Even if you’re not a Sex and the City fan, you probably remember the intro: Carrie, clad in a tutu, is walking along a Manhattan street when she’s sprayed by puddle water by a bus with her own photo emblazoned on the side. I wasn’t wearing a tutu and the bus didn’t bear my image, but the same thing happened to me and my Mansur Gavriel Bucket Bag a couple of weeks ago.

Getting sprayed by a bus is a New York City rite of passage that I had somehow managed to avoid for more than three years, but when it came for me, it did not miss. Usually, bus sprayings happen during or directly after rain, which means that the water, although not what anyone might describe as “clean,” has at least not been sitting around in the summer sun, becoming fetid for days on end.


Suffice it to say that it hadn’t rained recently when I got hit with the stuff of brown puddle nightmares, but thankfully, I was only a block from the office and could run back to clean myself up. As you can see from the photo above (on the left – on the right, you can see my bag in better days), my Mansur Gavriel bucket took the brunt of the assault, by virtue of hanging off the shoulder than was facing the street.

Despite my well-documented penchant for destroying everything in my wake, I had never before had one of those awful handbag emergencies that generally occur when a colored liquid and an expensive piece of leather collide. Absent any better ideas and in a bit of a time crunch, I wiped the bag down with a damp cloth (and later, an antibacterial wipe), which thankfully took care of most of the surface evidence that you can see above.

The bag still looked a little dingy, though, and I thought about retiring it for good until last week, when I was caught in a downpour without an umbrella while trying to sprint from the subway to a friend’s birthday dinner. (Side note: it’s hard to sprint in wet Birkenstocks.) Although I had assumed that after that soaking, the bag was truly done, it dried and looked just like it had before the bus splash. The poor little bag just keeps chugging along, against all odds.

I know that more of a few of you will be able to commiserate with watching your favorite bag be struck down, if only temporarily. Share your tales of handbag destruction (and hopefully, redemption) in the comments below.

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  • Sandy

    It is my opinion that a designer should take into consideration when producing and marketing a bag that they are selling them to women with real lives…and anything can happen. The bags should have the ability to withstand everyday events like rain or brown puddle sludge.

    • Emily

      Agreed! I have been seriously contemplating a Mansur Gavriel bucket bag, but this story makes me wary of buying one. It’s just rainwater; that shouldn’t be a bag’s death sentence.

      • But this story has a happy ending! The bag’s totally fine, I’m carrying it today. It withstood it like a champ.

      • Emily

        Oh, good; very poor reading comprehension on my part! I’ll go back to stalking the pre-sales.

    • Michelle Lim

      That’s the one wish I’ll tell my fairy godmother/genie in a bottle!! Givenchy, and Bottega Venetta ranks the highest in my “carry only when it’s dry” labels.

    • michelleobetts

      Jacqueline implied I’m taken by surprise that a mom can earn $8130 in 1 month
      on the computer . see post F­i­s­c­a­l­p­o­s­t­.­C­O­M­

  • renyoj

    I took my vintage suede Ferragamo to a movie and hung it from the arm of the chair, since I assumed the floor was dirty. The movie was packed and the guy next to me put his soda in the cup holder. I didn’t think anything of it, but apparently there was a leak in the cup and my purse was covered in soda by the end of the movie. I was heartbroken.

    • Elisa

      Same thing happened to me but it was ice tea and I haven’t parted with the bag, it’s been 20 years. I consider it part of the bag’s patina :)

  • TC1

    I had set my LV Neverfull in the passenger seat of my car, *just* as I slammed the door, it tipped over and the handle was caught in the door, it ripped a fair chunk of the vachetta handle…I had to send it to LV for a replacement handle.

  • JDWShopper

    I purchased a Chloe Marcie satchel in the ash color (greyish/taupe) for my 45th birthday. I always kept it in the storage bag when it wasn’t in use. I had the leather conditioned, etc. It was beautiful. I made the mistake of using the bag on a day that I went to the nail salon. I accidentally dropped a bottle of red polish as I was getting situated. The bottle broke and red polish splattered all over the bag (on the handle, the body of the bag, the metal, etc.) I cried for days. I called the Chloe store and the salesperson gasped and said she doubted that I could get the polish off. I took the bag to my regular shoe repair. It took about two weeks, but he was able to restore the bag. It looks good as new. I am forever grateful to him.

    • RubyS

      I had this exact thing happen too, with a Chanel deep purple patent large mademoiselle bag. Only the salon owner dropped matte grey nail polish and the bag was destroyed, no possibility of repair given the patent. The bag had splatter everywhere including imbedded throughout the chain strap. The salon’s insurance company paid me out for it but I could never find the same bag again anywhere. ????

