How to Spot a Fake!
Let’s get detailed! Now that we have established the basics in how to identify real qualities in popular luxury purses, it’s time to get more intricate with our knowledge in – HOW TO SPOT A FAKE! This month’s blog will focus on two of the most iconic (and replicated) brands out there, Louis Vuitton and Chanel. Since the likelihood of getting stung with a convincing replica of these two brands is very high, we want to get more detailed with our readers to insure you know the smallest of details to catch that fake - even without having the purse in your hands!
In last month’s blog we briefly touched on three major giveaway signs when it comes to authenticating a Louis Vuitton purse – the stamping, the iconic monogram pattern and the leather trim. If you haven’t read that blog yet, it’s time to do so now so you don’t miss any tips that we don’t repeat this month!
- Zippers: Many Louis Vuitton purses like the ‘Neverfull’ or ‘Cabas’ come with an inner pocket – if this inner pocket has a zipper closure (some styles like the Speedy don’t), the zipper to shut this pocket sits on the left side when closed. Most fake zippers are on the right when zipped shut. This is a small but over looked detail many replicas get wrong!
- The Thread: I’m sure you have read in many other blogs that all stitching should be even and straight – this is 100% true, however, this is applicable to the majority of luxury purses. When it comes to LV thread, make sure it is a mustard yellow colour. This seems slightly jarring at first when the purse is brand new.
- Ring Hooks: Louis Vuitton uses brass D hooks with rounded edges; one side is flat which is where a handle or strap is attached. Fakes generally use perfectly circular hooks. Fakes also tend to use a coated plastic for their hardware. Insure this is a true brass metal hook.
- Date Codes: Before the early 1980’s Louis Vuitton bags did not date codes – so don’t panic if you are looking at a vintage LV with none! However, most Louis Vuitton bags on sale in today’s market are from relatively recent collections and should have date codes. This code is stamped into suede lining and is generally very subtle – sometimes even hard to read if the bag has been used. If this purse is a style like a ‘Neverful’ that has a canvas interior, the date code will be found on a small leather tab. The actual placement of these codes in the interior is bag-specific so make sure you do your homework on each style of purse. These codes follow a format that tells you where and when it was made. The letters indicate the place and numbers indicate the time. This means, that if a purse is made in the same place in the same month, it is likely that more than one bag can have that same date code – So don’t presume it is fake if you have spotted one with the same date code before! Here are example of some of the letters used in date codes:
FRANCE: AO, A1, A2, AN, AR, AS, BA, BJ, CT, DU, FL, LW, MB, MI, NO, RA, RI, SD (also USA), SL, SN, SP, SR, TH, VI
USA: FH, OS, SD (also France)
SPAIN: CA, LO, LB, LM
- Stamping: As mentioned in last month's blog, the Louis Vuitton stamping that is heat embossed into the leather tab on the inside is a big give away and often it can easily allow you to determine a fake bag or not from this one detail. This is an important one - so worth mentioning in this month’s blog again! First pay attention to the embossing, make sure it is refined and clear. The leather rectangle that is embossed should be refined and have sharp edges – many have rounded edges. Next, check if the ‘O’ is almost perfectly circular – not like this ‘0’. The ‘O’ should also look considerably bigger than the ‘L’. The ‘L’ has a very short tail on the bottom. Finally check out the two ‘T’s. These should be extremely close together, yet, NEVER touching.
- The Monogram LV Pattern: This iconic monogram should always start and finish in the same, symmetrical pattern. Louis Vuitton is obsessive about the placement of their iconic print and pay strong attention to the cut off points such as seams and handles. Take a look at the following to understand what we mean better:
LV+LV+LV: Correct → Begins and ends with ‘LV’: symmetrical pattern
LV+LV+LV+: Incorrect → Begins with ‘LV’ ends with ‘+’: unsymmetrical pattern
This is not only applicable when looking at the face or sides of the bag, but also note that when you look down at a birds-eye view of the purse, it should be mirrored and symmetrical either side of the zipper also.
- Heat Stamped Leather Outer Tab: Many Louis Vuitton purses like the Speedy have an outer leather tab. On this you will find a registered trademark symbol (®) with “LOUIS VUITTON” (font following same characteristics as discussed in previous point) directly under. Under that, it should say “PARIS” (All caps) and directly under that again should say “Made in France” (‘F’ caps, rest lower case). Another give away from this tab is a small ‘V’ of stitching above the font. This V has 4 stitches on either line and the point of the V comes down almost touching the ® symbol - Many fakes don’t come down as far.
- The Lining: The interior lining is always a last thought for fakes. Sometimes they will have a reasonably nice suede interior, but it is important to know not all Louis Vuitton’s have suede-like interiors. Knowing what lining to expect in each style you look at is important. The most popular brown Monogram canvas purses (such as a Speedy and Neverfull) generally have a medium-brown, plain canvas lining or in some cases a micro monogramed canvas (Neverfull). If you are looking at a black multicoloured LV, they generally have a greyish-beige alcantara (suede like material) lining and a white multicolor LV has a deep red alcantara lining. Some other popular styles such as the ‘Damier’ have canvas lining, an ‘Epi’ leather bag has an alcantara lining and finally a ‘Vernis’ has a canvas interior lining that matches the exterior colour.
