It’s been awhile since I’ve done a What’s In the Handbag? post. Well, actually I’ve only ever done one and that featured the Bridgette Day bag. Since then, I’ve been to Italy and picked up a few bags at the Testaccio markets whilst working in Rome for two months. And during this time, I spent a weekend in Paris with a UN colleague who’s French.

We had a great girl’s weekend and stayed at her friend’s (very small) apartment somewhere in Paris. No idea where. I had two missions: visit Jim Morrison’s gravesite and get some Jacqueline Singh costume jewellery. I accomplished both.

What I didn’t intend on doing was getting a French handbag. But my colleague told me about this secret squirrel shop where you go upstairs into this cavernous space full of handbags. I was (naturally) intrigued. She wanted to get her mother a Lancel handbag and so off we went late Saturday afternoon. The place was buzzing with people, mostly tourists but also some in-the-know French. I spotted Longchamp bags, Sequoia, Nat Et Ninn and too many other brands for me to recall. I was dazzled.

So I asked my friend what French brand is REALLY good – she didn’t hesitate and told me Texier. Never heard of this brand I’m afraid. Fortunately, a sales woman came over and my friend asked her about Texier handbags. The sales lady (who was in her 60s and exuded that air of French elegance) nodded sagely and told us that she has had a Texier bag for years and the quality of leather is wonderful. This conversation was conducted in rapid French, which I don’t speak, so my friend was busy translating at the same time.

The sales lady took us over to a smaller section of the store where only three or four shelves were lined with Texier handbags. I immediately spotted THE most gorgeous bag I’ve seen in a long time. It reminded me of a saddle with its dark caramel pecan colouring and quality leather. I initially thought of getting a Longchamp, with cute horse motif, from the Le Pliage range. My friend asked about this but the sales woman adopted an air of haughtiness, declaring that everyone has one of these bags. Okay.

I checked out all the Texier bags on display and chose two. I wasn’t sure if bargaining was acceptable here, especially with this oh-so-French older lady. I have no idea if the bag I ended up buying has a name. All I can tell you is that it’s gorgeous leather and beautifully detailed. Inside the bag, the craftsmanship is evident with sturdy lining and handy pockets. The bag cost Euro 308.50 and I paid for it in Australian dollars (stronger than the NZ currency). So it cost me around AU$395.00, which is a whole lot less than some of the Oroton bags I saw in Sydney earlier this year (and now made in China I believe). The Texier range is designed and made in France and was started in 1951 by Louis Texier. His sons, Marcel and Jean-Luc, now manage the brand.

So what’s in the French handbag? Well, first of all I swapped wallets a couple of months ago. My fav wallet is my lilac Mandarina Duck that you can see in a previous post. I bought this in Rome in 2011 at a 50% off sale and it cost NZ $36.00. Bargain. But I’m now using a very colourful leather wallet I bought in Rome this year. Can’t recall what shop I bought it at but I was on my way to the Pantheon. It was a small boutique and the wallet reminded me of the luggage travellers used to have embellished with labels from the hotels they’d stayed in around the world. I love the purples, blues and pinks. It’s made in Italy and has ample pockets for cards, cash, photos and all the other stuff we tend to cart around.

And here’s what else is in the handbag:

  • You can tell it’s hayfever season in NZ due to all the hayfever medication I’m carrying around. Never had hayfever in Oz but the trees and pollen are totally different here, so I get an allergic reaction. They say that each year gets better and, this year, it hasn’t been so bad due to the cocktail of herbal remedies I’m taking.
  • I carry Weleda Gencydo Hayfever Nasal Spray. This has been a saviour if you ask me. It has organic lemon and quince extracts and unblocks any stuffy nose; New Era Combination H Tissue Salts; Vicks inhaler.
  • Evolu Botanical Facial Toner – Rebalancing Mist with Aloe Vera and Rosa Gallica. Evolu is a New Zealand skincare brand and I carry around the travel-sized 50ml bottle since I can take this on a flight. It’s a great hydrating mist that I use after cleansing and also to set my makeup.
  • Melaleuca Melagel Topical Gel – for any minor cuts or skin irritations. Consists of Melaleuca Oil, which is basically tea tree oil.
  • Dettol hand sanitizer for those moments when you’re out and about and want to eat but realise your hands are grubby.
  • Clinique Super Balm lip treatment. I feel like I’ve had this little tube for years. Of course, I haven’t but it just lasts and lasts. I particularly like it for the Winter months when lips can get cracked. It’s a super shiny balm.
  • Key ring with red leather heart – bought in some design shop in Rome.
  • Rimmel Stay Matte Dual Action Concealer in Ivory (or maybe it’s Light, the writing has long since worn off). I’ve used a Rimmel concealer since I was a teenager – shows you how long the company has been around! I always used Hide the Blemish Cover Stick in Ivory but I really like the Stay Matte concealer, which is in a very handy tube.
  • Maybelline Dream Matte pressed powder in Light. HG powder for me. One is always in the handbag.
  • Bare Escentuals Bare Minerals powder brush. This was with one of the starter kits I bought years ago and I use it to fluff on some Maybelline powder during the day.
  • Maybelline ColorSensational Lipcolor #205 Nearly There. This is my HG nude lip colour. I’m SO praying it doesn’t get discontinued because it’s a gorgeous everyday, slightly frosted pink taupe shade. It’s a dupe for MAC’s Viva Glam V.
  • The Body Shop Colorglide Shine lip colour in #13 Rose Quartz. This is part of their Winter Trend/Christmas Collection 2012 and is limited edition. It imparts a beautiful glaze of rose shine with golden shimmer. Staying power is very good and I’m really loving Body Shop stuff right now.
  • Superheadz Pink Dress Wide Angled Lens camera. I always have a camera in my bag including my iPhone. The Pink Dress is a remake of the Vivitar Ultra Wide and Slim camera. It’s the easiest film camera to use and I’ve just finished the film that’s loaded in it. You can see an example of the type of photo the Pink Dress can take on my photoblog. I keep it in a cute little pouch I picked up in a design store in Hong Kong.
  • Sunglasses are The Cancer Council “Kelso” sunglasses with polarised lenses. I’m a little disappointed in them because the gold detailing is a bit flimsy and fell off within a few months. Time for a new pair of sunglasses me thinks!
  • FAO Land & Water pen. I opened the Land and Water Days conference for the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) in Rome this year. The pen is a souvenir.

GAW-JUS Texier handbag.


The front of the bag has a handy pouch for keeping keys or lipsticks.


The back of the handbag has a great zippered compartment. I used it to hold my boarding pass on the way back from Rome.


Lots of room inside.


Italian leather wallet.


I keep the receipt in the handbag to remind me of my Parisian weekend.


Texier started in 1951.


Love the simplicity of this bag.


The bag has pull strings.


The wallet is a gorgeous purple colour.


I’m carrying a lot of hayfever medicine at the moment.

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