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.
HOW TO RESTORE VINTAGE CHANEL BAG
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.
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.