CASE STUDY: BALENCIAGA CITY BAG
Who would have thought the original motorcycle bag was a controversial instalment in the Balenciaga chronicles. Introduced by then creative director, Nicolas Ghesquière, it contrasted with the strict angular styles the fashion house was known for at the time. The motorcycle bag was soft and relaxed in shape, without branding, and made from intentionally distressed leathers.
The Balenciaga City edition we have today, in Blanc Crème lambskin, features the Giant 12 hardware in aged brass and trademark long tassel zip pulls. It is designed to be easy and used everyday for those Mary Poppins moments when your carrying your entire life in one bag. It’s a keeper!
As intended, the leather on this bag has aged gracefully, taking on its own unique personality. But it has started to look tired on the corners, the handles have darkened considerably from carrying and the signature plaiting detail has weakened. Balenciaga bags are weekly regulars at The Restory so our Atelier team can create a big impact with finessed results.
The designed, crackled effect of the leather means over time, a second tonal colour will be visible. For the areas that are very scuffed or entirely worn out, we are able to re-create the leather colour, but not the exact crackled texture. Here, the bag will still preserve its slouchy, crinkled look so it will not limit the restoration too much.
The overall hue has darkened and slightly yellowed, as is the nature of light coloured leathers. Although it is a work intensive process, the cleaning of the whole bag, including the lining, has a dramatic effect. Here the plaited cord is fully removed in preparation to fully replace.
REFRESH AND RESTORE
Adding a new edge sealant to the handles and strap edges of the bag can have a transforming effect. The original edge finish tends to become cracked, or can peal off completely from heavy use. Once replaced, the bag looks refreshed.
Where the colour is no longer present, we apply leather paint in very thin layers to retain the original crackled texture. Lastly, a sealant is applied as a final coat to protect the leather and the careful restoration work. The decorative finishing touch is threading a new plaited cord onto the handles.