  • Leda

    I never ever had any of these problems with my bags

  • HfromT

    First of all Amanda, your story had me howling out loud over “the stuff of brown puddle nightmares” line!!! I am happy to hear your Mansur Gavriel bucket bag lived to tell the tale (just got one myself last week when they opened their ecommerce site, and was wondering how it would hold up against water). I’ve had a waiter drop water into one of my favorite bags as it was sitting on the floor under my chair at a restaurant (I know…never a good idea), and since then, I’ve carefully picked my bags according to what I have planned that day. That approach doesn’t cover me for surprise attacks by brown sludge, but at least it protects my best bags from harm.

  • Karen

    I left my brand new WHITE Louis Vuitton Capucines bag in the back seat with my 5 year old niece. When I thought she was looking for candy in my purse it turns out she was drawing all over the front of the bag in my BRIGHT RED LIPSTICK!!! After many-a Lysol wipe I finally got most of it off, but let’s just say my niece isn’t allowed to go through my purses anymore…

    • Mya Wilkes

      OMG!!! I would literally die!!!! And that bag is expensive as hell.

  • anon

    the roof of our home blew off during a particularly bad storm. All bags and shoes were drenched. likely most were in boxes and were protected from the worst of it but my precious Dior City Pearl bag was destroyed beyond recognition, there was so much water it actually changed colour from black to a gray ombre colour. I gave it away …

  • John

    While attending mass at church, I safely placed my bag behind me to avoid dripping any candle wax from
    the candle I was holding. After an hour, I looked over my shoulder and to my horror, the person behind me had dripped wax from his candle on my Bottega! I removed the hardened wax but the stains were done. :-( Luckily it hit the sides of the bag only.

  • Nancy

    I went to dinner at a very upscale wine bar/restaurant. They were kind to provide purse hangers right under the bar where we were doing a tasting. I never put my bags on the floor, so I put my nice bag on the hook, only to have the waiter spill a full plate of food straight into my bag. I still carried the bag, but I always had that bad memory even though the bag was not damaged on the outside.

  • D

    After a long night out I came back home and put my vernis LV on its usual place without looking ( which is it’s dust bag, but instead of putting it inside I just placed it on top of it) …I didn’t use it for more than a week after that night. When I finally got it out…it had black stains on the front flap!!! ( the bag is light blue ). Apparently, I put my other black leather mini bag there and forgot about it…my LV was a present from my husband…you can guess that he was very disappointed :(

  • FashionableLena

    I has a white Coach bag made of fabric. It wasn’t the logo jacquard. It was a different fabrication and devoid of logos. Pristine. Well, my son dropped ketchup all over it. My husband went to the convenience store next door and bought a Tide-to-Go stick. Got most of it out, but you could still see the stains if you looked closely enough. If the strap wasn’t leather, I would have tossed it in the wash.

  • khm

    My first luxe bag was a suede Tods in caramel. I bought it in Paris over 15 years ago. I was on a transportation shuttle and somehow got a spot of grease or something on the bag. I brought to a dry cleaners to get it out and when I got it back it was unrecognizable…stretched out, discolored. It was traumatic. I didn’t buy another suede bag for years.

  • Anu

    TBH if it cannot withstand weather and rain and still clean off easy, I don’t see the quality and worth of the product… I am willing to put in money for quality but is that justified? I only have a few bags as I’m young and growing my collection but I wouldn’t want a bag (that’s not suede) that can’t hold up like that.

  • Ebun

    I bought my second Chanel in January – a white and brown/nude striped patent leather mini. I had just bought my first designer bag months before so I wasn’t privy to the laws of taking care of your bags. Well, first: she got black color transfer from my leather pants the first (and only, might I add) time I took it out for a spin. Then, distraught from that experience, I packed her back up in her cute little dust bag and put her in the laundry basket I don’t use. Well, then she got chain marks on the front flap from the strap that been resting on it!

    Suffice to say, that she is now wrapped in foam inside a white dust bag inside another dust bag standing vertically away from all other objects in my already small NY closet. Never. ever. again. Damn you white and patent leather! Damn both of you! *shakes fist in the air*

    • Elisa

      I’d return it. Enough is enough!

  • ami

    The worst that’s happened to my bags was a bad case of mildew on my YSL Muse and LV Speedy.
    We live in hot climate and the leather on my sister’s Tod’s bag melted and wrinkled. The bag was kept inside the closet and she didn’t use the bag for a couple of months. Nevertheless, the state of that bag shocked us.

