Even a person suffering from a bad case of ophidiophobia will not be able to resist this charm of the Serpenti Forever bag from Bvlgari. The fashion house, renowned for its understated elegance associated with the iconic snake design jewellery, debuted the first Serpenti bag in the 2012 Fall-Winter collection. The rest, as they say, is history. The beautifully crafted bag adorned with a hypnotic snakehead closure has firmly established its position as one of the highly coveted items in the fashion world. The mesmerising symbol of ancient wisdom and vitality embraced by Bvlgari continues to enchant us through the seasons, each year seducing with new colours and finishes of the latest Serpenti Forever bag collection. And long may it continue.

The Serpenti Forever bag has been on my radar for a while too.  I have always liked how the effortless sophistication conveyed by its classic shape never intended to compete with slouchy, relaxed styles dominating the bag world and, instead, standing out in its own right. What also attracted me to this design was its simple rigid structure livened up by subtle but daring contemporary accents such as the serpent clasp and the clean silhouette reminiscent of timeless chic associated with style icons such as Jackie O.  There are always occasions where minimalism is the right way forward and this is where the Serpenti Forever bag can really shine. And this is precisely why I decided to treat myself to one of these luxurious Bvlgari leather gems.

Uncertain whether this very classic style would be the right fit for me, it took me a little while before I finally commitment myself to buying the first Serpenti Forever bag. Now, retrospectively, I cannot understand what took me so long to make this decision. This is why I wanted to share this review with anyone thinking of adding this beautiful piece to their collection but still hesitant whether to succumb to the charm of the mesmerising serpent head.

Serpenti Forever bag worn over the shoulder with a full length strap


The Serpenti Forever bag never fails to add a touch of understated glamour to any outfit and for that I am a huge fan of this design.

The bag has a structured shape with minimalistic silhouette decorated only with overlapping layers of leather and a visible stitching pattern. The main contrasts to the relatively demure construction of the bag is the beautifully crafted snakehead clasp fastening in enamel finish with malachite or jade eyes and the stunning shoulder strap in gold patterned to emulate scales of snakeskin. The back of the bag is adorned with the Bvlgari logo in gold and additional overlapping layers of leather. The bottom of the bag is quite simple with no stud or additional protection other than the dyed piping.

The logo at the back of the bag
Close-up on the piping of Serpenti Forever bag

The Serpenti Forever bag has a lined interior with leather on the flap and the mixture of leather and fabric in the lining. There are three small internal pockets and a central compartment with a zip decorated with a snake head matching the one on the bag’s closure. The additional charming accent is the small Bvlgari mirror inserted into one of the internal slip pockets.

The dimensions of a medium size Serpenti Forever bag as shown in this review are 19cm x 28 cm x 7.5 cm. [Back to Menu]

View of the bag carried by top handles

How Practical is Serpenti Forever Bag?

When I bought the Serpenti Forever bag I had no illusions that it would ever become my “everyday bag” where I could stuff heaps of personal items. By opting for the medium version I set my expectations reasonably low realising I would be choosing style over functionality. Still, the medium bag seemed like a more rational choice than the smaller version (20cm x 15cm x 3,5cm) which could accommodate even fewer belongings.

With continuous use, it was interesting to discover that for a somewhat compact handbag, the medium Serpenti Forever bag actually offered quite adequate interiors. There was also the additional benefit of the central compartment being divided into multiple sections from where personal belongings could be easily retrieved. The fold-over design provided enough room to fit a small wallet or cardholder, a Tangle Teezer brush, iPhone 8, a hand cream, tissues, 30 mil bottle of perfume, a couple of lip glosses and a compact make-up. This was far more than I had bargained for!

However, the bag’s capacity to fit multiple items is just one aspect to bear in mind. While the seemingly sizable interiors may be desirable, the Serpenti Forever bag, when overfilled, assumes a slightly bulky appearance which in my view may affect its aesthetics. This may not be a major issue to some but, personally, I prefer the appearance of the bag with  slender silhouette and also find it easier to close the bag when it is not brim-full.

Fit test for Serpenti Forever bag
A fit test showing how many items can be contained inside a medium Serpenti Forever bag
A view from the side when the bag is full
A side view of the bag when full

Secondly, while there is a temptation to utilise the bag’s full capacity, any excessive weight may put pressure on its delicate metal strap. The leather used in the construction of the Serpenti Forever bag is already strong and sturdy which means that even without any contents the bag is not the lightest. Naturally, when filled, the bag will feel even heavier and will be putting additional strain on the chain. While I have not heard of any instances of the chain snapping, it is only sensible to exercise caution and limit contents to a reasonable amount. [Back to Menu]

Serpenti Forever nag held by top handles front view

How to Carry Serpenti Forever Bag?

