In the world of high-end fashion, where style meets craftsmanship, I sat down with the maestro of luxury bag restoration, Mark Balian. With nearly three decades of expertise, Mark’s journey is nothing short of an icon, having worked closely with Chanel and carved his niche with Tannery Leather Service Inc. Mark’s current venture, Leatherpros, is a testament to his commitment to the art of refurbishing high-end luxury bags from iconic brands like Chanel, Hermes, LV, Bottega, Gucci, YSL, Coach, Prada, and more.
The Art of Luxury Bag Care with Mark Balian
In a recent experience that left me in awe, Mark worked his magic on three of my beloved handbags, showcasing a remarkable before-and-after transformation. Witnessing his craftsmanship, my curiosity was piqued, and I couldn’t resist seeking Mark’s expert advice on preserving my bags, especially since I am an avid daily user of my luxury goods. While I love my bags and hope to preserve them for my girls, I’m not too careful when it comes to using them. The ultimate fashion faux pas!
For those of us who proudly use our luxury companions on a daily basis, Mark shares his pearls of wisdom. Here are 3 tips for maintaining your bags with daily use:
- Weather Protection: Protect luxury bags with waterproof sprays or a protective conditioner made specifically for the type of material of the bag. This helps eliminate the possibility of water stains and color transfer.
- Avoid Overstuffing: Opt for a minimalist approach by carrying only daily essentials, steering clear of heavy loads. This not only preserves the bag’s shape but also alleviates stress on handles and seams, ensuring your bag does not tear at the seams or handles.
- Handle with Care: Handle your luxury bags with the utmost care. Steer clear of excessive hand lotion or oil application to prevent stains and stickiness. For light-colored bags, exercise caution by avoiding contact with darker clothing items like blue jeans to prevent any color transfer.
Cleaning and Storing Tips
When it comes to maintaining the beauty of your cherished bags, Mark recommends the Cadillac leather lotion cleaner and conditioner, Meltonian all-purpose cleaner, and a dash of water repellent. And for their storage? A dust bag cocoon and soft tissue paper stuffing to protect against dust, moisture, humidity, and sunlight. It’s very important to remember to properly store dark-colored items as they may lead to color transfer when stored with other bags. Shop cleaning and story essentials here.
Below is a before & after of my vintage Chanel vanity if you’re like and need. to. see. the. proof! This is one of the bags Mark repaired for me. To say I was SHOOK is an understatement!
What to Look For and What to Avoid
Considering a vintage designer bag? Mark has some caveats. Missing parts, large tears, unpleasant odors, and color transfers are red flags that should make you think twice. While you may think a slight odor is no biggie, Mark warns that even though they might look clean, they can harbor some bacteria and is difficult to eliminate. However, if you’re in doubt about the condition of a bag, send him images via Instagram to ask if he’s able to repair them.
The Spa Treatment
Mark suggests a professional treatment every 6 months to a year to keep your bag looking brand new. However, should you detect any damage, swift action is the key to preserving their beauty. Mark is local to Los Angeles and can easily arrange for pickup/delivery; he also offers shipping services if you’re out of the area.
Canvas and Exotics
Mark’s discerning eye turns towards vintage exotic bags, cautioning against their purchase due to their tendency to dry out, resulting in irreparable cracks. Canvas bags are more prone to color fading compared to other types of bags. Mark recommends keeping them away from direct sunlight to preserve its vibrancy.
Mark’s Pick: The Timeless Charm of Vintage Chanel
And finally, a glimpse into Mark’s personal style – his heart belongs to the vintage Chanel double flap bag. A true classic that transcends trends, just like Mark’s timeless wisdom in the world of luxury bags.
If you’re looking for an export to ensure your luxury bags remain in tip top shape, Mark is the man to make it happen!