Restoring a bag to its former glory

TALK SHOP - Anne Bella () - September 23, 2011 - 12:00am

I’ve never been a bag girl. You know, the type who just has to have the latest It bag of the season or else she will just die. I’d consider that quite a sad existence.

Not to suggest that I don’t have my own not-so-secret obsessions: shoes in every shape, heel and material, any garment in a soft shade of gray and anything sequined and flowing. I’m just not the It bag type of girl. I tend to be on the safe side when it comes to bags — streamlined, simple, fuss-free — maybe because I’m attracted to prints and textures already when it comes to clothes. I have only a few precious bags, some given by my mom and some I purchased, still waiting for their turn to be used.

The closest I had to an It bag growing up was my green plaid Ralph Lauren shoulder bag. Some of you might recognize its iconic print from the mid-’90s; it’s my generation’s version of the 2.55’s and the motorcycle bags kids so casually sport nowadays. Then, having that shoulder bag meant you were in, of the moment and cool.

That bag was soon forgotten when I started working, acquiring other bags and whatnots. It got buried in my old cabinet at my parents’ house and was unearthed only recently when my sister did some spring cleaning. Seeing it brought back memories of campus hopping, mall dates and house parties, but the state it was in made me want to cry: it was deformed, the leather dulled by dust and mold, the zipper rusty and the strap an ugly shade of brown. As much as I wanted to resurrect the bag (I haven’t met or seen anyone else carry it since the late ‘90s), it seemed unusable and not fit for public display.

So imagine my delight when a friend suggested I bring it to Vintage Restore, designer Lally Dizon’s and her sister Trisha Cuason’s bag restoration business. It meant I might be able to use my beloved RL bag again. I promptly dropped it off at their Jupiter St. shop, excited to see the finished product.

Vintage Restore boasts the best service when it comes to fixing broken, tattered and moldy bags and giving them a new lease on life. From replacing the zippers and rivets, cleaning the metal details and electroplating them to scrubbing the lining and the outside with their leather cleaner and conditioner, you get your bag in mint condition, even almost brand-new.

Bag fanatics scared to entrust their beloved purses to restorers, don’t fret. Vintage Restore’s VIP clients such as celebrity stylist Alyanna Martinez, entrepreneur Carissa Evangelista and editor Sari Yap, to name a few, are also serious about their designer bags and wouldn’t let just anyone handle their precious babies.

Sari swears, “I could feel immediately that Vintage Restore knew and respected the value of these designer leather goods. I was skeptical at first, but the lady in the store knew at a glance whether they could handle a particular job or not, and advised me immediately about the risks involved in attempting to restore a particular purse. I had a new Prada tote whose handle was too long and I wanted to shorten it. When the bag came back, the stitching was perfect and looked like the original.”

Back to my bag: when I finally got it back, I was amazed. It was cleaned, polished, treated, the zippers replaced and brought back to their original glory. It almost looked brand-new, complete with its very own dust bag.

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Vintage Restore is located at 2/F Dona Consolacion Bldg., 122 Jupiter St. Bel-Air Makati City. Email v.restore@gmail.com or call 890-4326.

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