I remember that when I bought my first Gucci bag around 2005, I was absolutely mesmerised by the interlocking GG logo canvas and bamboo detailing characteristic of brand. This started my obsession with Gucci accessories, both shoes and bags, and led to many happy purchases. However, after a few years of this love affair I started exploring other brands, fell in love with Chanel, and got off Gucci bags for quite a while. Even though I bought one or two designs, I could not get excited about their styles anymore. It felt that the fashion house desperately needed a breath of fresh air of creativity and a new vision. It was not until when the GG Marmont line was introduced by the current creative genius, Alessandro Michele, that I finally rediscovered enthusiasm for Gucci bags.

I have never been a crossbody bag girl and always preferred larger styles but everything changed since I treated myself to the first Gucci Marmont bag and realised how usable they could be. What prompted the purchase was the need for a small, not too flashy, smart casual bag which I could take on my travels and which could transition easily between daytime and evening looks. Gucci Marmont bag could not be more perfect in that respect. When in the store, I spent ages humming and hawing over whether to choose the GG Marmont Small Matelassé Shoulder Bag i.e. the “camera” version or the GG Marmont Small Shoulder Bag i.e. the “flap bag”, ultimately opting for the latter in white colour. Encouraged and amazed by how much use I got out of the flap bag, I soon followed with the camera bag in dusty pink leather because I really liked the colour and its casual style.

In this review, I wanted to compare two Gucci Marmont styles, namely the small flap Gucci Marmont bag and the camera bag, and shed some light on the subtle differences between these two designs. Because the formal naming convention for these bags is quite similar, throughout this review will be referring to the GG Marmont Small Shoulder Bag as the “flap bag” and to the GG Marmont Small Matelassé Shoulder Bag as the “camera bag”.

Gucci Marmont bag worn crossbody

Aesthetics

The flap and the camera Gucci Marmont bags come in different sizes but the ones I want to put in the spotlight in this review are the small versions of both.

Starting with similarities of the two designs, both are made in matelassé (read: mat-lah-say) i.e. quilted chevron leather with antique gold-toned double G hardware. Each has a shoulder strap consisting of part chain, part leather and a structured, soft silhouette. Both bags have a flat base with no studs. The interior is lined with microfibre which resembles suede.

The sizing of each of the bag is quite similar too, although not quite identical. The flap version is marginally larger, measuring 26cm across and 15cm in height with the depth of 7cm. The camera bag is 24cm wide and 13cm high with the depth of 7cm.

Comparison of front styles

The differences between these two lovely bags are quite subtle too which makes the choice quite difficult. The main contrast lies in the closure system with the flap bag being fastened with a spring lock whereas the camera bag has a zip with a leather strap for the ease of use.

The second main distinction is the part-leather, part-chain strap. In the GG camera bag the strap is firmly attached to the bag by means of hoops affixed at each side of the zip and its length can be adjusted to suit individual taste. The original drop of the strap is 60cm but this can be increased or shortened by moving the metal stud linked to the strap closure system through one of five available holes.

zip top strap

There is no similar option of lengthening the strap in the flap version of the Gucci Marmont bag, where the drop is fixed at about 55cm. However, because the strap in the flap bag is looped through round openings in the top of the flap, it slides permitting the chain to be doubled-up and worn as a top handle with a drop of approximately 30cm.

Strap of the GG flap

There also some additional stylistic contrasts such as the structure of the flap Gucci Marmont bag is more rectangular whereas the camera bag has more rounded corners and therefore softer silhouette. The design of the back of each bag is also different with the Gucci Marmont camera bag featuring the GG logo incorporated into the quilting while the flap bag has a heart shape motif.

The back motif comparison in GG zip top and flap

The final dissimilarity can be found in the interior of each bag. In the Gucci Marmont flap bag the interior pocket is larger, 20 cm wide, and has a zipper whereas in the camera bag the pocket is only 15 cm wide and has no closure mechanism. [Back to Menu]

Gucci Marmont bag worn over shoulder

Can I match my Gucci Marmont bag with Princetown mules?

