Q: Hello Bagaholicboy, first of all, thank you for your wonderful blog! It’s fascinating and captivating.
I would like to seek care advice from you on my first bag purchase from Louis Vuitton. I bought the Estrela 2 weeks ago and have only used it twice before noticing slight stain marks on the leather at the 4 lower corners of my bag. I’m assuming the stains are caused by raindrops. Do you have any suggestions on how I can protect my leather from further damage, as well as any ways to remove the existing stains?
A: Thanks for your email, Veet. For purposes of illustrating your question better, I’m using an image of the Monogram Canvas Alma BB, which features the extensive use of vachetta leather on its base, top handles, shoulder sling and hanging clochette, which is where you’ll find the key for the padlock.
Vachetta leather is untreated, with no additional coating added, which leaves it susceptible to water and stains, including ink from pens and grubby little fingers. If left untreated, the vachetta leather will attain a rich patina over time, which will give the bag its own personality and character, as no two bags will patina (or age) the same way).
If, however, you’re going ‘Noooo….’ whilst reading this, there are ways to get around it. I recommend getting a leather conditioner or a protectant (brands like Bally, Coach and Mulberry sell their own creams and conditioners) that should be applied as soon as you purchase the bag. It should protect it from those minor accidents, but will also darken the leather, which is something you’ll have to accept.
The other way is to just sun your bag regularly every weekend for a couple of months, making sure you give both sides the same amount of time. Besides giving it a more even patina (sunlight will darken the leather), stains that occur in the future will not look so obvious.
As for myself, while I used to worry about my vachetta-trimmed pieces getting all stained and dirty, nowadays it’s more the case of ‘whatever will be, will be’, which besides removing all stress from the enjoyment of owning a new bag, also means I can always recognise my own beat-up Monogram Canvas Keepall45 amongst a pile of similar bags because of its distinctive markings.
And other bits…
1. Wang, if you’re looking for a men’s clutch and tote in Paris (not sure what’s your budget, though), you could check out Fauré Le Page and Goyard for smart zipped folios/clutches, and Moynat for coated-canvas totes that could be customised with your initials.
2. Sally, if you’re keen to get yourself an MCM bag in Singapore, they do have a store at Changi Airport Terminal 2 for now. But if you’re not travelling out of the country at the moment, you could drop them a call with your order; just check out this post for more details.
3. Jacq, with regards to storing your bags, I recommend getting a shelving unit with differently-sized cubby-holes so that the larger bags (just keeping them in their dust bags will do) can sit on the bottom shelf and your SLGS and accessories (which you can store in their original boxes) on the top few.
Image: Louis Vuitton