Cleaning and restoring vintage Louis Vuitton brown monogrammed handbags
By: Stu Bloom
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In a previous blog post, we discussed the cleaning and restoration of Louis Vuitton brown monogrammed PVC coated canvas handbags.
Louis Vuitton brown monogrammed handbags that are a few years old and that require cleaning and/or restoration typically display the following issues:
- The exterior PVC coated canvas has an oily film that’s attracted dirt
- The exterior PVC coated canvas has hairline cracks or tears
- The natural-colored cowhide leather trim is scratched and/or scuffed
- The natural-colored cowhide leather trim has color variations and, in some cases, has transformed to a honey brown color
- The natural-colored cowhide leather trim is stained, particularly if it has come into contact with water
- The natural-colored cowhide leather straps have darkened due to contact with oils and salts from the hands
- The natural-colored cowhide leather trim and straps have dried out and, in some cases, exhibit cracks
- The piping on the corners and along the sides has frayed
- The interior lining — bonded to the PVC or unbonded/loose — is stained (cosmetics, ink, liquids and the like)
- The interior has developed a musty smell, particularly if the accessory has not often worn and/or has been improperly stored.
When it comes to vintage Louis Vuitton brown monogrammed handbags, you might face some additional issues:
- The paint on the edging (the area where two pieces of leather have been sewn together) might be scuffed or brittle. In modern handbags (not Louis Vuitton), this edging is typically “sealed” by a flexible silicone bead. In vintage Louis Vuitton handbags, it’s typically black leather paint.
- The paint on the 1 to 2 inch brown interior leather surrounding the opening might be scratched. This construction technique, common to Louis Vuitton vintage handbags, is no longer used.
- The lining on the interior might be “faux suede” — a product that precludes cleaning. You can tell whether the lining is faux suede by rubbing a wet finger over the surface of the lining in a circular motion. If the lining starts to peel away (like it would do if you rubbed a wet finger in a circular motion on a piece of paper), the lining cannot be cleaned. In other words, if the “faux suede” lining is stained or torn (and you’re troubled by this), you ought to consider replacing the lining completely. This type of faux suede lining is no longer used.
- The strap might be worn (and possibly torn or about to tear), particularly in the area where the strap attaches to the hardware.
While honeymooning in Paris in 1972, our client purchased this brown monogrammed coated canvas handbag for his wife.
After years of use, the handbag languished in a box in his garage for many years. Our client recently decided to have the handbag repaired and restored.
The results of the transformation can be seen in the following BEFORE and AFTER photographs:
For even more BEFORE and AFTER photographs on the transformation of this handbag, please view our slide show below:
To view this slide show on a full screen, hit the X button with the arrow tips.
Here’s the takeaway from this post:
Vintage Louis Vuitton brown monogrammed handbags, purses, wallets and backpacks can be cleaned and restored but only if cleaned by hand. And then only by a cleaner who
- specializes in cleaning and restoring handbags, purses, wallets and backpacks,
- employs full time handbag cleaning specialists and
- completes all work on premises (does not ship the work to an unknown, undisclosed, out of state subcontractor).
In Arizona, there is only one cleaner who meets these 3 criteria: RAVE FabriCARE in Scottsdale.
By the way, if you don’t live in the metro Phoenix area, all is not lost. We ship throughout the USA and Canada.
Send us your photos for a free, no-obligation evaluation and price guesstimate.
Photo credit: unsplash.com/Erwan Hesry
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