“How do I know it’s real though…?” – the question everyone wonders when considering a pre-loved designer purse.Since all of us at Lux Second Chance are also ultimate purse lovers, we decided to share our gathered knowledge with our readers and customers! This blog will give you a must-know run down of some top characteristics to be aware of when you are considering purchasing a bag by some of your favorite brands. Of course at Lux Second Chance, WE insure your bag is authentic for you, however, we also want to put your mind at ease allowing our fellow purse fanatics to always feel rest assured with their decisions and purchases. Although the examples to follow are specific to some of the most popular brands in the purse world, do note that a lot of the features focused on here are similar details to watch out for in the majority of luxury purses. No matter what the brand, attention should always be given to the details on the hardware, materials used, stitching, shape and even serial numbers – if something doesn’t seem right, it’s probably because it’s not! … But now, it’s time get more specific!
Authenticating my Céline
First, let’s take a look at Céline. This brand founded in Paris during the 1940’s is known for its simple yet functional and highly crafted designs. The brand has steadily grown over the decades with a major jump into the limelight particularly after 2008. This boost in popularity is in correlation to the time Phoebe Philo was appointed as art director of the brand. From then, Céline has had numerous ‘it’ bags - such as The Luggage Tote and The Céline Trapeze. These styles have now become two of the world’s most recognized bags – and commonly sell out before they even hit the stores!
Although this example focuses on the Mini Luggage Tote, all of the key characteristics are applicable to most, if not all of Céline’s purses.
- The Logo: There should be a crisp and clear logo, which is heat stamped into the leather exterior and the interior tab. Note: the logo always has an accent aigu on the ‘é’ in ‘Céline’ and the word ‘PARIS’ is directly placed under the ‘CÉLINE’
- The Hardware: Céline uses antique-finished hardware. This means the zips and buckles do not look shinny or highly polished. The zippers should also be unbranded. Unlike other designers, Céline is one of the few with no markings on the zippers.
- The Serial Number: Each bag has a serial number located on a leather tab on the inside. They should always conform to the following format: One letter. Two letters. Four numbers. For example: W - MM - 0173
- The Lining: Most totes have matching leather lining. The interior leather should feel just as soft and high quality as the exterior leather.
Authenticating my Hermès
Next, we move on to the covetable and arguably the most exclusive brand of handbag in the world, Hermès. Thierry Hermès established this Parisian Fashion House in 1837, which, was originally a saddler. They created handcrafted bridals and harnesses for all equine needs. Since working with leather quickly became the backbone to the company’s philosophy, Hermès continued to perfect the craftsmanship like no other. In 1922, there was a transition into the fashion world when they created their first handbag, which was and is still known for durability and high functioning purses. Fast-forward to today and Hermès is now one of the most sought after and recognized brands, creating some of the world’s most expensive handbags. Hermès is not only expensive, but also you need a customer history profile before being considered as an owner of a Birkin bag!
This handbag below is the Clemence Birkin in a vibrant orange. As mentioned in the previous example, these features brought to light are applicable to any Hermès, and also general areas of observation on most high quality leather bags.
- The Shape: First and foremost, take a step back and check out the overall shape of the purse. It should appear crisp and pronounced with no bulges and will always stand up straight - even the handles!
- The Hardware: The hardware such as the front lock, clasp and buckles should have a nice weight to it and not feel hollow. The front lock and zipper should also have thin and refined engravings of ‘Hermès’.
- The Stitching: The Birkin is always hand stitched and is always a key feature of the design of the bag. Each stitch should be even and straight - if there are any stitches too tight or too loose, it should raise a suspicion.
Authenticating my Chanel
Chanel, famous for many things such as the little black dress, No.5 perfume, the feminized suit and of course that quilted little purse with the chain shoulder strap. Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel – the mastermind behind this instantly recognizable and iconic brand originally founded Chanel as an haute couture fashion house in 1915. In 1929, Coco designed her first bag - a hand carried purse. However, like all the other bags available to upper class women in this era it was cumbersome design to be carried in the hands. In order to revolutionize this design, she created the shoulder purse changing handbag history forever. In 1955 the original Chanel shoulder bag debuted, which was not only an innovative design but also broke social norms, now allowing woman to carry bags on their shoulders - liberating women’s freedom of movement. Since then, Chanel has effortlessly continued to create elegant purses with that iconic CC clasp and quilted leather with a timeless class no other brand can compete with.
This purse below is the double flap Caviar Jumbo purse. The purse has two of the most iconic features of a Chanel purse, the quilting and that chain shoulder strap.
- The CC: The right C must always overlap on top of the left C. The iconic CC also doubles as a turnstile lock – flat head screws are only ever used to secure the back plate of this lock to the leather.
- The Chain Strap: The iconic shoulder strap made from linked chains contains hardware that is heavier than expected and it will always match the colour of the metallic logo stamps. Chanel's first bags had all-chain straps. Over the Chanel Flap Bags' histories, several different types of chains have come and gone. However, Classic Flaps only use leather-woven chain straps and modern 2.55s only use all-chain straps.
- The Quilting: The quilting should always maintain a consistent diamond pattern even when the front flap is closed over. Each diagonal line should continue in a straight line regardless of where on the bag.
Authenticating my Louis Vuitton
Louis Vuitton was a French box-maker who founded the luxury brand over 150 years ago when he created a flat trunk with an innovative lock system and gave the trunk the ability to be stacked for travelling. Vuitton's innovations quickly saw his signature trunks coveted around the world! In 1896 the iconic logo monogram pattern on canvas was born and helped to eliminate knock-off trunks and bags – it is one of the most recognizable attributes to any brand. Years later the brand expanded into purses, wallets, travel accessories, shoes and clothing creating one major fashion power house. To this day, Louis Vuitton is the most replicated brand in the world - beware!
This example below is the Louis Vuitton Multicoloured Speedy Noir 30 with gold hardware.
- The LV Stamp: Pay attention to the font of the stamped logo! The bottom on the ‘L’ should have a very short tail whilst the ‘O’'s are round and wide, looking considerably larger than the ‘L’. The two T's side by side are almost, if not actually appear touching. And of course, as mentioned in previous examples, the stamp should be crisp and clear!
- The Monogram: The “LV” symbol on a Monogram Canvas Speedy bag or Keepall bag will always have one side upside down. It’s made from one large piece of canvas that wraps the whole way around, leaving one side always facing upside down. Note, some vintage LV's are an exception to this rule of thumb!
- The Leather Trim: Vachetta leather is natural leather used to trim most of their bags. This generally becomes darker over time, even without use! This happens from sunlight, oxygen and other atmospheric elements.
Catch Part 2 of this Blog next month - HOW TO SPOT A FAKE LOUIS VUITTON AND CHANEL