Shoe Repair London, Handbag Repairs London - The Restory, London

Iconic Handbag: The Hermès Kelly

Emily John
 Crocodile Hermès Kelly

Crocodile Hermès Kelly

Before there was Birkin, there was Kelly- Grace Kelly that is. Apparently, Grace Kelly first encountered the ‘Sac à Dépêches’ on the set of To Catch a Thief, when the costume designer decided to dress Kelly in a few items from Hermès - it was love at first sight. After leaving Hollywood for the life of a princess, Grace Kelly stepped out in 1956 carrying a crocodile Hermès bag cleverly positioned to hide her pregnancy from the paparazzi. That exact moment was captured on film and helped solidify the name of the bag, which was officially renamed the ‘Kelly’ in 1977. But before we explore what many consider to be their ultimate Holy Grail handbag, lets take a moment and step into the luxurious time machine of the House of Hermès.

 Prince Rainier & Grace Kelly 

Prince Rainier & Grace Kelly 

 Grace Kelly carrying ‘ Sac à D  é  p  ê  ches’

Grace Kelly carrying ‘Sac à Dépêches’

Rewinding 140 years, it all started in 1837 when Thierry Hermès founded Maison Hermès after learning how to master the leather craft in Pont Audemer, near Paris. Originally a harness and bridle workshop, Hermès provided equestrian riding supplies to European aristocrats. Their reputation as one of the finest saddlery makers in the world grew and so did their business, as they went on to supply a Russian Tsar with a large quantity of saddles. Amusingly, it’s also said that Hermès’ first client was the horse.

 1957 Hermès Kelly Advert

1957 Hermès Kelly Advert

The house then started producing the Haut à Courroies, a bag especially created for riders to carry saddles and other riding accessories in, and even created the first leather garment with their patented zipper; a golf jacket for the Prince of Wales. Later in the 1930’s, Robert Dumas went on to design the Kelly bag as we know it by converting the original Haut à Courroies into a roomy travel bag with the name Sac à Dépêches.

Being the more discreet sibling of the two, the design of the Kelly is more formal and demure than the Birkin’s. It has a boxy trapezoid shape with a top handle accompanied by a detachable leather shoulder strap while the interior contains one large zip compartment and two open pockets to store away smaller items like your phone and favourite lipstick.

 

Les Ateliers Hermès

As to be expected from a brand of this magnitude, the quality and workmanship at Hermès is unparalleled. To give you a little clue: a leatherworker receives two years of training at the Hermès atelier supervised by an artisan before they go on to produce handbags. As one of the exceptions in the handbag industry, Hermès does not use any assembly lines. And a single craftsman takes 18 to 24 hours to create a Kelly bag from start to finish. Their attention to detail is equally astonishing: the hides for the bags arrive at the atelier symmetrically arranged and readied for the artisans to cut the leather and hand-stitch the pieces together. The goatskin lining of the Kelly is the first part to be sewn where after the base of the handbag is stitched with a wax linen thread using the double saddle stitch technique. This method guarantees that if one stitch loosens, the second will still hold.

The handle consists out of 5 different pieces and is the most difficult part to construct. Due to the many internal compartments, it requires about 4 hours to complete. Once put together, it is then shaped by hand and covered with hot wax to protect the leather from soaking up moisture. After adding the front flap, each of the 4 metal feet is hand riveted to the bag body. Fun fact: Hermès actually irons their calfskin bags to smooth over any visible wrinkles on the surface. To finish off, the hardware and the signature gold stamp is placed onto the bag. The final step is to meticulously inspect the handbag for any faults- if an error is detected Hermès ensures the bag will never reach its shop shelves.

 Hermès Atelier in France

Hermès Atelier in France

 Crafting the Handle

Crafting the Handle

 Hermès Kelly Construction

Hermès Kelly Construction

The production process of a Kelly bag involves many more stages subject to that particular leather and we could probably dedicate a book to all their techniques. So let’s have a closer look at the two styles of the Kelly instead: the Sellier and the Retourne. The Sellier has a more formal appearance due to the rigid and structured look of its leather while the Retourne has a slouchier construction with softer leather, giving it a casual air. The most common sizes of the Kelly are the K28, K32 and K35; there are in total 8 different sizes available for purchase.

Veau Box

Mighty in all things leather, Hermès uses a vast amount of exceptional hides for their bags- varying from classic calfskin to more exotic varieties of alligator and lizard. The oldest leather type, and Grace Kelly’s personal favourite, is the Veau Box. A large part of her private collection was made out of this specific leather.  The Veau Box leather is made from the hides of male calves and uniquely treated to give a glossy and grain-less look. The skin is processed and buffed with a special oil and beeswax that gives it a luminous lustre. The Kelly Sellier is usually made out of this leather and comes with many advantages such as being lightweight; retaining shape and aging beautifully, though there are also certain drawbacks. Due to its smooth exterior the leather is more vulnerable to scratches and scuffs. Blisters may also appear on the surface if it comes into contact with water. But never fear, effects from outside elements and general wear can be minimized by reconditioning- just leave your bag in the capable hands of The Restory team!

