I'm going to review the organizer as well as compare it to the medium Compagna, and will have lots of pictures to show. Please note that as I was taking pictures I noticed that slight lighting differences caused the color of the leather to be slightly different - all beautiful, subtle "gold" tones. Nice! The many shades of "gold."
|Pressed into the leather flap of the interior gusseted pocket|
The organizer came nicely packaged with a Gillio Firenze / Gold Pen shopping bag.
Gillio is now shipping their organizers with the inserts packaged separately to reduce the risk of the organizer rings being damaged. The inserts are beautifully wrapped. This was a suggestion that Steve Morton made to them. It's nice to see that Gillio is listening to its customers!
|Pretty and tasteful wrapping paper for the inserts|
Opening the brown box I'm greeted with the dust bag. As soon as I opened it up I smelled the lovely leather smell! Then I pulled out my new Mia Cara.....wow!
Superb! Perfect! Yes, Top of the Line of the Gillio planners. The leather is top quality, just like the Compagna. The craftsmanship is incredible. And I can confirm that the scratch test that Tom Van Haelen does in this You Tube video is 100% accurate. I accidentally scratched the back of it with my nail and just had to rub the leather a little bit to get the scratch to completely disappear!
Let's open up this beauty, shall we?
The Mia Cara has two different parts. To try to make my descriptions easy to understand I'll call the outside part the "shell" and the inner part the "inner planner." Unsnap the leather strap and it opens up to what you see above. Doesn't that look rich?
It has a wonderful gusseted flap pocket that closes with two snaps. Next to that you have a large zippered pocket. The pocket goes all the way to the left edge of the planner. It's a great size. Under that zippered pocket is a flat pocket that also goes all the way to the left edge of the planner. Count 'em, three pockets on the left side of the "shell".
|Gusseted flap pocket|
Next is the pen pocket. I like that it isn't a pen loop. It's unique and looks really nice to have a pretty pen nestled into that pocket.
Now let's move to the right (still talking about the above picture). That cover is the second part of the Mia Cara; the "inner planner". This holds the actual planner/diary.
Opening up that cover reveals three credit card slots on the left and a pocket with an angled edge. In the picture you also see the frosted Today page marker and a flyleaf. The right side (back) of the inner planner is actually tucked snugly into one of the pockets of the shell of the organizer.
The six credit card slots that you see on the right are actually a part of the shell. They are not a part of the inner planner.
The right side of the inner planner looks like this:
Taking a close look at it, my best guess is that it is maybe some type of leather??? Pigskin? Honestly, I have no idea. The tan color nicely compliments the planner's leather.
The inner planner has no other pockets besides the three credit card slots and the other angled pocket on the left. This inner planner is beautiful in its simplicity. The front and back exterior covers look the same. Simple, clean lines...classic. It looks beautiful by itself and I wouldn't hesitate to use it on it's own.
|Top: Inner planner, Bottom: Shell|
I know that there are several readers who are interested in knowing how the Mia Cara compares to the Gillio Compagna. Here's a comparison with my medium Compagna in Epoca Black/Orange. The main difference, the Mia Cara, overall, is slightly larger!
The leather on both is amazing. Soft, supple, perfect!
The Mia Cara is taller and wider than my Compagna.
|Top: Mia Cara, Bottom: Compagna|
Some have been asking about the difference in the Gold and the Orange color of the Gillio planners. The Mia Cara is in Gold and the inside of my Compagna is Orange.
|Mia Cara below the Compagna|
The leather strap on the Mia Cara is wider and longer than on the Compagna.
The only place where the Mia Cara could be considered slightly smaller than the Compagna is in the comparison of the Mia Cara inner planner to the Compagna binder.
|Take a look at the left edges of the planners; top: Mia Cara|
If you were to center the rings of both, you'd see that the size difference is a small one.
And finally, the spine of the Compagna is smaller in width and more rounded than the Mia Cara.
There you have it! The differences that I've found between the Mia Cara and the Compagna. I also want to show a couple of pictures of the Mia Cara next to a Personal-size Filofax Deco...to help give an even better idea of size. The Mia Cara is slightly taller and wider.
My overall impression? The Mia Cara is a beautiful piece of craftsmanship. It is like a piece of art! The materials used are impeccable. The stitching is perfect. The design of the organizer is very unique and versatile. The pen holder, the gusseted pocket with the beautiful flap closure, the long back pocket...all of these design features make the Mia Cara stand out for me.
The inner planner is simple and beautiful and can be used on its own. Simple and basic can be beautiful, right? Gillio conveys that with the inner planner. The outer shell with the pockets and credit card slots would make a great stand-alone portfolio. I think that together the two pieces will provide a wonderful new experience in planner use. It's different than using a "traditional" planner because of it's unique design. Just opening it up makes me think "luxury" and "unique/special."
I've been told by Gillio that it takes many, many hours of Italian handcraft-ship to produce this organizer. This is very evident!
I can't wait to move into the Mia Cara. I've tagged it as my August Planner of the Month. It's going to be hard to resist moving in early!
I hope you've enjoyed reading this review. If you have any questions about the Mia Cara or the Compagna that you'd like to ask, please feel free to ask away!