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


Case Study


Reviving Vintage Gucci

Emily John
 After: the Gucci Ophidia GG Supreme Small Shoulder Bag

After: the Gucci Ophidia GG Supreme Small Shoulder Bag

Transcending seasons, Gucci is continuously on top of the accessories game and unsurprisingly, the most varied items cross our atelier for restoration. So when we got our hands on several vintage designs it was unanimously agreed that together, these would make the ultimate Gucci case study. See how we revived some of this season’s hottest accessories below.

 

Ophidia GG Supreme Small Shoulder bag

Although the Ophidia looks like a vintage bag, it is widely available for sale through Gucci and resellers alike- vintage is the new ‘new’ after all. The GG logo stems from the 1970’s and characterised by the Gucci canvas motif paired with the instantly recognisable Web- stripe in the middle, this bag is definitely a brand classic. The small shoulder bag we received was generally in good condition but some fading had started to occur over time. Particularly the edges of the shoulder strap showed signs of wear as the leather had dried out and started to crack. Note: this can usually be prevented by regular conditioning, which will keep the leather supple and make it less susceptible to outside elements.

The edges of the strap had also started to fray and in order to revive them, we had to carefully sand back the edges on either side and reapply edge paint to seal the leather.  Afterwards, we used a mix of dye and cream to reinvigorate the brown leather and enhance the overall look of the bag. The zip puller had also lost some of its original lustre so we hand matched the colour of the zip and painted the metal with a material specific paint.

 Before: frayed corners on the Gucci wallet

Before: frayed corners on the Gucci wallet

 

Vintage Gucci wallet

Small leather goods like wallets tend to show the most wear and tear since they are usually kept in back pockets of trousers where a lot of friction occurs. Consequently, the corners of the vintage wallet were frayed, which can eventually turn into a tear in the fabric. The loose threads had to be trimmed (with a sharp blade) and melted to create a smooth finish and stop any further fraying. Afterwards, the leather edges were reworked with a fine tool. Leather also tends to wear thin due to continuous pressure and abrasion that happens with usage so it is advisable to carry small leathers in a bag or in the front pocket of a jacket to prolong the life of a small leather good. The leather flap and pocket only required a bit of reconditioning that was carried out with a mix of dye and cream to improve its colour and texture. As a finishing touch, the hardware was cleaned and polished to remove the tarnish that is common on most vintage items.

 

Vintage Gucci Suitcase

The original handles of this vintage suitcase were completely destroyed and too far gone in order to salvage them in any way. Since luggage handles need to have the strength to carry the load, the only option left was to create new handles. First, we sourced durable leather and our colour specialist hand matched the colour to the original handles of the Gucci suitcase. Again, a mix of cream and dye was applied to nourish the leather whilst colouring. Once the correct tone was achieved, we also used the original handles to create a new pattern. The leather was cut up and stitched onto the original D-rings of the suitcase. Lastly, the raw edge of the new handles was sealed and coloured so the leather would blend in and appear smooth to the touch.

 

 Before: broken handles on the Gucci suitcase

Before: broken handles on the Gucci suitcase

Additionally, the piping around the corners of the luggage was missing pieces of the original leather so these had to be filled, covered and re-coloured. The body showed some surface stains that required direct attention and spot treatment, whereas the rest of the leather on the suitcase was mostly faded, dried out and calling out for some nourishment. We were able to colour this by using the exact same dye as for the handles. Especially vintage leathers require more than one application to fully ‘feed’ the leather and restore some of the natural oils that are present in leather. The below after picture of the suitcase shows how the reinvigorated leather looks shiny and lustrous instead of the dull and brittle state it originally arrived in at our atelier.

Another part that required attention was the Gucci Web stripe as it seemed stripped bare on certain parts due to excessive scuffing and years of usage. Although it’s fairly impossible to refill the holes and spots that were left behind, we used a light coat of paint to bring some of the vibrancy back to the red stripe and made sure the colour was set with the heat of an iron.  

 Heat setting the colour

Heat setting the colour

 After: new handles and reconditioned leather

After: new handles and reconditioned leather

Whether your accessory is vintage and loved or this seasons latest purchase, The Restory is able to tailor aftercare to item specific needs. You can revive an old classic or service your new Gucci shoes and bag to prolong the life of any product and make sure it ages beautifully. Book a collection below or use our convenient drop-off location at the Harvey Nichols Knightsbridge store.