For anyone thinking of matching the Gucci Marmont bag with a pair of Gucci Princetown mules it is worth noting that while the shades of equivalent colours are similar, they are not always identical. Of course, if you opt for the black version of the bag and black Princetowns they will be a match made in heaven. However, when it comes to the whites and the beige tones, things are not as straightforward. The white leather used in the construction of Princetown mules is actually lighter than the leather of Gucci Marmont bags and has a more matte finish. The shade of the white matelassé leather has a marginally more pearlescent appearance when viewed in the daylight and the colour has the tiniest amount of pink finish when compared with the mules. However, the two are very close and should not clash.

comparison of white hues

The contrast between the brown leather used in the Princetown mules and the dusty pink of the Gucci Marmont bag is more pronounced but, again, not too far off. While the matelassé leather used in the GG bag is mostly brown with pink undertones, the shade of brown leather of the Princetown mules is more neutral and closer to beige than pink.

comparison of brown hues

The colour of the mules is relatively close to Hermes Etoupe leather. But overall, while perceptibly different when viewed side by side, they can be blended together. [Back to Menu]

Flap Gucci Marmont bag held by hand

Durability

The big draw of Gucci Marmont bags is, in my opinion, their durability. The deceptively soft leather used in their construction is hard-wearing which means that the bags are very resilient to scratches and marks and thus will serve a very long time. Even the light shades are resistant to discolouration, and while my white GG Marmont flap bag has been put through very extensive use so far, the exterior shows absolutely no signs of wear and tear which is quite astounding.

Aside from the seemingly indestructible leather, the other aspect of Gucci Marmont bags which deserves recognition is the metalware. Due to its semi-matte antique finish, the chain and the GG hardware are unaffected by fingerprints and do not require regular buffering, as it may be the case with polished metal equivalents. The finish of the metal also makes it resistant to scratching and marks. I particularly like the fact that the shade of the metal is quite subdued, I would call it “dirty gold”, so it is not too loud or ostentatious and compliments the colour of the bag without standing out too much.

Naturally, there are certain aspects of Gucci Marmont bags that will require a greater level of care and upkeep. For instance, because the bags do not have base-protecting studs, the leather at the bottom is more exposed to dirt and will be the first to show any signs of use. The lack of studs also means that the bags do not easily stand upright and, as such, will often be “falling over” to rest on the back or the front. Thus, when using a GG Marmont bag it is important to check the surface where the bag is placed, something that took me a while to get used to.

base comparison

With regard to the specific signs of wear and tear that I have noticed in my own Gucci Marmont bags, these are related to the way I have been using them. Because I have put my Marmonts though quite grueling travel schedule, they have been spending a lot of time flattened and squashed inside of luggage. Extraordinarily, this only resulted in a few, barely perceptible crease marks in leather at the front of the Gucci Marmont camera bag but had no effect on its shape at all. The GG flap bag put through the same torturous journey, has not developed any creases at all, although silhouette has lost and a bit of its strict rectangular shape and became slightly flattened. This was by no means the end of the world and could be easily rectified by filling the bag with some paper to help it regain it original form. But overall, the advice for anyone planning to take their Gucci Marmont bags on a trip, it is always worth filling them with paper, so they are protected from being squashed and misshapen inside travel luggage.

The final point concerns the longevity of the interior. Because the suede-like microfibre used in Gucci Marmont bags (at least the ones I own) is in light beige colour, inadvertently it will be exposed to staining. Unlike regular leather, this material cannot be easily wiped clean and it will quickly absorb marks caused by leaking lip glosses and make-up, as it has been the case with my bags. Hence to anyone wishing to preserve the interiors and keep them pristine condition, I would strongly recommend using a bag liner to protect the light-coloured insides of Gucci Marmont bags. I wish I followed my own advice in that respect when I first got the bags!  [Back to Menu]

Zip top Gucci Marmont bag worn over shoulder

How to care for Gucci Marmont bag?

Gucci Marmont bag does not require a particularly onerous care regime but some common sense rules still apply. This includes keeping the bag away from water and excessive heat to prevent damage to the leather, and to avoid prolonged exposure to direct sunlight to prevent discolouration. To preserve the good looks of this arm candy, Gucci recommend cleaning it with dry, soft cloths. GG Marmonts also come in suede finish so of course the care regime will be more demanding there.

