Luxury Restoration Part 1 – An Introduction To Chicologie and I
“Luxury Collection Curation aids in the building and maintaining of a polished and personalized personal collection of luxury leather goods and other accessories as significant sentimental, fashionable, and financial investments. My philosophy in restoration is simple; I prefer repairs over replacements, restoring the beauty and physical integrity of a piece without covering up or removing the history or character.”
I know, I know. I started the collection curation post set with that line, but it's relevant here again. The key word now would be 'maintaining'- and one type of maintenance in particular. Restoration seems to be everyone's favorite part of what I do, and it's been the consistent part of this business that has let me grow it into what it is. I got into restoration, frankly, because when I started I could only afford vintage, well loved bags. By 'vintage, well loved bags' I mean truly junky old designer bags; think Night of the Living Dead for Saks 5th Ave. I would then get to work finding ways to experiment with my own pieces to try to make them presentable, at least.
Through years of research and trial and error, I've developed my own set of techniques and products that can give bags all the freshening, cleaning and repairs they could ever need without making them look brand new. I work exclusively within this niche for two reasons; one, making a bag look brand new if it isn't already nearly new is an intense, extraordinarily expensive process that strains the structural integrity and authenticity of a bag. More importantly, at least to me, is the beauty in a piece that hasn't had the unique type of character a bag collects through being carried erased or covered up.
Typically, a full restoration on a bag is a 5 step process averaging (with much variation) $100 and consisting of the following;
- A full exterior deep clean (the hidden dirt on a handbag is shocking and often frightening)
- Detailed hardware cleaning and polish
- Zipper, closure, and structural stitching checks (with repairs as needed)
- Lining spot cleaning
- Corner and edge touch ups
- Any additional services needed
Granted, some instances do call for major surgery, per se. Certain things, say red wine or a car door (from very unfortunate personal experience), can put a bag in need of some major help, which I also do, but luckily it's not needed too often. These services vary greatly on a case-by-case basis, but two things are consistent; I strongly recommend not trying to fix or clean it yourself first, since in the dozen or so instances that I have had that happen, it's never worked out. Additionally, never decide your piece is beyond help. In the very worst case scenario- I will buy it for parts.
Bags age, and they collect minimal wear, tear and dirt even if you're incredibly careful them. It may not be visible, but it's there. Personally, I clean my newer bags twice a year, and my vintage ones four times a year- I recommend at least half that cycle to keep beloved (regularly used) bags healthy and fresh for decades.
Basic maintenance starts at $50 and varies based on condition. Maintenance plans can be arranged. In short, maintenance usually provides the following, at minimum.
- Lessens or postpones the likelihood of permanent slouching or misshaping
- Minimizes noticeable wear spots and color transfer
- Lessens or postpones the likelihood of damage
Next week I'll cover the process using a recounting of one of my personal favorite restoration projects. To celebrate the restoration blog series, all restored items in the shop are on sale, up to 35% off! Click or double tap here.