Week Fifty Two

A different kind of artist

Posted in Fashion, general interest by sarahbakerhansen on 8 August 2010

Last winter, over Christmas, we had a flood in our apartment. Snow burst through the roof of our six-story building and water found its way through the four floors above us and into our apartment; the leak was partially over our closet. It missed a Chanel suit by mere inches; one of my bags, a Bottega Veneta, wasn’t so lucky.

Even though it was in a dust bag and stuffed with paper, dank water-soaked through both sides and into the woven leather and the silk lining. The leather, once buttery soft, became stiff and crusty. The darker portion in the picture above left a distinct water mark on the purse. Even though I knew it was likely ruined, I didn’t have the heart to give it up and it sat around my apartment, in a very sad state, for six months.

I made some calls to local cobblers and none of them wanted to touch it – they said the woven nature of the bag – Bottega’s signature “intrecciato” technique – made dying, cleaning or fixing it in any way basically impossible. I decided to take it to Andy’s Shoe Repair in Omaha and simply show it to the owner in person to see what he thought. I trust this shop with my best shoes and I’ve never been let down, so I figured it was worth a try. While he didn’t have a lot of hope, he said he’d do what he could. He had it for close to three months – partially because he did a number of treatments on it and partially because he misplaced my customer tag inside the bag and didn’t have my phone number.

Long story short, after cleaning and treating my bag, it looks like this.

It’s not entirely perfect – there’s still a few stiff, darker spots, but I’m so thrilled to have it back. If anything, I think the darker spots, the patina of the handle and the deluge this bag survived make it even more special.

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