  • psaddict

    Once while out to lunch with my friend, I spilled a beer on my black XL Proenza Schouler PS1. At first I was in shock and disbelief that it even happened, and my friend said that she thought my head was going to explode lol. But I grabbed some napkins and dabbed the leather, didn’t wipe it off which would have rubbed in the beer. And in minutes the bag was perfectly fine, had a faint smell of beer for a day or so, but no stain or color change! Probably because it’s black.. If it was one of the beautiful bright PS leather colors, or dare I mention suede, I’m sure the bag would have been ruined.

    • Elisa

      I knew it would be fine, those bags are tough as nails!

      • ????

        they aren’t as tough as you think they are! I’m pretty sure it wasn’t poor treatment on my part but the buckle on my PS1 fell off after a few months of usage :( thankfully their after service was good and it came back as good as new a few weeks after I handed it in!

      • Elisa

        Oh noooo!

  • lavinia

    I had a wonderful bag I loved it was many years ago, I went to he supermarket and bought some butter (a pat)…I completely forgot it in my bag. When I realized it it was too late, Way too late. I tried to wash the bag in many different ways went to the laundry nothing worked the bag was gone…

  • Rikke

    I was taking my sc bag in cobalt out for lunch at a fancy place. I was also wearing new clothes and my brand new valentino rockstuds. When I get up to leave the resteaurant I was targeted by a seagul! The dbag pooped all over my bag, my hair and my clothes, in front of the whole restaurant. My hubby had to clean my hair and clothing with baby wipes, while I frantically wiped my sc. It tournd out ok, not a mark on her. But now my heart starts beating like crazy whenever I hear the squeaking of a seagul. The shoes survived the air to ground attack without any poop though.

    • Dee

      I’m really sorry that happened to you, but the way you told it is hilarious. Dbag!

      • rumpetaske

        And I did not even mention that I was squatting the whole time so we could clean simultaneously;)

  • whizcheng

    Opposite effect: the metal corners tips of my Alexander Wang prisma skeletal tote chipped the paint on my car!!
    Otherwise Amanda’s story is exactly why I love my lv coated canvas bags

  • Maya

    spilling a yogurt inside a Givenchy Pandora bag…don’t ask…

  • regina george


  • Olivia J.

    My LV Speedy’s have lived up to the test. No matter what comes some way that Canvas stands the test of time! Lol

  • Mandy

    I don’t remember now where I was, but I had my LV Noe bag sitting on the ground, open (drawstring not pulled shut). It was somewhere where it was just a couple friends hanging out, so I didn’t think anything would happen. My boyfriend at the time (no I didn’t break up with him over this, lol!) spilled about HALF A CAN of Bud Light into my purse, onto the SUEDE lining and all over my wallet, checkbook, phone, etc! Luckily the outside of the bag was Epi leather so it wiped clean. The suede lining didn’t stain, since it was dark blue (and a pretty watery beer) but the texture and feel has never been the same :(

  • Elisa

    20 years ago, I was mugged/purse snatched. He stole my Il Bisonte file style wallet and matching check case which were tucked inside my black Bonnie Cashin little black leather Coach cross body back with turn style brass hardware. I’d a book of stamps and less than $5 in cash (I was just a kid). We ended up in a “tug of war.” I screamed, “All I have is a book of stamps!” as the strap broke and he rain away with my dear, treasures. I’ve also had two other Bonnie Cashin Coach leather bags destroyed by my cat. But she and those bags are long gone.I miss the cat. :)

  • Rashmi

    omg amanda, the Mansur Gavriel bags turn out really bad when they come in contact with water. I have the Brick tote. I don’t think the bags are treated with shiny coating or water resistant coating as they are all vegetable dyed. that could be the reason why. Do NOT get any drop of water on the Mansur Gavriel bags as it will ruin the leather!

  • Candace

    Only a South Louisianian would fully appreciate this story. My uncle gave me a container of gumbo “to go” upon leaving his house. The lid on the container was faulty, so I asked my mom to hold the container in her hands for our short ride home. She was busy talking and not paying attention as I handed her the container. She dropped the container and the entire contents of gumbo spilled into and onto my MBMJ satchel. The bag cleaned up impressively–I used Dawn and cold water (yes I had to basically wash the bag). But, I couldn’t enjoy my uncle’s delicious gumbo!!!