I have already explained earlier the importance of filling your Gucci Marmont bag with paper or plastic when not in use to ensure that they do not lose their shape. Paper filling is also a good method for absorbing humidity and moisture. Storing the bag in the provided flannel pouch will be a useful added measure protecting it from dust and discolouration.

While Gucci Marmont bags are strong and durable, it goes without saying that they should not be filled with overly heavy items which will put pressure on the strap and contribute to the misshaping of leather. Luckily, due to the size of the small Marmont bags, there is only a limited scope for excessive weight to be an issue. [Back to Menu]

Flap Gucci Marmont bag worn over the shoulder

Functionality of Gucci Marmont bag

Functionality is definitely a strong point of Gucci Mamont designs. Both the small flap and the camera bag are highly practical and usable, and in that respect there is not much difference between them. In the flap version, the closure mechanism is easy to operate by pressing and releasing the spring lock hidden under the “nose” of the flap. In the Gucci Marmont camera bag, the contents can be accessed and by opening the zipper which requires no effort.

From the point of view of keeping the contents secure, the flap Gucci Marmont bag has a small edge over the camera version. Firstly, the inner pocket in the flap bag has a zipper and is large enough to accommodate iPhone 8. The  Marmont camera bag has only an open internal pocket, too small for an iPhone, and there is no separate compartment where valuables can be kept safe. For moments when the bag is left unlocked, which happen occasionally to anyone, the flap version of a Gucci Marmont bag is bit better because even when the closure remains unfastened the front flap is still covering the contents. If the camera bag is left opened, it is easier for an opportunistic person to access its contents, especially when the bag is worn crossbody sitting at the back, as there is no additional protection mechanism.

For a small bag, both styles are surprisingly roomy, able to accommodate a mini wallet or a cardholder, 30mil bottle of perfume, a brush, tissues, a lip gloss or lipstick and a compact makeup for touch-ups. I am definitely a large bag person but Gucci Marmonts have surpassed my expectations regarding what can actually be contained in a small bag.

In terms of suitability for different occasions, the flap Gucci Marmont bag has a slight advantage, again. Because of the option to double up the sliding chain strap to reduce its drop to around 33cm, the bag can be worn on the arm or over the shoulder and be perfectly appropriate for occasions where elegance is required. Conversely, it can also be worn crossbody or on the shoulder with the longer, 55 cm drop for the more casual look. The Gucci Marmont camera bag can only be worn cross body or hanging over the shoulder with the 60cm drop, therefore it conveys a more relaxed look and will be less fitting for moments where more sophisticated style is required although it can definitely be dressed up for the smart casual look. [Back to Menu]

Zip top GG bag worn over the shoulder

Good investment?

It is very hard not to fall in love with Gucci Marmont bags. Whether you choose the flap version or opt for the more casual, camera bag, it is almost guaranteed that the bag will soon become one of the favourite go-to styles because of its practicality and versatility. The bags really took me by surprise because I was expecting a design which would come out of the box only sporadically but, instead, I ended up with a highly usable item perfect for moments where a compact, no-fuss bag which can accommodate a reasonable amount of personal items is needed.  The extra perk of Gucci Marmont bags is of course their durability factor and the resistance of the matelassé leather to wear and tear. As such, I view both the Gucci Marmont camera bag and the flap bag as a great value for money.

One additional aspect worth exploring is the price point. A small Gucci Marmont bag is by no means cheap however the price point is far more affordable than that of cross body equivalents from other fashion houses, e.g. Chanel or Louis Vuitton.  A small flap Gucci Marmont bag in white matelassé leather, like the one shown in this review, is currently available in the UK for £1,510. Other variations can be more or less expensive depending on style, size and finish e.g. the velvet version of the small Gucci Marmont bag this year retails for £1,330 (prices as of 2020). In contrast, the zip top version of the Gucci Marmont camera bag shown in this review can be purchased for £885 and, let’s face it, a good designer bag under £1,000 is a steal. For anyone who loves to bag a bargain, the exciting news is that a wide selection of Gucci Marmont bags is available from Gucci stores in the Heathrow airport but with the delicious 20% discount. What is not to like? Overall verdict: Most wanted!  [Back to Menu]

Photos by Badiu Photography and Unwrapped

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