Handbag aficionados may debate which is the perfect luxury tote, but there’s no question that the Louis Vuitton Neverfull makes the list. First introduced by the brand in 2007, fashionistas speculated it was designed to compete with Louis Vuitton’s luggage nemesis, Goyard. The latter’s Saint-Louis Tote is a similar soft-sided handbag, which has been a staple for Goyard since the 1930s.
The Neverfull name is a playful take on what the bag represents. Louis Vuitton has a history in travel and luggage-making. The original striped and cerise (cherry) interiors are inspired by the canvas of original Louis Vuitton trunks from the 1800s. Of course, today’s globetrotters are unlikely to be hauling trunks through airport lounges, but the Neverfull serves the same purpose. According to Louis Vuitton, the bag straps are able to withstand almost 200 pounds of weight. Not that we’d suggest testing the theory!
Nicholas Knightly, ex Director of Leather Goods designs, said it has “exactly the right length from the shoulder to be comfortable and give a sensation of intimacy and closeness to the body”. Plus the Neverfull is quite versatile. The sides can be cinched to created more security despite the open top, or to create a smaller style bag. Additionally, it can be folded flat into a suitcase when not needed at all, great for stowing during vacation. And it doubles as in-cabin luggage for bringing home travel purchases.
As of 2014, the Neverfull includes a detachable accessories pouch. The pochette functions as a place to keep items that are likely to get lost at the bottom of your handbag, like keys or parking tickets!
The Neverfull truly has become one of the most popular totes and recognizable silhouettes from Louis Vuitton. Originally created in classic Monogram canvas, its design quickly expanded to include variations on Damier. Moreover, the range grew through the brand’s various collaborations.
Currently, the bag is available in the traditional trilogy of canvas fabrics; Monogram, Damier Azur and Damier Ebene, as well as statement Empreinte Leather and Monogram Jacquard. The pre-owned market however reveals its long history of forms, flooded with seasonal collections, such as the low-key Epi leather Neverfull, the soft Mini Lin Neverfull or Neverfull Escale.
Over the years, Louis Vuitton introduced interior color options for the Neverfull, particularly in canvas models. Depending on the canvas chosen, the interior color choices differ, with the classic monogram giving the most choices; the classic ‘Cherry’ red interior, a subtle ‘Beige’ interior (one which is also available in Damier Azur), or ‘Pivione’, a stunning magenta pink. For those who prefer pink, but maybe not a shade so shocking, both the Damier Ebene and Damier Azur styles come in a beautiful baby pink color called ‘Rose Ballerine’. Additionally, the Damier Ebene canvas is also available with a ‘Cherry’ interior, a stunning contrast to the warm brown tones.
The Neverfull lends itself as the perfect canvas for new designs to be incorporated, and it was a favorite for the roster of artists who made their way through the Louis Vuitton hall-of-fame.
It all started in 2009 with the Stephen Sprouse ‘Roses’ collection, which paid homage to the artist’s freestyle technique.
Louis Vuitton’s creative director, Marc Jacobs and Sprouse, sketched their first collection together in 2001. During the design process, the idea of roses was thrown out in place of the graffiti design. After the passing of Sprouse in 2004, Jacobs paid homage in 2009 by releasing the Roses collection, a hand-sketched rose motif, which was plastered across the Maison’s most iconic handbags, including the Neverfull. The original graffiti design was also re-released in 2009, with the addition of a Neverfull which was not yet designed at the time of the initial launch.
Besides Stephen Sprouse, most Louis Vuitton collaborators opt for a Neverfull in their designs. The list includes the 2007 Takashi Murakami MOCA Hands Collection, every one of Yayoi Kusama’s collaborations to date, the 2017 Jeff Koons ‘The Masters” collection, the 2018 Catogram Collection by Grace Coddington, and the most recent 2021 Fornasetti collection.
There also have been rumors (or perhaps wishes) that with Pharrell Williams helming design at Louis Vuitton Menswear, a new Neverfull could be on the way. His first show winked at the ‘hustle mentality’ of New York, and introduced a new, soft leather that drapes and conforms to the body. It would lend itself beautifully to the structure (or lack thereof) of the Neverfull. Just in case Pharrell is listening . . .