  • Roza

    The timing of this post! My dog, Maya, a seven month old miniature poodle mix has been cruising around with me on my bike inside a large Louis Vuitton Tivoli bag. I bought the bag four years ago and used it for work every day. Since I adopted my puppy, the bag happens the be the perfect bike bag for my dog. She loves riding in it! I hang it on the handlebar, it is sturdy and comfortable for her, and her ears fly in the wind as we bike through the city. A few days ago I left her by herself in the house and made sure to put away all shoes, bags and anything leathery (she has chewed on shoes before). When I come back, the house looks spotless, and it is not until a day later when it is time for a bike ride that I notice that baby Cujo has chewed through one of the handles on her bike bag. Aarrrgh…. Cant be mad at her though, I will just have to get it repaired. But of course she had to destroy the one thing she loves to use. As a side note, I’ve had designer bags for over a decade, and while I do take care of them, I’m not too distraught if something happens to them. It’s life, and it’s ok!

  • When I got my job at my current hospital, I celebrated by treating myself to a fun, bright Coach Poppy tote bag. All fabric. One morning, I had taken my phone out and was walking into work and somehow, the can of soda I had inside the bag got punctured and the entire 12 ounces of Mountain Dew was floating in the bottom of the bag. Surprisingly, it didn’t absorb into the lining AT ALL (I literally poured it out) but my digital camera was junked. Still have the bag, and I still marvel at the fact that it looks like that never even happened!

  • hikitten

    I don’t have a bag trauma story like everyone else, but I have had a brown day or 2 old puddle completely drench me and a client while walking in nyc. Damn taxi aimed for it I swear. It smelled like old mildew. So gross. I went all the way home to shower, no way could I go back to work.

  • Yinkis

    My niece once decided to trace out, with a black marker, the stitching on my chanel jumbo..:(

  • Amazona

    I’ve had mud and other filth splash on my bags and shoes more times than I can remember. No tragedy has followed, either because the bags have been canvas or PU (years ago I had only PU or canvas bags, no leather whatsoever) and have wiped clean OR my bag has been protected by Stübben glycerine saddle soap, beeswax conditioner and Sapphire leather care. I’m not really scared of splatter or anything else…I am a bit OCD about taking every possible precaution so I won’t get into a situation where my bag might get iced with mud or something else, but accidents will happen, sometimes things go wrong etc.

    The first thing I felt when I saw the pic of Amanda’s poor bag was an urge to break out the Stübben – it’s the best thing for leather care, cleansing and protecting. If it’s good enough for a 2 000 € saddle, it’s good enough for a bag! For the 7 € it costs it’s great value!

    • Amazona

      Oh and, I always carry alcohol-free moist towelettes with me so I have first aid available for when I have to encounter a mess. Wiping a muddy wet bag down when the dirt is still fresh will work wonders!

  • I wonder if you’d buy the black one again or would you prefer another colour? I heard that the camello coloured bucket bag ages in a more beautiful way.

  • Jennifer Eddy

    Hmmm quite a few things actually. I got a stain on a suede Bottega bag I’ve never been able to get out. I have a Versace yellow patent leather bag that had this really cool hangtag/keychain on it that I lost one day and even though I ran around the city looking I never did find it, obviously someone took it. I have a hard time wearing that bag today because of it. I once somehow set my leather backpack in dog poo in college, no idea how I didn’t even have a dog then (it cleaned up fine). Due to improper storage I got a nice big scratch on the front of my pink leather MJ bag, and yes I said MJ not MBMJ, it’s one of the more expensive ones. As a side note my dog chewed up a pair to Burberry shoes I got as a Christmas gift last year and wore exactly once.

  • Phiomega

    This one is gross… I went to an event where the snack was sticky rice cakes — I put it in my brand new LV DE neverfull MM because I did not want to eat it. The package leaks and I did not realize it till the day after!!! So I had to give the lining of my LV a good wash within a week of purchase… Then i Made a mistake drying it in the blazing sun (forgive me — that was my second designer bag, I was really naive)… The bag survive nicely (4 years old by now) but the red lining is not as bright… Oh well it is still an LV workhorse nonetheless!

  • Em

    I was in a rush one day and I didn’t get to finish my lunch. I wrapped what was left of my sandwich and put it in my Marc Jacobs handbag (my first designer purchase). By the time I was home, I had forgotten about it…. Unfortunately my two toy poodles have very keen noses. After I had gone to bed, they jumped on the table and chewed their way through the leather to get to it.

    Lucky for them, I love them unconditionally! But I did cry when I found the poodle sized hole they ate – I’m surprised they have room in their stomachs for the sandwich.

  • Clarice

    I have a brown cloth Gucci Sukey and the poor fabric is worn and the leather handles of the bag are fairly beaten down. That thing has had perfume spills and juice spills from my kid and held up pretty well. I didn’t take good enough care of it though and it was almost $800 :-(

  • krizia

    A man that spilled his Coke (the drink, hehe) all over my Chanel flap bag.