The medium Serpenti Forever bag can be worn in multiple ways.  

When worn on the shoulder the handle allows for a 38cm drop aligning with the hip level (at least for someone who is 5 foot 5, like me 😊). The chain can also be doubled-up so its drop is shortened to 22 cm. If carried that way, the bag can be held by top handles, hanging on the forearm or sit on the shoulder reaching just below the waist level. 

Serpenti Forever bag with doubled-up chain carried over the shoulder

However, the medium Serpenti Forever bag is not suitable to be carried as a crossbody bag as the length of the chain is insufficient to allow that.  For anyone who likes to carry their bags in a crossbody fashion, there is a separate Serpenti Forever Crossbody option. [Back to Menu]

Image of Serpenti Forever bag held on the kneeheld

Is Serpenti Forever Bag Durable?

Before buying my first Serpenti Forever bag I read many reviews which bemoaned the delicate nature of its leather and how susceptible it was to scratches and marks. I bought this bag regardless of these comments and was very pleasantly surprised to find out that my experience with the calf leather could not be more different. In fact, I find the smooth, grain-free lather reasonably hard-wearing and, so far, I have observed no scratches at all. The only mark which has developed in my bag is a small indent just underneath the snakehead clasp caused by the upper part of the clip coming in contact with the leather. However, the indent is not visible until the flap is lifted and is overall very minor.

The durability of the leather used in the construction of the Serpenti Forever bag deserves a special mention in the context of its resilience to staining. On a recent night out a waiter in a restaurant dropped a bottle of red wine next to my table and some of it splashed over my pink bag. Imagine the horror! I was expecting that this would result in some irreparable damage to my bag. However, after wiping off the wine off I discovered that, miraculously, there was not one mark left, not one stain. After this incident I have began to love the Serpenti Forever bag even more!! 

While the leather is definitely the strong point of the bag, the one aspect which will require some attention is the metallic strap. As I have already mentioned in the earlier section, the delicate chain strap measuring only just under 5mm in diameter is clearly intended as a decorative item rather than for more supporting heavy load. This is why the longevity of the bag will be, to an extent, linked to the level of care granted to the beautifully detailed chain. In other words, taking precautions to ensure that it is not put under undue strain for extended periods of time should become a part of the care regime associated with this Bvlgari design. 

A further aspect of the bag which requires some attention is the bottom part. As the Serpenti Forever bag does not have any metal studs protecting its base, the structure is only supported by the piping on which the weight of the bag resting.

While in the case of my bag the piping is dyed black, the surrounding leather is in dusty pink colour and, I imagine that this light shade will be particularly exposed to dirt and staining with years of use, especially the corners. Even bags in darker colours will not be entirely impervious to discolouration and dirt in that area so it is always best to watch where the bag is placed, especially when going out.

Luckily, to assist with the upkeep of the Serpenti Forever bag, each piece is accompanied by a couple of Bvlgari cleaning wipes and a care booklet with some ideas on how to look after this luxury leather item.

Picture of the contents of the Serpenti Forever bag
This photo shows contents of Serpenti Forever bag i.e. the care booklet, the raincoat, cleaning wipes, the mirror and the certificate of authenticity

There is also a very cute raincoat to protect the bag from damage to leather and discolouration caused by rain, conceptually similar to the raincoat found in Hermes Birkin bags. [Back to Menu]

View of the bag from the side with the full length chain

Good Investment?

Serpenti Forever bag may be an occasion accessory rather than an everyday, practical item but the fact that its usability is confined to special events should not undermine its intrinsic value. Whether you are into classic designs or prefer more edgy styles, it is hard to deny the aesthetic appeal of this stunning bag and its effortless elegance. The Serpenti Forever bag is a thing of beauty rather than a functional object and it is only fair to consider it exclusively in this category.

Anyone who prioritises convenience and usefulness over style may not view the Serpent Forever bag through the same prism in the context of value. For a bag retailing just above the £2,000 mark (as of 2019, medium size) which is going to come out of a box only sporadically this Bvlgari design may seem like a slight overindulgence. However, for anyone who is looking for a luxury item with a touch of the classic charm I could not recommend it enough.

For those who like savings, the great news that this arm candy can be bought at 20% discount in the Bvlgari boutiques at the Heathrow airport in the UK. And when we are talking about accessories in that price bracket, 20% can make lot of difference. Overall verdict: Opulent treat [Back to Menu]

Photos by Badiu Photography and Unwrapped.Fashion

© Copyright Unwrapped.Fashion (2019) All Rights Reserved