Veau Barenia

Another popular leather type is the Barenia, which is smooth calfskin tanned using several oils and natural dyes. This type has a special way of aging as the leather darkens over time, creating a unique patina. It’s softer and heavier than the Veau Box and still used to create harnesses and saddles.

Chèvre de Coromandel

One of the most sought after Hermès leathers is the Chèvre de Coromandel; made from the skin of male mountain goats. Because of its robustness and textured grain, the leather remains unaffected by scratches and other blemishes. Soft to the touch, it has a lustrous shine and is lightweight to carry. All this goodness comes at a price, as this beautiful hide is also used on the more expensive spectrum of Hermès Kelly’s.

Just like their extensive techniques, the House of Hermès does not skimp on the quality and variety of hides used for their highly coveted handbags. There are many online guidelines dedicated to the specific leather types used by Hermès, such as this edit by the Purseblog. Apart from scarcity this is one of the many reasons why Hermès bags are continuously in high demand all over the world. The fact that their bags retain value and even appreciate over time is a phenomenon in the luxury leather goods industry that only Hermès is able to enjoy.

Hermes Birkin.JPG
Hermes Birkin The Restory.JPG

If there is one thing we can highly appreciate, it’s the art of the leather craft. At The Restory we frequently provide solutions for covering up scratches, stains and as well as re-edging. And if you are feeling particularly creative, we could also completely re-colour your Hermès bag- as shown below. Additionally, we are able to offer advice on general use and storage. Even if you don’t plan on reselling, it is vital to care for your Hermès bag in the best possible way so it can remain in great condition for generations to come. Your Kelly is an heirloom piece after all. Get in touch with our team today at service@the-restory.com

How To Make The Most Of Your Easter Weekend

Emily John

Easter is upon us and that means spring has officially sprung! Unfortunately, the weather doesn’t seem to agree with us quite yet so make sure to use a protective spray on your boots and sneakers before you venture out in the rain this Easter weekend!

There is a myriad of options available to celebrate Easter your own way but we have managed to make a small selection of things to do in and around London. See our top picks below.

 Hotel Café Royal Easter egg

Hotel Café Royal Easter egg

Luxurious Easter Egg

For the most ornate Easter egg, head over to the Papillon at Hotel Café Royal where pastry chef Sarah Barber has created the most sumptuous of Easter eggs dipped in French Valrhona chocolate. To top it off there is also a mix of white chocolate and raspberry truffles hidden inside to satisfy even the biggest chocolate addicts among us. Dusted in rouge cacao powder and adorned with golden feathers, this work of art will also make the perfect gift or centrepiece.

 

Easter Afternoon Tea

We’ll take any excuse to pretend we are in a Wes Anderson movie – do you really need any more reason to visit Sketch London than to gawk at all that millennial pink? If so, add Afternoon Tea with an Easter twist to your list! Celebrate this weekend with their Easter themed Afternoon tea including treats like eclairs and eggy soldiers while you’re enjoying the flower décors by Carly Rogers. Not to forget, especially for the little ones there is also an Easter egg hunt on Sunday 1st of April.

 Easter themed Afternoon Tea at Sketch

Easter themed Afternoon Tea at Sketch

 Easter Feast

Entertaining guests while serving culinary art during Easter can be a stressful experience. Enter ‘Feasts’ – Sabrina Ghayour’s latest take on Persian flavours to celebrate any occasion with gastronomic ease. Filled with straightforward, easy to follow recipes and beautiful illustrations, this book is very fittingly a feast for the eyes! We are especially keen to try the fig and rose millefeuille for dessert…

 

Easter at Kew Gardens 

Head over to Kew Gardens this weekend for a spring walk and embark on a ‘bunny adventure’, and follow the Peter Rabbit Trail. There is storytelling, origami rabbit making and enough botanical facts to keep the whole family busy. Afterwards, you can treat yourself to the Easter menu at the festival pop up including Easter cupcakes and hot cross buns.

 

Easter Cocktails

Why choose when you can have a perfect mash up of Easter eggs and cocktails? Visit Aviary rooftop bar for the most instagrammable Easter cocktail out there: a mix of Cointreau, Drambuie and Mozart chocolate vodka infused with salted caramel and orange bitters with a tonka bean and orange flake garnish in a chocolate coated glass. Or opt for another boozy dessert in a cup at the Bõkan where they serve El Derado rum paired with orange jam and mascarpone foam in a chocolate egg. What more could you want?

