In my quest to save the good things, I decided to tackle the huge job of saving a 20 year old Louis Vuitton Monogram Bucket Bag 27.
First thing I did was send photos off to Authenticatefirst to have it authenticated. It passed with flying colors. It now proudly has a COA.
This bag was hardly used. The owner kept it for special occasions only. This bag was made in 1998 and the vachetta leather was light in color. Beautiful on the outside...inside, not so much.
Here is how it looked when it arrived.
The problem with many Louis Vuitton bags of this vintage is that the interior fabric was coated with a moisture resistant material that degrades over time. It peels and becomes sticky. It often has an old plastic odor as well. You'll find it inside of many of the totes. There is a dark version that you'll find inside of pockets of bags like the Jeune Fille.
This coating is just plain nasty. Even though this bag was lovingly stored away for special occasions, the entire interior coating including the inside of the pockets was peeling and sticky. The coating had covered the pochette chain. It was totally unusable in this state. If one touched the inside, the coating stuck to your fingers.
Here's what the inside looked like:
Because of the icky, gooey nature of of this coating, I wore rubber gloves for this process. I used 6 pair cleaning this purse.
I first, turned the lining inside out to get to the nastiness easily.
I tried acetone to see if it would melt the coating and it did but it left a stain on the fabric. I started to rub and pull at the coating and up it came!
Totally icky, right? This process took about 2 hours. If you try this, put newsprint sheets all over the your work area as this makes a sticky mess. It will stick to your clothes, your hair and your shoes.
Once I got most of the coating off, I had to use a bit of acetone to remove the tough areas.
Next, I had to make a hard decision. I needed to place the bag in water and bathe it. I knew that this would darken the perfect light vachetta leather, but it was the only way to get this fabric clean. I needed to get the smell out of the fabric and the coated monogram canvas. The bag had perfect leather, but this bag in original condition was unusable. So, I took a deep breath and gave this lovely bag a bath. I used warmed water and a little bit of Oxyclean.
Here it is starting to dry. It washed up beautifully! The fabric inside is free of the coating.
Once the bag dried, it was time to clean the metal zipper and chain. I did this with Brasso.
Old metal zippers, even when cleaned need a little zipper wax to keep them in tip-top shape.
Are you ready to see how the inside turned out?
Here it is!
It has a few stains, but it is clean. The bare fabric feels kind of like flannel. Some people like to paint the inside of these with fabric paint to make them kind of like they were when they were new. I don't want to do that. I think leaving it as original as possible is the right thing to do.
How does it smell now? It still has a slight plastic odor to it, but it is very faint. I will be airing it out until it finds it new home. Soon as our storm passes it will have a day in the California sunshine.
The vachetta leather lightened up when it dried, but it is still darker than it was before the bath. A small price to pay though because now it is ready to give its new owner many years of service.
Here it is! A beautiful vintage 20 year old Louis Vuitton Monogram Bucket 27 Bag that can be carried again with pride.
If you are interested in owning this bag, you will find it for sale HERE.