but like every bag, there’s almost always room for improvement. Because the monogram canvas is no longer reinforced with vachetta trim, it feels thinner than the original. As it’s not as structured, I worry that it will wear more quickly – but only time will tell.
Another con is the length of the strap as a cross-body bag. I’m 5’8″ and the base sits on my hip. For more petite women, it may sit too low on the body. Unfortunately, the strap is only adjustable to two lengths, so this could be an issue.
(Put a succulent in your bag at your own risk.)
Lastly is the strap itself. On the original, it’s crafted from a thick strip of vachetta and stitched on the sides. Vachetta comes from the bull’s shoulder, meaning that it’s strong and hardwearing. On the Neo, it’s made from calf leather. Unfortunately, the quality feels compromised because it’s thinner and not reinforced with stitching. With this in mind, I’m concerned that it will stretch and warp over time as it holds the weight of the bag.
That said, I’m not usually a massive fan of bucket bags but this one has won me over. As with nearly all LV pieces, you can dress it up or down and it won’t look out of place. The colourful trim refreshes the bag and is subtle enough not to cheapen the look of it. It’s the perfect mix of practical and stylish, and an excellent choice for anyone on the move.
Are you thinking of getting the Neo Noé or do you already have one? Let me know below!