 Easter Cocktails at Aviary

Easter Cocktails at Aviary

 Easter Pops from POP Bakery

Easter Pops from POP Bakery

Easter Pops at POP Bakery

If you are suffering a little Easter egg fatigue then pay a visit to POP Bakery for your Easter pops! These bite size bunny cake pops are tiny pieces of art as they are all hand painted and made by Claire and her team at her little shop in West London. Frequently tested by The Restory team in the Atelier, trust us when we say they taste even better than they look. Custom cake pops are also available but make sure to place your order ahead of time because you don’t want to miss out on all this chocolate goodness.  

 

Easter Getaway

And last but certainly not least, make the most of your time off and plan a quick Easter Getaway. Indulge in laid back luxury at Lime Wood, a five-star country house hotel located in the idyllic countryside of New Forest. The in-house restaurant Hartnett Holder & Co, led by Michelin starred chefs Angela Hartnett and Luke Holder, serves unpretentious Italian cuisine and it gets even better… Their Herb House Spa is equipped with in and (heated) outdoor pools, a Mud House and you can have a mani-pedi or if the weather allows it, practice yoga on their rooftop herb garden- beautiful forest scenery included. As an extra bonus, there is also a train station nearby so you can leave both your car and busy life back in London.

 Hartnett Holder & Co at Lime Wood Hotel

Hartnett Holder & Co at Lime Wood Hotel

 

Considering all these options, your Easter celebrations are bound to be a success. And a few days later, when you’re not sure what to do with your muddy rain boots and smudged sneakers, book a collection at The Restory and we’ll deliver them back to you cleaned and well within no time. Happy Easter!

 

The Restory Edit: Spring Shoe Trends & Tips

Emily John
 Givenchy Cowboy Boots 

Givenchy Cowboy Boots 

Now that the chances of another snow frenzy are reduced to a minimum we can all focus on the finer things that life has to offer like - everyone’s favourite guilty pleasure- shoes! With a great variety of shoe styles this spring, there is something for everyone. Rest assured that once you’ve made your selection, The Restory is here to back up all your shoe queries and needs. So get ready to do some shoe spotting with us!

 

Cowboy Boots

Cowboy boots are making a major comeback this season and the best part is that they are appropriate for now but also during the warmer months paired with a flowy dress at your favourite festival. From high-end rodeo boots at Givenchy to the seasonal western styles at Vestiaire Collective, the choice is yours in the land of the plenty.

 

80’s Style Pumps

The 80’s are having a serious fashion moment and what better way to complement your power suit than with 1980’s inspired stiletto pumps? Primary colours, especially yellow shades, are everywhere this season. The Restory is specialised in transforming shoes with complete colour restorations on leather & satin or we can conceal marks and scuffs from general wear and tear. This 80’s trend might be our favourite shoe throwback after all.

 

Sneakers Of The Future

More than any other shoe style on this list, the sneaker has become a consistent wardrobe staple and this season we are looking at futuristic styles with chunky silhouettes. Washed colours and exaggerated soles are both ‘in’ as seen from the Louis Vuitton Runway and Balenciaga’s triple S sneakers. These could be the comfiest sneaker options to date and to make the choice even easier; we offer a special cleaning service for sneakers so you can wear all your light hued sneakers without a worry.

 Louis Vuitton Sneakers 

Louis Vuitton Sneakers 

Victorian Inspired Heels

This spring, spool heels are taking over the shoe scene by storm and they are easier to wear than you’d guess; the flared heel point ensures steady walking and makes them so much more comfortable. Miu Miu has some of the prettiest curved heels out there but if you are looking for a more sculpted look then Celine’s ankle boots are right up your alley.

 

Plastic Fantastic

Chanel doused their whole SS18 collection in plastic and was notably the biggest advocate for PVC- cue in the must have rain boots of the season. And as if to make a point about just how waterproof the collection was, they had immense waterfalls installed at the venue of their show. See through accessories are major for spring/summer and our team at the Atelier can add clear ankle straps to your sandals or refashion your shoes with PVC. Let’s just hope we’ll only need them for sartorial purposes and not to brave the British weather!

 Chanel Rain Boots

Chanel Rain Boots

 Prada Socks in Sandals

Prada Socks in Sandals

Socks In Heels

Another trend we can’t seem to shake is socks in heels, preferably in bright or clashing colours- tricky to pull off but oh so amazing when paired with heeled sandals. If you are still unsure about how to style them, take a cue from the street style stars and start stocking up on those socks.

