For my latest unboxing video, I showed a few smaller Spring/Summer 2021 items with some suggested uses. By far, I have gotten the most inquiries on a SLG (small leather good) I showed which is new for the season: the Calvi Duo, the latest iteration of the very useful (if perhaps unexciting) Calvi card holder. So, by request, here is my review for the new Calvi Duo.
Believe it or not, I am not into excessive purchases, especially when it comes to SLGs. I have a tendency to purchase one item (say, a wallet), wear it to death, and then replace it. I find this way I really use what I have, and “save” my money for the pieces I have much less self-control over (scarves, scarves and more scarves). I do love the SLGs, though, and the many “rainbow of colors in my bag” SLG thread on PurseForum has been very tempting over the years.
When I started buying Hermès leather goods about 15 years ago, it was easier to keep it simple. For one thing, my first bag was a 30cm Birkin in Raisin, and I reaaaaaallly stuffed it. Not only did I use a full-sized Kelly wallet (in Rouge Garrance, a very true red), but I think I tried to carry my old school iPad in there too (this is why you all can learn from my mistakes!). My second bag, in Rouge H Clemence, was a 35cm Birkin, with plenty of room for everything, including a Constance wallet (come to think of it, my arms were looking pretty toned back then ;). Eventually, however, my children grew, and I didn’t need to carry nearly as much, so I downsized my bags to 25/28cms and along with that I downsized my wallet, too.
The first compact wallet I purchased was a small Silk’In. Silk lining?? And it’s so small! I’ll never forget the word of a kind stranger in the boutique who commented on my dilemma: “Get it. You will not regret it.”
I got it. I did not regret it. For years I really used it and enjoyed it, and it held up well (by the way, I was surprised to discover that the silk lining held up better than the leather exterior) and, yeah, when the Epsom leather relaxed a little, the Silk’In became a bit like Mary Poppins’ carpet bag to me: it fit everything I needed, and more! I really used and abused the little wallet (pro tip which will probably help maybe three people: if you want to preserve the life of your SLGs, never take them into a hot yoga class, even inside a larger pouch. Over time, the heat seems to have a deleterious effect which just appears to hasten wear), and it fit everywhere, including my incredibly shrinking bag collection.
Eventually it was time to replace the Silk’In (it’s not really bad, it could just use a little cleaning). At the time I was using my 25cm Birkins quite frequently and I was expecting to add a Mini Kelly to my collection soon. I had purchased a Calvi and a Bastia years earlier but had only used the Bastia, mostly for small things I need to carry around – guitar picks, small scarf rings, and a paper clip to pop out my semi-broken iPad’s SIM card when needed – as I don’t tend to carry coins (another pro tip: if you want to preserve the life of your SLGs do not use the coin section for coins, as that definitely hastens wear. This is why Hermès makes a variety of coin purses). At that point I decided to condense what I carried in my Silk’In to the cards I could fit into the Calvi. It seemed to work well for me, as I like to keep things simple when changing bags, and the Calvi fits the Mini Kelly perfectly with room to spare. Eventually, though, I did need to add a second Calvi for cash.
I was intrigued when I saw the new Calvi Duo: it is essentially Calvi 2.0, the two sides of a Calvi with an additional snap section added inside. It almost looks to me like a Calvi/Bastia mashup. Would it have the best of both worlds?
I am pleased to say that, as with many of their SLGs, the Calvi Duo is another exercise in extremely effective simplicity. It is priced at $465 USD for Epsom (compared with $340 for an Epsom Calvi), and it is indeed a Calvi + Bastia, and can easily fit the contents of both (or two Calvis). The Calvi Duo is just slightly larger than the Calvi, making it easier to carry cash in it, although you do lose a little storage space on the second side due to the bulk of the snap flap, so if you’re used to filling your Calvi to the brim with cards you won’t get quite that much in (although cards also do fit into the snap section). When it comes down to it, I have found that the Calvi Duo will hold about the same amount as a Calvi and a Bastia, plus cash or a few more cards. It will fit inside my Mini Kelly, although when closed it is a little bulkier than a regular Calvi.
Some comparison photos: