The Antigona Givenchy bag was created under Ricardo Tisci’s direction for the Autumn-Winter 2010 RTW collection. Its innovative and structured shape with clean triangular lines made it an instant success and the one of the most iconic Givenchy bags.
Its name refers to the Greek Mythological character ‘Antigone’ which means ‘unbending’. It comes in a wide range of colours, textures, patterns and leathers from grainy goatskins and smooth calfskins to unique exotics. We have seen them all in our atelier and here’s the journey of one of those!
The Antigona as it arrived in our atelier with the previous paint peeling off
We received this bag in our atelier by a client who was unhappy with the restoration provided by another company. Upon assessing the bag we could quickly see the variety of issues that had left the client unhappy with the results. The colour restoration that had been done was a different tone of nude to the original design. We were able to see and compare by looking at the inner brand leather tag which had not been altered and therefore showed the original colour which had more of an orange hue.
Assessing the bag to reveal its original colour through the untouched tag
The paint that had been used didn’t have the correct finish. The leather for this bag usually has more of a matt finish and this had a higher sheen which had the effect of a plastic coating. At The Restory we work hard to restore leather goods in line with the original design, whether the type of stitch, leather finish or attention to detail around logos, hardware and stitching. However this stitching been painted over, which could clearly be seen by the way the paint had absorbed into the thread. As a rule with certain bags, including the Antigona, the edging is a different type of product. This strengthens and protects corners and handles and goes along the edge of the leather. In this case the same paint on the front of the bag had been used across the edging.
We started by cleaning and deglazing the whole body of the bag in order to remove the top protective finishing layer and all the layers of paint underneath. We had to invest a lot of time into this process due to the plastic quality of the paint that had been used.
We needed to sand the handle edges in two phases. Firstly, the layer of paint was removed which was part of the previous restoration. This was important as it allowed us to see and match the original colour for the edge paint that Givenchy had provided. We then sanded the original layers of edge-paint as were cracked and worn and so needed replacing. If edging on handles and straps have cracked we recommend sending them in as these are a support and strength to the straps. As they wear away and crack its more likely the handles will stretch and become damaged over time and need completely replacing.
Sanding the edging down
We used a special tool to clean and remove all the paint from the stitches and the edges of the body of the bag which doesn’t cause any damage to the leather or thread. This required special attention as we recognise that the visual clean lines between thread, edges and the body of the bag are a significant feature of the leather-goods world and would hugely impact the final look and perceived quality of the product.
Removing the paint that had been painted over the stitching
After this key preparation, we managed to have the Antigona bag completely ‘naked’, with the leather as natural as it would have be in the tannery before being originally painted and then sent to Givenchy’s factories to be cut into patterns. It is important to mention that we rarely get to deglaze this deep!
The atelier hand mixed the colour paying special attention to be faithful to the original one, as seen in the inner brand tag. Five different pigments were used to mix the colour. The colour was painted by hand with soft brushes of different sizes depending on the panel. Special attention was dedicated to those 2mm existing between the edges and the stitching by using a fine and flat brush to avoid the thread.
We then repainted the handle’s edges matching the original colour which was slightly greyer than the leather nude colour of the body of the bag. Respecting this soft contrast specific to the original design is as important as making them smooth and protective again. Once the colour is all correct we then mixed a finisher to protect the paint and to get the exact sheen and finish the same as the original look of the Antigona as Givenchy designed it.
To ensure the bag was brought back to its original beauty, we worked on the zipper and material around it which had been affected by the previous restoration. The thick bright zipper is a main feature of the Antigona bag and so it was important we restored this too, the tape had been stained with the paint, so we thoroughly cleaned it and then repainted.
The procedure is the same as for the body of the bag; however the products are different as for this we hand-mix specific paint for textiles and matched it to the original colour as Givenchy had it. Two coats were applied with a very soft brush carefully not coating the teeth of the sipper and then it was set with heat. For the final details we polished the silver-plated hardware, the zipper, logo and rings with a product which brightens the metal.
If your bag is looking tired or a bit worse for wear we recommend sending it in sooner rather than later. We can provide a clean and moisturise the leather to protect it and increase its longevity. If the edging on the handles or corners is starting to crack, wear or stretch we can sand and replace it, if left too long its likely the handles will become damaged beyond repair and its a much bigger job to remove, recreate and replace these. If you’d like a quote follow our online form to receive a preliminary quote for your restoration.