CASE STUDY: The Exotic Skin Clutch
Today’s case study spotlights the 'Jamie' a classy python clutch by American designer Tyler Ellis. In this edition of luxe bags Tyler has combined the classic with racy materials in ice cream pastels. This is a statement accessory!
The main body of the clutch and the handle are made from prized back cut python skin, also known as belly skin. The natural pattern in this skin is loved and coveted by its fashion loving owners. It is heartening to know that the seemingly delicate python skin is in fact extremely durable and if looked after well can outlive us!
A client asked The Restory to save her beloved bag. The python scales had curled and through wear the colour had faded in places. We imagined it had been to a few fabulous parties that had left it looking a little jaded! We know that in time the natural oils in our hands can affect the leather to leave a worn patina. Our head of Atelier applied the hand painting techniques that are used especially for exotic skins to replicate the original finish.
CHOOSE THE COLOUR
Our aim is to restore a piece to its original appearance in keeping with the designer’s vision. We work with a broad range of colours and dyes to restore and renew your accessories to look like new. The worn condition of this bag meant that it was hard to define the colour but we succeeded in imitating the design using several shades of white and metallic finishes.
PREPARE THE SURFACE
The restoration of a skin is similar to revamping a piece of furniture. First, we strip back the old paint and then de-glaze the surface to ensure the best adhesion for the new paint colour. Finally, to make the skin look tidy we press the surface scales back into place to make them all point in the same direction.
CREATE THE FINISH
We chose a semi-opaque pearlescent silver finish that allowed the base colour to shine through retaining the original depth of the skin. After this we applied three thin washes one layer at a time and finished with a sealant to protect the colour for the future. The sealant also acts to give the skin a lovely supple satin finish. When we were satisfied with the overall appearance we gave the hardware a final polish to leave it looking like new.
The 'Jamie' was ready to go on show for another season of fabulous parties!
IF YOU ARE ABOUT TO OR HAVE ALREADY INVESTED IN AN EXOTIC PIECE, HERE ARE A FEW GENERAL CARE TIPS FROM OUR HEAD OF ATELIER, THAIS CIPOLLETTA.
- The basics. As with any leather, exotic or not, condition regularly with the appropriate product for your bags skin type. Always test it on a small hidden section of the item first. Don’t use baby wipes.
- But don’t over-condition. Applying conditioner every 3 months is sufficient as too much conditioning will trap moisture and encourage mould.
- Always clean the bag in the direction of the scales to keep them flat against the skin and avoid damage.