- Insider’s show “Refurbished” gives you an inside look at what it takes to restore designer items.
- These range from Sharpie-stained Chanel bags to dog-bitten Louboutin shoes.
- In this video, we highlight 10 of these restoration experts and how they bring items back to life.
Following is a transcript of the video.
Narrator: Restoring an item back to its original state is a tedious and delicate process. Add a high price point, and the stakes are even higher. Watch 10 restoration experts transform designer goods such as Sharpie-stained Chanel bags, dog-bitten Louboutin shoes, and worn out Louis Vuitton wallets back to new. Each artisan has their own way of restoring these luxury goods.
Gerry Gallagher has been repairing luxury handbags for over 30 years. This $3,000 Chanel GST was accidentally burned by a candle. Gerry replaces the damaged leather on the back pocket of the bag with caviar leather. This is the same type of leather it was originally made with. Once the burned section is replaced, Gerry stitches the bag back together… Making sure the sewing needle falls into the original stitch holes.
Rio is the owner of Kim’s Shoe and Bag Repair. He is restoring a pair of Chanel ballet flats. He starts by removing the heel plates with an opener. Then he makes new rubber soles and glues them on. The suede on the shoes has faded, so it is being redyed.
Handbag Clinic restores designer handbags and shoes. This white Chanel GST was drawn on with Sharpie. Chloe, an artisan at Handbag Clinic, starts by using a special ink remover to contain the spread of the ink. She then color matches paint to the original color of the bag. Color matching is important for blending the restored parts with the original. Chloe airbrushes it on lightly, ensuring that the texture of the leather is maintained.
Rago Brothers Shoe & Leather Repair restores shoes and leather goods. These $1,000 Louboutins were badly chewed up by a dog. The team removes and rebuilds the entire upper part of the shoe. They heat up new patent leather so that it becomes more malleable and stretch it over the upper part of the shoe. Then they reattach the platform.
Heath Potter is a professional cobbler and a co-founder of Potter & Sons. The owner of these Ferragamo loafers wore the soles all the way through. Heath replaces the outsole with German pit-tanned leather. It’s long-lasting and waterproof. To finish the process, he stitches the shoes and puts them onto a press.
Vincent Rao Jr. is the owner of Vince’s Village Cobbler. The famous red-painted bottoms of these Louboutins have worn out. Vincent glues on a rubber sole protector to add the red color back on. It will last much longer than the original red paint.
Daniel James from Handbag Clinic is restoring a Louis Vuitton vanity case. The interior lining has deteriorated from years of use. He makes patterns using the old pieces and replaces them with pigskin leather. The metal corners on the case have worn out. Daniel uses a special electricity-conducting pen to replate the metal.
Gerry Gallagher is restoring a Chanel classic flap bag. It was severely burned by an incandescent light bulb. He cuts off only the damaged leather in order to preserve most of the original bag. He creates a new piece with caviar leather. He skives the leather until it’s paper thin. When he lays the piece onto the bag, the transition between the original leather and the new leather is seamless.
Bag Remake Studio in Shonan, Japan, repairs designer bags and accessories. The leather on this Louis Vuitton wallet has become discolored from heavy use. The artist color matches the wallet and slowly paints over the faded areas. The leather on the edges is peeling since it’s in the most commonly touched areas. It’s sealed using an edge coat. This will help to protect the corners from further peeling and damage.
Rio is restoring a pair of $680 Gucci sneakers. The metallic green panel on the back of the shoes is peeling. Rio uses leather glue and an awl to glue the peeled areas back on. He also uses a tiny paintbrush to fill in faded areas on the panel. To finish the job, he goes over the sneakers with white paint to touch up any scuffed areas.