Restoring a Rockstud Reversible Valentino

Signor Valentino Garavani was born in Voghera, Italy in 1932. He studied fashion design from a young age, completing his formal training in Paris and starting his own line in Rome in 1959.

By the mid-1960s, Valentino was a favourite designer of the world’s best-dressed women, including Jacqueline Kennedy and he remains a Hollywood favourite even to this day with his designs frequenting the red carpet.

Valentino as a brand thrives on its reputation that combines luxury and elegance with contemporary. Valentino also owns its signature of the rock stud that is now iconic. It is modernised collections continue and is most well known on the Valentino Garavani Rockstud pumps, but is often seen on hand bags too.

We recently received this reversible rock stud Valentino tote bag that was in desperate need of some TLC.

Before restoration – damaged handles and heavy scuffing

After a physical assessment, the team deciphered that a number of services were needed to restore this Valentino bag to get it back to working order again; the straps needed to be replaced, scuffs needed to be filled in, the colour needed to be restored and it was in need of some replacement studs. The bag was also reversible, which meant it needed just that extra little bit of care to ensure the restoration was seamless when using it either way.

The first thing to be done was to make a new pair of straps. To do this our expert sourcing team sourced new leather to match the texture and then, as standard in our atelier, hand mixed the paint to ensure the perfect colour match. As the bag is reversible, we needed two colours, and because we were going to do further painting on the body of the bag we had to make sure that we made enough of each colour for the body of the bag and the straps. An additional benefit of hand mixing the colour for every item in the atelier means there is less waste.

New straps with reinforcement
Re-edging the new straps

Next, our artisan took the measurements from the old straps and used them to create a paper template for the new ones. The new straps were cut from the painted leather and glued with reinforcements to prevent them from stretching when the bag is used. The handles take most of the strain as they carry the whole weight of the bag (and its usually overfilled contents) so it’s important to reinforce them properly. Then, the atelier team used a special paint to coat the edge of the straps which not only seals and strengthens the edges, but it is also done for aesthetic purposes. The new handles were then attached to the bag with some additional bar stitches to strengthen and protect the join.

Stitching the new handles into place
New handles

The next thing was to work on the colour and texture of the main body of the bag. The team used synthetic fillers to fill in scuffs and scratches; smoothing down the surface and then recreating the texture in worn areas, particularly the corners. We used the hand-mixed paints to touch up areas of the body that needed it. Finally, a finisher was sprayed on the bag to seal the paint and give it the perfect shine.

Hand mixing the colour

As soon as the finisher had dried and cured for long enough it was time for the finishing touches which involved replacing the missing studs. As the rockstud is such a regular in the atelier, we often have a number of styles, sizes and colours to hand for a quick fix. To do this, a specific tool is used to put the studs in place and they are then hammered in ensuring there is padding on the underside of the bag to ensure the leather isn’t marked, and the two bags in one were ready to be returned as good as new.

Replacing the missing studs
Replacing the missing studs

This restoration allows to extend the longevity of this already much loved bag and so its story can continue. With stronger handles and a touch up of the colour, it’s almost as good as new. Don’t hesitate to get in touch if your every day item is in need of a touch up, or that bag at the back of your closet has been forgotten about and could use a new lease of life.

Revived and restored
Revived and restored