CASE STUDY: Chanel Ballet Flats
The classic Chanel ballet flats are a favourite among The Restory’s clients. Often worn until their very last breath, they are usually in desperate need of restoration. Our Atelier pretty much always has a pair in house whether needing a new sole, cleaning up or a full restoration, so we decided it was high time to put the spotlight on a timeless classic.
But let’s have a little look at its amazing history first. It all started when Coco Chanel went on to design the now iconic- and very current- two-tone sling back pumps back in the 1950’s. Ever the innovator, Chanel was inspired by Massaro’s two-tone men’s shoes and partnered with them to create a female version that would be flattering for women with bigger feet – just like herself. And gradually, the sling backs evolved into the Chanel ballet flats, swaying women to lower their heel length- making for a practical, comfortable but still classy alternative. And the rest, as they say, is history!
Back to our Chanel ballet pumps at hand, this particular pair had soles that were worn through completely- leaving holes in some areas. It became clear that they needed a full restoration and the first stage was to replace the old, damaged sole with a new one that matched the original.
As to be expected, beige and nude shades attract dirt very easily. In this case we were able to remove most of the surface dirt with the use of our special clean techniques. The most dramatic improvement from cleaning was apparent in the binding around the upper of the shoe, which was badly stained previously but now brought back to its original colour.
Chanel ballet flats are made using Lamb nappa leather, which is incredibly soft and therefore extremely comfortable to wear-hence the undying popularity of this style. Unfortunately, the same characteristic also makes them more susceptible to damage. The scuffs on the shoes were most apparent on its sides and around the toe area. Our leather artisans were able to mend them by smoothing the leather by filling the markings and painting over the top afterwards. To revive the leather, we repainted the entire shoe with a colour mixed by our expert colour matchers. The recolouring process took up to three layers and the final result was achieved by allowing sufficient time for the leather to dry in between coatings.
And voila! With a swing of The Restory magic wand – aka our Atelier team- the Chanel ballet flats have been given a new life. These classics are a wardrobe staple and will never go out of style and if their popularity is anything to go by, apart from your sneakers, they are quite possibly the most comfortable shoes out there! So even if they require a full restoration, it’s worth the effort and a rather attractive – and sustainable- option compared to immediately splurging on a new pair at the Chanel boutique. Especially considering that our leather specialists are highly practiced in restoring your Chanel pumps to look brand new again.