Lengthening a Louis Vuitton strap

Before restoration
Strap lengthened and buckle switched over

Louis Vuitton was first founded as a luxury luggage company. In 1837 at the age of sixteen, Louis Vuitton moved to Paris from rural Anchay to become an apprentice for one of the most prestigious box makers and packers, Monsieur Marechal. This job was a well respected craft as it required much skill. The boxes were custom made to fit whatever goods they would carry and were then personally packed. Many upper class members of society required this service in the 19th century, as they were transporting valuable items regularly which needed to be protected.

Louis Vuitton soon began to gain a reputation for being a master craftsman which led to him opening his own atelier in 1854 which quickly became one of the most popular luxury luggage companies. Following his death in 1892, his son Georges Vuitton took control. He had a vision to catapult the brand into a globally recognised company and his creation of the iconic LV monogram canvas did just that. Today the instantly recognisable monogram still holds its status.  

We recently received a Louis Vuitton “Twice” handbag in the atelier. Made from monogramed Empreinte leather, it is an easy and chic way to carry around your essential day to day belongings. The bag arrived in the atelier in perfect condition, but it transpired the client was unable to use it because the strap was too short for her. Additionally, she was left handed which made the positioning of the buckle uncomfortable when she wore it.

After a physical assessment, our solution was to create a new, longer strap to suit the heigh of our client, and we would swap the position of the buckle.  

Increasing the opacity of the strap
Applying the paint to the leather
Testing the colour against the body of the bag

 As the bag has such a unique colour with beautiful purple/blue tones, it was difficult to find a piece of leather that was a perfect colour match. Instead, one of our artisans hand mixed the paint in-house so that the repair would be invisible and matched the body of the bag. The colour, as standard, was tested against the main body before being used to paint the strap.  

To increase the opacity of the colour, the leather for the strap was first painted white. Once dry, the layer of white paint was over painted with the hand mixed, purple-blue paint. A number of layers were needed to create a smooth and even finish. Once the paint had dried, a special finisher was then hand mixed to match the original sheen of the Louis Vuitton leather. This was then applied on top to preserve and set the paint, before being left to cure. This step is important to ensure that the colour will not rub or scratch off once it is returned to the client. Once ready, the painted piece of leather was handed over to a member of the stitching team ready to be created into a strap.   

Hand mixed colour to provide the perfect match

In this stage, we took into consideration the measurements provided by the client and created a paper template for the new strap. We cut the leather to size and thinned the leather to the same width that the original strap has. Then, we glued some reinforcements to the leather for additional strength and to prevent stretching when the bag is used. Then, the new handle needed to be stitched into place. We took the original strap as reference, sourcing the correct coloured thread and measuring the original stitch size in order to keep the design as close to the original as possible. 

Re-edging the strap
Recreating the buckle holes

Our artisan then used a special paint to coat the edge of the strap that seals and strengthens the edges. As soon as this was completely dry, the new handles were attached to the bag with some additional hand stitches to strengthen and protect the join.

Although the work is more subtle in this case, it made all the difference to our client. Whether you are in need of repair, restoration or any amendments to your bag, we are here to help you to ensure you can make the most of your items. If you can’t see the service you need on our website, don’t hesitate to get in touch via our preliminary quote form.