Overall gut feeling of quality is your first give-away to identifying a fake Chanel purse (and the majority of luxury purses). You should be able to see and feel impeccable quality on every detail of the bag. However, some replicas have gotten so good they may leave you second-guessing. The first giveaway should always be the initial observation of shape, proportion and weight of the purse. If you don’t have the opportunity to feel the weight of the purse or, the proportions do seem accurate, don't worry – there are plenty more telltale signs!
- The Leather: The two most common types of leather used on a Chanel purse are lambskin leather or pebbled calfskin. The lambskin should appear smooth and soft looking, and if you have the opportunity to touch it, you will notice the incredibly soft hand to this leather. For the pebbled calfskin you will note it's grainy but still extremly soft texture. If you can’t get to see the leather in reality – see if the leather texture in the photo provided is unique and not even or symmetrical like most fake leathers. Finally, check for glue on the leather, Chanel does not use glue on their leather– only refined and even stitching.
- The Quilting: As also mentioned in last months blog, this is a huge give-away that is worth reiterating. The diamond pattern should always line up evenly and diagonally creating parallel lines. When the bag is open or closed there should be no disjointed parallel lines. Many Chanels also have back pockets that should line up with the under quilting also. Another additional feature to note when talking about the diamond shaped quilting is the stitch count. Generally there are 10 stitches per inch on each face of the diamond shape; most fakes only have about 9! Finally when it comes to quilting, a lot of replicas can't pull it off. Generally the quilting is too think and puffy or else too flat - make sure to contrast images of other similar styles of authentic Chanels.
- The CC Lock: Once again, this detail was briefly discussed in our last blog. Make sure that the overlapping C’s should be in a particular order. The right ‘C’ should be overlapping the left 'C' on the top, the left ‘C’ should be overlapping the right on the bottom. There are generally no engravings on the CC front part of the lock on these purses. A point that was not discussed yet is that these ‘CC’s on authentic Chanels are cut very square with flat edges, most fakes will have soft rounded edges. Finally, make sure to check the back of the lock to see the screws used. Chanel only uses small flat-headed screws with the logo finely engraved into the back plate to attach this piece of hardware.
- The Chain Strap: If you are shopping for Vintage Chanel, note that their chain straps will have a link that isn’t treaded through. However, contemporary Chanel bags (from 2008-2009 onward) feature every link threaded with the leather straps folded back on itself and stitched. When you are observing this stitching, make sure you can only see this stitching visible from one side! Next, look at where the metal chain breaks. This should be well concealed by the interwoven leather strap. Many fakes don’t bother to refine details like this, allowing you to easily see the break in where the chains are joined and closed.
- The Shape: Chanel generally has a very structured square shape to their purses; if you notice rounded edges on a purse, it is more than likely a fake. The purse should stand strong and have no bulges in any one area with square corners. When a bag does not have that visibly boxy shape, it is a sign that the leather has not been turned out properly after construction – AKA bad craftsmanship. Dimensions of the shape are another obvious detail, head over to the official Chanel website to get purse dimensions to compare if you have the chance to see this purse in reality – or if the seller provides honest dimensions of the style.
- Authenticity Cards: First note that if a bag comes with a tag attached like a price tag – it is more than likely fake. Chanel does not put tags on their bags to sell them. However, they do issue authenticity cards. These cards were introduced at the same time as the serial numbers, and therefore bags made prior to 1984 do not come with authenticity cards. These cards are plastic and almost resemble a credit card. There is no hologram effect on the metallic part of the card. Many fakes have these cards inside plastic sleeves which is a big give away. Chanel place their authenticity cards inside an off-white paper envelope.
- The Stamping: Many fakes have a gold paint stamped onto the leather. This paint sits on top of the leather unlike the real stamp, which is embossed INTO the leather. This Chanel stamp that is embossed into the leather leaves a noticeable indent. The width of a genuine Chanel logo is around 3.3cm. Also bare in mind, if the hardware on the bag is silver, the stamp will also be silver. If the hardware is gold, the stamp will be gold.
- The Dust Bag: Last but not least, take a look at the dust bag. Over time, authentic Chanel bags have come with either white or black dust bag, with contrasting white or black font. All of Chanel’s latest collections only feature black dust bags with white writing. The material should feel like stiff cotton. Finally, take note that the shape of the dust bag is rectangular with square corners. The font should be thick and bold with evenly spaced letters.
Hopefully this guide has helped with self authenticating some of your favourite purses out there as well as giving you some assurance that all of our products at Lux Second Chance are 100% authentic. Not only are we confident they are, but also we want you to be just as confident!
If you would like to have a look at our selection of beautiful pre-loved purses shop here! https://luxsecondchance.com/pages/handbag-brands