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We Did It For Science is our semi-regular feature in which we offer ourselves up as retail guinea pigs. All for your benefit.
About four years ago, we found an amazing deal on a white Balenciaga bag, and snapped it right up. It became the go-to bag from Day One. After a year, it had a great, supple, distressed, perfectly-aged-but-not-too-weathered look to it. After a couple of years, and having at least two beers poured on it, a bottle of foundation break in it, and being subjected to all the other rigors of daily life, it started not looking so great. Once an object of desire, the bag was referred to as "scruffy", "something that's seen better days", and most recently, "nasty."
The before picture. Janky!
OK ALREADY! We can take a hint.
Last week, we took the bag to Arturo's Shoe Fixx of Beverly Hills. We read about it last year, and we heard a Neiman Marcus clerk praise it to the sky. It's on Little Santa Monica, a few doors down from Sprinkles.
If we'd been a little nervous, our fears were assuaged by walking in and seeing probably a quarter of a million dollars worth of purses hanging from ceiling racks. Every luxury bag you can imagine, in multiples: Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Goyard, Prada, Chanel?even a few king-sized Balenciagas that could eat our Le Dix for breakfast.
We handed over the bag and told a very friendly clerk that we needed a dye job. He examined the bag and said the best color would be black; that it would look the most natural, come out the best and be like an almost new bag. We asked for other recommendations, and he said he could also dye it white, but it would end up cracking again. At which point we thought, well aren't there other colors out there? But we figured if it was dyed white and we hated it, it would be easy to dye it another color, so we left.
We picked it up a week later. The bill was $140; we quickly paid and took the purse out of the underlit shop to inspect it.
And here's what we got.
The purse certainly was white, even whiter than we originally got it. But the leather, which was initially glazed and slightly shiny, was now matte. We hadn't considered that a dye job would do this. It feels weird to the touch. The handle feels rubbery and faintly sticky.
The dyejob was about 98% even. We were told they couldn't fix the cracked leather, but the dye evened some of it out. However, there were a a few crevices and spots that had been missed. Part of the main zipper had been dyed, unevenly.
All of the little fringes/tassels/whatever you call those dangling strings had been dyed, but the suedey back part had not. We keep finding white dye on rivets and in other places where it shouldn't be.
We originally envisioned this as a fun exercise for everyone involved. And in total disclosure, we'll also say that, at the same time, we dropped a pair of Louboutins off to get resoled, and Arturo's did an excellent job. But this series is about us taking the risks so you don't have to; your results may vary.
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