Hermès was originally founded in 1837 by Thierry Hermès. The brand is internationally recognised as the ultimate in luxury fashion, and nothing is more luxurious than the Birkin bag. It was originally designed in 1984 by Jean-Louis Dumas inspired by a conversation with Jane Birkin on a flight from Paris to London. This handcrafted leather handbag became a fashion status symbol for women, including celebrities and socialites, who would pay thousands of dollars and wait up to six years for a personalised bag. Of course, the most iconic designs deserve the most love and care. Learn more about the Hermès Birkin restoration our atelier completed in order to bring this bag back to life.
This orange Birkin was brought to us in a very loved condition. Although these bags are carefully crafted from high quality leather, the colour was faded from lots of use, the leather was wrinkled and the body of the bag was almost collapsing and in need of a reinforcement.
Our experts physically assessed this orange Birkin, as is standard with all items that come into the atelier. Having understood the damage, we concluded we would need to restore the shape, repair scuffs, and revive the overall colour.
The first step in this Hermès Birkin restoration was to reinforce the structure to target the collapsed shape. Before the leather reinforcement was cut, we had to create a template from paper. To replicate the exact size and shape of the bag, we measured front and back panels.
In order to insert the reinforcement, our stitching team unpicked the line of stitching holding the lining and exterior panels together. We cut the leather reinforcement panel and glued it into the bag between the front panel and the lining. Next, we massaged the leather with a special tool to minimise creases. This process needs to be done carefully and in small doses to keep the original shape.
With the reinforcement in place, we moved onto the next stage of the restoration: restoring the exterior. This is a careful process where any torn or scuffed leather is repaired with specialist filler and colour is revived with hand mixed and matched paint.
We deep cleaned the leather to removed any grease or bacteria residue to prepare for restoration. Scuffed corners were repaired with leather filler, a specialist formula that strengthens leather. Filler also provides a smooth surface that is ready to be re-coloured.
For significantly discoloured items, we seek an area where the colour has been least affected by wear and tear, sun damage and colour transfer. This area may be tucked in the side gussets or inside a pocket. Once the perfect colour has been mixed, it is applied in light layers to conceal scuffs, scratches and stains and the colour is revived.
After the bag was reinforced and restructured, the top flap and arms were re-attached as if they were never removed. Moreover, for a seamless repair, we sourced the perfect thread in colour, size and quality.
The luxury of Hermès bags is that they are crafted by hand. Our team always endeavours to honour the original craftsmanship, so we hand stitched this seam. Therefore, we ensure every single hole of the original stitch is matched and no new holes are created. In addition, a specialist wax coating is applied to edges to seal and protect joins.
With revived colour, restored leather and restructured shape, this bag is barely recognisable from when it came into us. Having been expertly looked after, this Hermès Birkin is ready to be loved again for years to come.