In-Depth Review of the Givenchy Antigona
I was first drawn to the Givenchy Antigona for its minimalistic yet unique design, quality craftsmanship and its versatility. The bag balances both the masculine and feminine - featuring oversized hardware complemented by an elegant simplistic design. The Givenchy Antigona's simplicity allows it to be paired with a wide range of outfits, while the modern trapezoid shape gives an edgy vibe to your every day wardrobe.
The Antigona comes in a wide range of sizes, colors and materials, which makes it difficult to decide what to get. I spent almost a year trying to decide if this bag would be a worthwhile investment and finally purchased the small Givenchy Antigona with smooth black leather in 2016. This review will focus on sharing my decision making process and my experience in owning the bag, to help you form your own opinion.
Givenchy Antigona - The Brand & Design
Givenchy Antigona Small in Black Smooth Calfskin
*prices mentioned in this post are pre-tax and based on when the post was published
THE BRAND - Founded in Paris at the beginning of the 1950s by Hubert de Givenchy, Givenchy is an international luxury fashion, beauty and perfume brand, currently owned by the LVMH conglomerate. Known for its sophisticated elegant design aesthetic, Givenchy designed the iconic little black dress worn by Audrey Hepburn in the opening credits of Breakfast at Tiffany's. The brand's most recent prominent design was Meghan Markle's wedding gown for her marriage to Prince Harry, designed by the house's first female artistic director, Clare Waight Keller.
THE BAG - First released in 2011, the Givenchy Antigona became one of the brands most iconic styles, renowned for its unique trapezoid design. It can be held in the crook of the arm by the rolled leather top handles or worn over the shoulder with a flat removable strap to free your hands. Made in Italy, the bag is made of thick leather and has a luxurious weight to it. The bag is designed to reduce wear and tear in some of the most common areas of the bag and features two leather feet, accented by an oversized silver-tone zipper and strap hinges. The interior is lined with cotton with one large zipped pocket on one side and two small elastic pockets on the other side to fit small essentials. The interior is spacious due to the bag's trapezoid structure, with a larger bottom and tapered top.
NOTE: Older versions of the Antigona did not have detachable straps, have different length straps and may have other differences. Please keep this in mind if you plan to purchase the Antigona from resale websites.
Which Size? - Mini, Small or Medium
The Givenchy Antigona comes in three sizes: mini, small, and medium. When deciding on what size best suits your lifestyle, it's important to keep in mind how you see yourself using the Antigona. I was looking for a stylish day-to-day bag that could fit my essentials such as a sweater, umbrella and water bottle that was not too large. I struggled the most deciding between the small and medium sizes. I purchased the Antigona in small as it was perfectly proportional to my 5' 7" frame and could fit anything I would want when I go out. The primary reason I didn't get the Givenchy Antigona in medium was because I have the Louis Vuitton Neverfull PM tote that could fit my laptop for work purposes. If you plan to purchase the Antigona for work or travel to hold your laptop, I would strongly suggest getting the medium instead.
Mini - $1,750 USD
- 7.7H x 8.7W x 5.3D"
- Spacious enough to fit your wallet, phone, lipstick, compact and a mini water bottle
- Less likely to scratch due to its size, as it will be less prone to bumping into other objects
- Has a longer strap than the other sizes and can be worn as crossbody
Small - $2,280 USD
- 9.5H x 11W x 6.5D"
- Fits umbrella, iPad, water bottle, and clothing (cannot fit laptops > 12")
- Perfect size for carry-on
- Ideal for those who like to pack for any occasion (travel, work, casual)
Medium - $2,435 USD
- 11.4H x 13.4W x 7.5D"
- Perfect for those who love to carry everything in their bag, including most laptops
- The bag's weight can be considered heavy for those who are used to lightweight tote bags
Which Texture? - Smooth vs Sugar leather
The Givenchy Antigona is available in a wide range of colors and materials. Though the Antigona is available with unique materials such as croccodile and suede, my main decision was between the calfskin leather (a hard beautiful glossy finish) and goatskin (a soft textured pebbled finish). I fell in love with the glossy look of the calfskin, which accentuates the geometric shape of the bag. My biggest worry with the calfskin was that overtime the scratches would be more noticeable on its smooth surface. However, after two years of regular use, I have not seen any scratches on the surface, even though I have not been particularly careful with the bag. To help you with your decision, I've summarized the positives of both the glossy and pebbled finishes.
GLOSSY ("Smooth" Calfskin)
- glossy shiny surface that stands out and accentuates the geometric angles of the bag
- does not wear and tear as easily as other smooth leather bags due to its craftmanship
PEBBLED ("Sugar" Goatskin)
- less notable scratches or fingerprints
- soft material that is less hard and structured than the calfskin
Which color Givenchy Antigona should I get?
