From Hermès to Chanel, restorations and repairs are being embraced by luxury brands – here’s why

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Called “Certificate of Craft”, the venture goes so far as to loan handbags to customers in cases where repairs will take a significant period of time to complete. “We believe that true luxury is connected to the concept of time,” Rongone said in an interview at the time.

A Bottega Veneta bag from the pre-spring 2023 collection. Certain handbag models from the brand can now be brought in for a lifetime complimentary refresh and repair.

The Italian brand is following in the footsteps of Hermès, which has offered a restoration service for nearly a decade. Celine, too, will repair all purchases made at official Celine boutiques, as will Mulberry and Chanel (although only for one year after purchasing).

The Chanel et Moi programme offers a five-year guarantee on bags and some leather goods, and is meant to “deepen the relationship between the client and the house” by focusing on “restoration and repairs”.

“When I started this business 12 years ago, second-hand was a dirty little secret – women would beg me not to mention they hadn’t bought their bag new,” says Antonia Johnstone, founder of Sign of the Times, a luxury resale platform. “Now, getting the bag of your dreams for less – maybe one that has a lot of wear and tear – and restoring it is something to be proud of.”

A Bottega Veneta bag. The brand is offering a complimentary lifetime repair and refresh service on some of its models.

A Bottega Veneta bag. The brand is offering a complimentary lifetime repair and refresh service on some of its models.

Prices vary, but in a very expensive industry, cheaper offerings – if they have been authenticated – can be a great entry point, as marks or holes can be repaired quite affordably.

Companies are cottoning onto this. High-end repair platform The Restory has raised £4.2 million (about US$5.1 million) to date. “Repair is a really fantastic and untapped opportunity,” said Josephine Philips, founder and chief executive of tailoring and repairs app Sojo, in an interview with trade publication Business of Fashion.

“Building a repair programme is not only great in terms of longevity of the items that you create, but it’s actually incredible when it comes to building brand value as well.”

A Celine handbag. The brand repairs all purchases made at official Celine boutiques.

A Celine handbag. The brand repairs all purchases made at official Celine boutiques.

This is the key: while repairs mean that, yes, certain clients may buy fewer models, the brand will also be appealing to a far bigger demographic – so, financially, it should not lose out.

“One of the most genuine connections with sustainability is to use the product for longer, not replacing it. This level is way more impactful,” explained Rongone. “We all want to be successful in our lives. But do you want to be remembered for being the largest? Or the most impactful?”

Bottega Veneta bags have been carried by some of the most famous women in the world – but there is one woman whose devotion to her handbags was particularly memorable.

A Bottega Veneta bag from the pre-spring 2023 collection.

A Bottega Veneta bag from the pre-spring 2023 collection.

“The queen told me once that she didn’t feel dressed without her handbag,” says Gerald Bodmer, the chief executive of Launer. “I think it’s a very common sentiment for people of our generation. And people of our age also didn’t buy new designs every day of the week.

“The queen was like that: she was very happy carrying the same model for years.”

Now, of course, Launer has lost its greatest client but, because of the queen’s loyalty, the brand has also found huge global popularity with other women who want to buy a bag that will endure for decades to come.

Britain’s late Queen Elizabeth with broadcaster Sir David Attenborough. The queen always carried a black Launer handbag in the crook of her arm. Photo: @launerlondonofficial/Instagram

Britain’s late Queen Elizabeth with broadcaster Sir David Attenborough. The queen always carried a black Launer handbag in the crook of her arm. Photo: @launerlondonofficial/Instagram

How to care for your leather handbag

  • Avoid overfilling handbags if you want to keep the original silhouette – and consider leaving them empty overnight.

  • Wipe away dust and spots with a soft cloth or brush.

  • Avoid contact with heavily embellished clothes, sharp surfaces or chunky jewellery.

  • Try not to let it get too wet, as it can stretch.

  • Stand it on its base rather than hanging it up, as this can damage the handles.

  • Store it in a dust bag (or an old pillowcase) away from direct sunlight.

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