Review: MCA Hautes Coutures Double Stitch for iPod
Pros: Unique iPod fashion case designs with integrated screen protection, various interesting colors, nice lanyards.
Cons: Limited protection for iPod’s body, particularly its bottom and corners, lanyard likely impractical unless you have a strong neck; looks may not appeal to your tastes.
In the 1982 movie Blade Runner, director Ridley Scott imagined a new fashion sense for the Los Angeles of 2019: women might wear transparent vinyl jackets, bold colors would stand out against dark backgrounds, and everyday fashion, even on a decaying Earth, would have a bit of sexiness. For some reason, these images come to mind when viewing MCA’s Hautes Coutures Double Stitch cases for full-sized iPods (29.90 Euros), eye-catching iPod fashion cases that, like the Blade Runner aesthetic, will appeal to certain people decidedly more than others.
MCA sells these cases in separate sizes for various iPod thicknesses, with seven versions that vary mostly in color and texture. Six of them are the same design, described by the company as glossy white, glossy red, blue silk, pink silk, black peach skin, and gray silk, each with two strips of thread double-stitched to hold the sides and back together. But the transparent version is different, lacking the stitching and possessing a more open top than the others. Its belt clip is the only one that doesn’t match its body color, and is covered with the same material as the gray silk version.
The material descriptions are only partially accurate: the “silk” cases we received were actually plastic, except for the pink case, which was inexpensive leather, while the glossies are shiny vinyl - red actually metallic flecked. MCA’s black peach skin felt most like its name, and we liked that one and the glossy red the most, as they stood out a bit from the rest in look and feel. Aside from those two, the others felt cheaper, but not offensively so.
Each except the transparent case is lined with soft black fabric, and all come with the same detachable lanyard necklace - a nice metal and clear plastic design. There’s also a non-detachable belt clip on each case’s back, and a non-detachable D-ring to attach the lanyard.
Of course, an appealing iPod case design isn’t necessarily the most protective, and MCA has made some unique decisions about how much of the iPod to cover. The result is that each of the Double Stitch cases is almost thong-like, skimpy on the bottom and covering the iPod’s Dock Connector port with a narrow strip of fabric. A rear snap holds the strip in place, while the bottom corners of the iPod are entirely exposed, even moreso on the back than on the front. This cell phone-like case design is explained by MCA’s extended name - Manhattan Cellular.
A similar design decision exposes the iPod’s top corners, here more on the sides than on the front and back. All of the cases save transparent make an attempt to cover most of the iPod’s top, leaving headphone and Hold switch holes; transparent leaves all but the leftmost 25% exposed. Less surprisingly, MCA leaves the iPod’s Click Wheel exposed, and provides clear vinyl coverage for its screen, adding a touch of gloss to even the matte-finished cases.
Protectiveness aside, we liked the designs quite a bit for what they are - playful and interesting to look at, the glossy ones looking fun and slightly on the edge of trashy, and the black peach skin especially nice to the touch. But it’s hard to get over the fact that the polished surfaces on your iPod are going to get scuffed up if you’re relying on one of these cases as a damage barrier in a purse or bag. And practically speaking, while we liked the lanyard, we still don’t think of full-sized iPods as neck-ready fashion accessories - a feeling we generally have about the smaller, lighter iPod minis.
The Hautes Coutures Double Stitch cases are visually interesting, and some people will snatch them up on the basis of looks alone. However, we find it hard to provide a wide general recommendation for cases that expose so much of the iPod to potential damage when there are other great cases available at the same price. The Double Stitch cases are ones we want to show off to friends, but not actually use, but your take - as linked to your feelings on iPod protection - may vary.