Christie’s handbags specialist Rachel Koffsky offers a six-point guide to maintaining a healthy and happy handbag
After you purchase a handbag, it may be tempting to rip open the box, trash the tissue paper and lose the receipt, but it is important to keep all of these items together if you want the best resell value. Collectors can overlook rare and collectible handbags with substantial condition issues and missing items, making it difficult to sell your beloved bag once the time is right. However, it is relatively simple to keep your handbags looking good for many years.
After using your handbag, the first step is to empty it of its contents and dust. You can turn the bag inside out if it is soft, and use a lint roller to get to those hard-to-reach places. If your bag is crafted from hard-pressed, grained leather, wipe the exterior of the bag softly with a damp paper towel or an alcohol-free baby wipe. If it is made from natural or untreated leather, or if it is exotic or suede, then dust it with a dry paper towel. For more serious issues, take it to a professional.
Now that your bag is empty and clean, you must stuff it in order for it to keep its shape. I suggest using acid-free tissue paper, a small pillow, or bubble wrap. Be sure to wrap exposed hardware (including buckles and zipper pulls) with a piece of tissue paper to keep it from making imprints on your bag over time.
Place your bag in a soft, breathable dust bag. If you don’t have one, you can use a cotton pillowcase in a neutral colour, in order to prevent colour transfer. Make sure that the dust bag is large enough so that your handbag doesn’t warp when it is stored.
Do not have the hardware of one bag touching another bag, because it could leave a mark. In addition, do not leave anything touching patent leather — it will cause colour to transfer from the patent leather to whatever is next to it.
Refrain from hanging your bags — this will distort the shape of the handles.
If you have it, store your bag in its original box. Otherwise, line your bags up on a shelf in your closet. If the shelf is not tall enough, do not allow the handles of the bag to be pressed down — in this event, the bag should lie flat. You can keep track of your bags by including a note with the name of the bag on the box or dustbag, so that you don’t have to rifle through ten boxes before you find your Etoupe 35.