 

Bedazzled Shoes

Bring out the bling! All the magpies out there can breathe a sigh of relief; embellishment is going big this spring. Dolce & Gabbana is consistently upping the ante on all things bejewelled and especially when it comes to shoes so you can never go wrong. With all the jewels, bows and flowers you won’t be able to tell your shoes apart from your jewellery! We have a team of in-house artisans who are able to embellish accessories so if you feel like glamming up your footwear game then book a collection and receive a bespoke consultation from our team!

 
 Embellishing Poletta Sandals at The Restory Atelier

Embellishing Poletta Sandals at The Restory Atelier

 

Mules

Mules are here to stay! Slipping shoes on and off has never been easier and for this season there is a mixture of styles available ranging from classic office appropriate options to bold printed heeled mules from Versace.

 

After all this footwear talk and a fair share of shoe-spiration, all that’s left for us to say is happy shopping! To keep your newly acquired treasures in pristine condition, we’d recommend scheduling a little post-summer pick me up session for your shoes at The Restory.

 

Celebrating International Women's Day!

Emily John
 Women for Women International Afghanistan class - Image by Rada Akbar

Women for Women International Afghanistan class - Image by Rada Akbar

We are thrilled to be supporting Women for Women International at their upcoming flagship fashion event, the #SheInspiresMe Car Boot Sale. Featuring fashion’s leading designers, style icons and industry insiders, who are all clearing out their wardrobes to raise vital funds for the work the organization does for women survivors of war – we are inviting you to the chicest car boot sale in the world!

The Restory is welcoming  all your donations for the Car Boot Sale and giving you the opportunity to get involved this International Women’s Day. Please find more info about the Car Boot Sale here  Help a woman survivor of war take the first step on a journey to rebuilding her life after the horrors of war:

-       Join The Restory with over 40 other fashionistas and brands at the Women for Women International #SheInspiresMe Car Boot Sale on Saturday 12th May at Brewer Street Park.

-       To support please send in leather accessories to The Restory, our Client Services Team will assist you with complimentary collections and we will be happy to restore them and increase their value for the Car Boot Sale; all proceeds go to Women for Women International.

-       Take part in the special International Women’s Day #MessageToMySister Campaign - join Helen Mirren, Sophie Turner and thousands of others and send a message of support and solidarity to tell women survivors of war ‘You are not alone’

 Women for Women International Rwanda class - Image by Rada Akbar

Women for Women International Rwanda class - Image by Rada Akbar

In celebration of International Women’s Day we invited our friends at Women for Women International to share the incredible work they do to serve women in countries affected by war and conflict. For 25 years, Women for Women International has provided training and solidarity to more than 462,000 women around the world – empowering them to break free from poverty and make their voices heard. The heart of their organization is connecting women to a support network locally – with women in their training group who become friends, confidantes, and business partners – and globally, with women like ourselves, who share their hopes for a more peaceful future. Despite enduring violence, poverty, persecution and facing a daily struggle to protect their children and support their families, these women’s resilience and remarkable achievements are truly inspiring.

Women for Women International works with women living in some of the world’s most dangerous places – where there has been recent conflict and instability, or where war has left a traumatic, enduring legacy. Sadly, conflict affects women and children more than any other group and you see women when they are at their most vulnerable; they have seen family members killed, experienced sexual violence, and been forced to flee their home in search of safety.  Many have taken on the role of sole breadwinner and are both caring and providing for their families at times of crisis. Because they are women, they face additional barriers; they are often denied the right to own land, get an education, work outside the home, or have an equal say in household financial decisions.

Women for Women International provide women with the support they need to take steps towards a better future.  When they join the 12-month programme, women come together in classes of 25, meeting other women who have been through similar experiences so they are no longer on their own. They learn practical skills to start a small business and begin earning an income. Often, it’s the first time they’ve had money of their own, and can decide how to spend and save it.  Women also learn about protecting their own and their children’s health, and understand their legal rights.

 Women for Women International Rwanda - Image by Rada Akbar

Women for Women International Rwanda - Image by Rada Akbar

The women they work with have overcome unimaginable ordeals. With the right support, these women can begin to thrive. Take Grace in Rwanda, for example…

When her husband died three years ago, Grace and her five children were left with nothing. “I was alone and had to take care of the children who were all very young at the time. I couldn’t imagine them growing without their father around. He was the one who provided for them – school materials, food ...”

The Women for Women International programme proved to be a lifeline for Grace. She recalls, “Women for Women International came and took me out of my loneliness. They taught me how to save, to manage the household ... After I joined, my life got back on track. I even bought some small livestock and put my kids through school. By the end of this year, I will have achieved something big. I’m thinking of opening my own shop and expanding my activities.”

There are so many more women like Grace who are in desperate need of a helping hand to guide them through the difficulties they face on a daily basis. Help us help Women for Women International empower women around the world and get in touch with The Restory to send in your donations. See you at the Car Boot Sale!