Nor would it be the first time that a men’s style transfers to women’s collection offerings. Virgil Abloh’s 2021 Louis Vuitton collection introduced an extra small Speedy. Reimagined to look masculine, this shrunken Speedy version was a popular choice among female clientele. Time will tell whether Pharrell Williams (or any successor) takes the Neverfull onto the men’s runway and into collections.
Though the Neverfull has taken many forms, the sizes have remained set in stone, until now. Traditionally the iconic bag has only been available in three sizes; a PM, MM and a GM, think of these like small, medium and large. Louis Vuitton are a Maison quick to catch onto trends, and haven’t been afraid to change with the times, and their clientele.
The new Neverfull BB handbag is a super cute mini playful version of this tote, even down to the interior pouch which is transformed as an adorable coin purse attached to the exterior with a D-ring. Rather than long shoulder handles however, this features a thick removable adjustable strap, to allow for the same versatility the Neverfull is adored for.
Here’s the size breakdown for BB (Bebe Bandouliere, meaning Baby Shoulder), PM (Petit Modele, meaning Small Model), MM (Moyen Modele, meaning Medium Model) and GM (Grand Modele, meaning Large Model).
|Size||Dimensions (L x H x W cm)|
|BB (Mini)||24 x 14 x 9 cm|
|PM (Small)||29 x 21 x 12 cm|
|MM (Medium)||37 x 29 x 17 cm|
|GM (Large)||40 x 33 x 20 cm|
As you might expect, the price of the Neverfull has risen substantially since 2007. At that time, Neverfull models ranged from $575-$655. Over the next several years, there were steady increases which likely can be attributed to inflation, similar to the annual price increases across luxury Maisons.
However, in 2014, upon Louis Vuitton’s addition of the internal pouch, the prices controversially shot up, between 35-40%. This represented one of the biggest increases across any model from the brand. Though many were excited about the addition of the pouch, this price increase meant clients had no choice but to pay up for it, even if they didn’t want it.
Then, the pandemic happened. Paired with inflation, the increase of materials and labor cost, and brands attempting to recoup revenues lost during global lockdowns, a drastic price increase was inevitable. The Neverfull was, unfortunately, no exception. In the four years since 2019, pricing for the entire size range of Neverfull models increased by roughly 50%.
Interestingly, despite individual and perhaps market size preferences, the Neverfull prices vary little according to dimensions, at least in the basic canvas models. Originally, each upward size step added about $30-40 to the price. Now, with higher overall prices, bigger bags retail for $60-70 more than the next smaller size. In other words, cost is unlikely to determine which size Neverfull you select.
As of 2023, the Neverfull BB costs BB $1900, the PM is $1960, the MM is $2030 and the GM is $2100. Obviously these retail prices have more than tripled since the Neverfull’s 2007 introduction. Nevertheless, it remains a popular style for Louis Vuitton, one the brand seems to be counting on for its future.
The Future of the Neverfull
The journey of Hermès is likely inspirational to other luxury brands and pushes them towards creating the illusive, mysteriousness that has kept Hermès at the top of the luxury Maison pyramid. As brands across luxury are implementing pricing increases and caps on purchasing quantities, Louis Vuitton has followed suit. In fact, in an unexpected twist, the classic Louis Vuitton canvas Neverfull is no longer available to buy, both in-store and online. Limited edition versions of the handbag will be available, however these will likely also become more difficult to obtain as the demand shifts for those who don’t want to wait to get their hands on a canvas Neverfull.
For those who know what they want, the classic canvas Neverfull will only be available by registering on an in-store waitlist. Once the prospective buyer is notified of the bag, it must be purchased in store within 24 hours, or will be passed to the next person on the list.
It’s likely that time will show a price spike for box fresh Neverfull handbags. Currently, these are priced at around $3000 on the resale market, a 30% premium on the retail piece. The Neverfull has always been an it bag, but perhaps Louis Vuitton is betting on elevating its status further.
What do you think? Waitlist for Neverfull or never mind?
Updated: September 19th, 2023