How to Restore Vintage Chanel Bag

how to repair vintage chanel bag

Earlier this year, I realized that my vintage Chanel bag was not looking so fresh. Later that day as I was crossing a busy intersection, the strap gave out and my purse fell on the street and everything in it came out as well. Fortunately there were two friendly ladies walking by me and helped me gather my belongings. One of them saw the bag and said “Oh no, your vintage Chanel!” I felt like she understood the pain I was feeling that moment. I immediately came home and searched my handy bookmark on how to repair vintage Chanel bag. I had saved the information for Leather Surgeons ages ago and have always recommended Gerry when anyone asks about authenticating or repairing their luxury bag. I like to think of myself as a luxury handbag connoisseur, but he is the real deal. He knows everything about luxury handbags from authentication to repair. He’s also the guy that Chanel and Hermes send bags to for repair. You read that correctly, if you drop off your handbag at a Chanel boutique for the “Chanel handbag spa service” they send your bag to Gerry for repairs. They also charge you extra for the service.


Ask anyone who owns luxury handbags and they will praise Gerry and Leather Surgeons since they really are masters of their craft. I would only recommend their services for restoring your vintage vintage Chanel or any other luxury bag.

I mentioned that the strap of my bag broke, but that was only one of the issues. Since it’s a 30+ year old bag, the leather was dingy, the shape was crooked, and the gold plating was wearing off. Basically my bag had never been conditioned and it was starting to show! I completed the quick online form on Leather Surgeons. After looking at pictures of my bag and reading more about my bag, Gerry responded with the following about the Chanel bag spa services:

First, we unweave the leather from the chain, then remove and polish all of the hardware before replating it in 24 karat gold. This won’t remove every scratch, but will restore the color and shine.

Then we go inside the bag to work on its structure. Handbags are built around internal componentry called “stays”. Eventually, they break down or crease, which causes the bag to deform, so we replace the stays to restore the structure and symmetry of the bag. This won’t remove creases or wrinkles from the surface of the leather itself but will improve the overall shape.

Next, we thoroughly clean the bag, inside and out, before rehydrating and pH-balancing all of the leather. Finally, we apply pigment (as necessary) to restore the color and luster of the bag, as well as help conceal any remaining stains. The leather in the chain is then taken through the same process.

To replate the hardware, reshape the bag, repair the loop and give the piece an overall spa service Leather Surgeons charged me $400. The price included shipping fees both ways.

This is hefty price tag for sure, but a vintage luxury bag is an investment, especially one that is over 30 years old. I also plan on giving the bag to Harlee when she’s older so it needs to be restored so it lasts at least another 30 years. Also, my bag had NEVER been conditioned or anything, so this was a lump sum I had to pay to fix everything rather than sending it off every few years for probably a quarter of the cost.

leather surgeons chanel bag spavintage chanel bag spa review

My brand new looking vintage Chanel arrived about a month after I sent it to Leather Surgeons. It arrived with a Certificate of Authenticity and it was perfectly packaged and came with a pretty Leather Surgeons dustbag. I couldn’t believe how perfect my bag looked. Even though Gerry said the services wouldn’t get rid of scratches and other problems, I can’t get over how new my bag looks after their services. I’ll likely send my Louis Vuitton Cannes bag to him for a quick spa date (it just needs to be conditioned) in the next year.

Don’t miss my tips on buying a vintage Chanel bag.



  1. May 16, 2019 / 6:42 pm

    Why wouldn’t you just take it to the Chanel store for repair?

    • May 20, 2019 / 9:23 am

      The Chanel store does not do repairs in store. They actually send repairs to Leather Surgeons and charge even more than going directly to Leather Surgeons. Hope that helps!

  2. May 20, 2019 / 6:07 pm

    That’s good to know. I always thought they sent them out to their own repair people. Cheers from Pasadena!

  3. May 22, 2019 / 5:25 am

    I love this post!! I wonder if this is only for the States? Thanks!

    • May 23, 2019 / 1:34 pm

      I’m not sure. You can def send them an email and I’m sure they’ll confirm with you. They are super responsive!

  4. Azelia
    March 26, 2020 / 6:58 am

    Hi hun! Thank you for this awesome post! I’m looking at this vintage Chanel medallion bag but the inside looks pretty beat up. It’s the outside that looks fabulous though! Do you know if Leather surgeons can also repair the interior? Thank you!

    • March 30, 2020 / 12:04 pm

      Hey there. Yes, leather surgeons fixes so many pieces. If you’re not sure, just send a picture of the bag and ask him. They are very responsive 🙂

  5. May 20, 2020 / 5:51 pm

    I have a question. My ex-husband bought me an authentic Channel Purse and when we got divorced he took the piece, that clip sayś CC in front where you secure the purse. It still closes but the emblem is gone. Where can I find that piece?

    Thank you

    • May 21, 2020 / 9:37 am

      Hi Elizabeth. Sorry to hear about that situation. Try reaching out to The Leather Surgeons since they are professionals at repairing Chanel bags. You can also try contacting the shop where you purchased the Chanel bag as they may offer a repair service as well.

  6. Kathleen Cahill
    June 18, 2021 / 9:04 pm

    $400 is a great investment for bags that cost thousands. Chanel will cover the cost of repairs for one year but I have paid them to fo repairs on some of my bags. It always looked brand new for very little money. I did have to wait about 4-6 weeks but it was worth it. It’s good to know this is where it goes.

    • June 21, 2021 / 4:38 pm

      I agree! I consider it an investment to maintain a bag that is an heirloom – it’s going to my daughter one day. Definitely get quotes directly from Leather Surgeons in the future before dropping off at Chanel. In my experience, it was faster and cheaper to go directly to LS!

  7. Valarie Edwards Evans
    July 16, 2021 / 12:58 pm

    Greeting from sunny Arizona! Quick question …. I have two small Chanel bags I picked up a resale store in San Francisco. One is useable (navy blue); the other needs a good cleaning (white/off white). The price for both was extremely reasonable and were verified as authentic. However, I’d like to sell them as I’m trying to lighten my physical and psychic loads. But, is it worth the money getting them cleaned for resale or should I just donate them and be done with it?

    • July 19, 2021 / 11:26 am

      Hi Valarie
      Thanks for reaching out! Can you email me images of the bags? I’d like to see the quality and I can give you more insights on whether it’s worth refinishing them, reselling, or donating. Happy to help and who knows, maybe I’ll help lighten your load a bit 🙂 annette (at) avintagesplendor (dot) com

    • July 19, 2021 / 11:26 am

      Hi Valarie
      Thanks for reaching out! Can you email me images of the bags? I’d like to see the quality and I can give you more insights on whether it’s worth refinishing them, reselling, or donating. Happy to help and who knows, maybe I’ll help lighten your load a bit 🙂 annette (at) avintagesplendor (dot) com

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