The Givenchy Antigona comes in a variety of colors and patterns. White or light colored bags can stain if you wear it with denim, are more prone to discolouration over time and will make any scratches on the surface more noticeable. Colors such as white and light pink in the sugar texture are even harder to maintain, as the grooves in the leather texture are more difficult to clean. In comparison, the darker colors in smooth leather show more fingerprints on the glossy surface. If you are more carefree with your bag but still prefer a lighter colour, I would suggest purchasing the Givenchy Antigona in a light grey or beige, which masks the bag turning darker over time. The reason I purchased the black Givenchy Antigona was because I'm not a perfectionist when it comes to taking care of my items and I wanted to make it easier to maintain it for reselling in the future.
Should I purchase the Givenchy Antigona as used or new?
Depending on how you want to incorporate this into your wardrobe, and what your budget is, purchasing a used Antigona can certainly be a great option for you. The Givenchy Antigona is often purchased to be worn on a daily basis for work, and if you plan to do so, my personal preference would be to purchase it new so I can control how the bag is worn overtime and maintain it well so I can resell it in the future. It is also easier to purchase unique colors and patterns when you purchase directly from the retailer, as it is less common those will appear on luxury resale websites. However, if you're on a budget and you're not particular about maintaining your bag, there are many resale websites that you can purchase a used Antigona in popular colours such as black, beige and grey. Keep in mind some of the pre-owned Antigona bags can be misshapen and have less structure to them if they were not properly taken care of. I typically would recommend getting a used Givenchy Antigona in sugar goatskin leather instead of smooth calfskin leather because the scratches would be less visible on a pebbled surface. Keep in mind the release date of the Givenchy Antigona you're purchasing, as earlier versions may not have detachable shoulder straps and have other differences to the most current versions.
How do you maintain the Givenchy Antigona?
For day to day maintenance, I keep it in the cloth bag it came with and wipe down the exterior with a lens cloth after several uses. I clean the interior with a damp cotton cloth on a monthly basis and let dry before putting it away. Be mindful to keep it out of the rain, but if you can't avoid it, make sure to dry it off as soon as possible with a very soft cotton cloth to prevent discolouration and staining. Store the bag out of the sunlight with the strap taken off and rolled up in the bag to prevent kinks in the strap. Ensure you let the leather breathe by leaving it in a well ventilated area.
My Final Thoughts
- A unique standout bag that is very versatile
- The handles and straps are designed to hold heavy contents without tearing
- Sturdy oversized zipper for ease of use and minimal wear & tear
- Spacious interior and easy to clean open compartment
- Heavier compared to other bags of similar sizes
- Smooth calfskin can be prone to scratch marks
- Top handles are stiff and can't be pushed down if you're trying to store the bag in small spaces
Giselle's Rating - 18.5 out of 20
As with most luxury purchases, I would recommend you take your time and go into a store that retails these bags to get a feel of the materials, colors and sizes before you invest your money. In my opinion, it is one of my most used pieces and I absolutely would purchase the Givenchy Antigona Small in Black Smooth Calfskin leather again. To help give a sense of the criteria I use to review and decide on my luxury bags, I've included details behind my overall rating:
Versatility (4.5/5) One point each for the ability to pair with work, formal, casual, vacation and workout styles
I enjoy styling the Antigona with most of my day to day outfits, ranging from work to the weekend and even when I go to the gym. I find it a bit more difficult to wear this bag to formal red carpet events and in those instances, I would prefer to wear a clutch instead.
Quality (5/5) One point each for durability, stitching, construction, structure and longevity
I've found the bag's smooth calfskin leather is quite durable and after almost two years of regular use, my bag has kept its shape overtime with minimal scratches to the smooth leather. Heavy duty yet chic, the Antigona is beautifully crafted to sustain its shape overtime.
Design & Value(4.5/5) One point each for the bag's uniqueness and timelessness, popularity and two points for resale value
The Antigona's trapezoid shape is a timeless signature look that stands out amongst other luxury designer bags that you would instantly recognize as Givenchy. Very popular at the height of its release, the Givenchy Antigona is still considered a top pick as a designer investment. Based on a scan of popular luxury resale sites such as Vestiare Collective, my small Givenchy Antigona in smooth black leather purchased in 2016 currently resales at approximately 60-70% of retail price.
Functionality (4.5/5) One point for ways to wear, number of compartments, ease of access, maintenance, storage
With the exception of a laptop, I can rely on the small Antigona to fit all my essentials. It has a spacious interior and enough compartments to keep my bag organized. The interior is easy to access and does not require excessive maintenance. I love being able to switch up the look by wearing it over the shoulder or in the crook of my arm. Be careful when storing the bag, as I've found that the two stiff handles cannot fold down to fit in small spaces.
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