Closet 101

Balenciaga: Before and After Restoration

One of my more frequently used bags is my black Balenciaga “City” moto bag. I’ve had it for a few years now and it’s still one of the most practical bag styles around in my opinion – light, can be hand held or shoulder carried, has enough pockets and is decently roomy. And horrific as this may sound, at $1500 it is a relatively “decent” price for a high end designer handbag that will fit a variety of occasions.That being said, the bags have their drawbacks – a big one being color fading – which is why I’ve stayed away from buying any more Balenciagas, a bummer because they always come out with lovely colors. I got my City in 2009 directly from Balenciaga NY, and have used it pretty regularly since. The bag started out looking a deep true black like below:

image via Barneys

 

And a few years later, ended up looking like this:

 

Such a sad, faded bag. For a while I was okay with the fading because it gave it kind of a cool “worn” look, but over the years the bag has gotten patchier and patchier, with some parts green, others gray, and others still black. I put my Nikon lens cap on the bag so you can see just how far off the color ended up from black.

I’d heard Balenciaga itself was pretty unhelpful in these sorts of situations (“So what?” being a good approximation of their mantra I’m told) so I didn’t even bother taking my bag into them. Instead I went straight to my cobbler where he clucked disapprovingly over it. He recommended a Tarrago black shoe cream to touch it up, which cost me about $5.

I brought it home and got started – all done while watching reruns of Friday Night Lights.

 

I was a D/F level art student so am pretty messy – I ran the sponge tip back and forth on the bag, trying to make sure I covered every bit of the leather, while giving each area about ~10 minutes to dry (the bottle says you need only 5). After I was done, I let the entire bag dry overnight on a few plastic bags on the ground.

The next day:

 

Hooray! Back to black – and the bag is now a much, much closer shade to my Nikon cap. I took this bag out immediately to test it out, and got no black paint on my clothes – it had completely dried. It even started raining later on, with water all over the bag – and still no smearing on clothing. Proceed with caution though!

Another before and after, with close ups:

 

Such an improvement on the bag, and it was only $5. However it does make me peeved that I had to do this on a luxury bag to begin with, especially since for me the whole point of paying top dollar for “luxury” brands are that they are supposed to last longer. However, at least there was a good and cheap solution at hand. I hope this helps some of you who have been thinking about touching up your own items. If you have any accessories that aren’t getting used because of wear and tear, I highly suggest a visit to your local cobbler – you may just be surprised by all the do-it-yourself solutions available!

What do you think about the fading that happened on my bag? Would you expect this from a luxury brand?

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  • TripsTreasures
    April 2, 2012 at 12:47 pm

    interesting discussion, it is logical it wears off a little, but the difference in color is very extreme. I think Balenciaga should definitely offer a cheap " restoration" service themselves.

    B. x
    http://www.tripsandtreasures.net
    fashion & lifestyle in Belgium

  • Lilli
    April 2, 2012 at 12:59 pm

    This is really interesting and also useful, it would have been a shame but you had a really great idea!:) xoxo

  • Aesthetic Alterations
    April 2, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    "Peeved" would describe my reaction if that happened at a bag at that price, especially with no customer service. A bag I'd acquired from a much smaller company started to do this, and they immediately sent me a gift certificate for the full value.

    Such tales and experiences only solidify my decision to purchase leather bags only from Hermès. That doesn't happen very often–and if it did, it would be recognized as an error. For example, light colored bags made in Box Nepal are known to fade, so Hermes stopped making them. A much better practice, I think, for a luxury company.

    The Bolides are fantastic. The 31 is the perfect style for both casual and elegant events (it's a rigid bag, however–a "mou" wouldn't be the same), and the 37 is perfect for life out on the farm and in the middle of nowhere.

  • Prêt à Porter P
    April 2, 2012 at 1:18 pm

    I agree with Aesthetic Alterations, I would be pissed off too, the color change is extreme. I've read about the PS1s doing this too (and with a similar "who cares" attitude). I don't blame you for not getting another Bal bag.

  • Ines
    April 2, 2012 at 1:19 pm

    Is the leather designed to wear "rough?" I only say this because, for example, Roots Canada (which, incidentally, while far from being a luxury bag brand, makes really good quality, practical bags that last DECADES) makes some leathers that are designed to fade/scratch/wear with time intentionally (e.g. their "Tribe" leather) to get that distressed look over the years, and also makes some other leathers (e.g. their "Prince" leather) which wear smoother, softer, and shinier with time, resulting in a more elegant, richer look.

    I'm no Balenciaga expert – but maybe the bags are intentionally made with a leather that ages into a more distressed look? Nonetheless, I would think after forking over 1.5k + taxes + shipping on a purse, they would provide some kind of customer service or advice on how to keep the leather conditioned etc. (one thing Roots does exceptionally well – they will even recondition leathers & restitch/repair hardware for free or for a minimal fee, even years after you've purchased it)… Leather wearing issues aside, I would think after a significant sum of money, the lack of customer service would just peeve me out enough to not purchase any more from a brand.

  • L.T.
    April 2, 2012 at 1:25 pm

    That's so interesting, I never knew something like that existed but it makes such a difference! Like Brand new!

  • homestilo
    April 2, 2012 at 1:42 pm

    Seems unacceptable of a high end brand – even more so their attitude towards the whole thing. Good for you for taking matters into your own hands. Let us know how well the cream works over time.

  • pearls and green tea
    April 2, 2012 at 1:44 pm

    I'm shocked that it faded so much! I have the navy (officier) color and it hasn't faded that much in 3 years. It has faded a little but not super noticeable. I have 3 girlfriends with the city in black and each of theirs are slightly different in color. Wonder if it's the fading..

    • MissPaulina
      January 18, 2013 at 1:42 pm

      I too have this bag, in the Navy (officier) color! Your one of the lucky few! Mine is a very patchy light/dark purple tisk tisk! Very Disappointing I will never buy a Balenciaga again! But I will buy the cream and hopefully get my bag back so i can at least sell it!
      Thanks for the post luv

      • Katherine
        January 18, 2013 at 3:23 pm

        I hope you find a good match for Navy, Officier is such a beautiful color!

  • prettymeggy
    April 2, 2012 at 1:57 pm

    its true!!!! inspite of its beauty and so much comfortable to handle this bag fade.. such a pity. i have one brown and i don't use it anymore…
    but this post is helpful!!! i never thought of this.. so thank you for this tip!!! i should try to do the same 🙂
    take care! xoxo, Haus of Gala

  • Couture Coco
    April 2, 2012 at 2:06 pm

    You did a great job! For me, I find it simply unacceptable for a brand such as Balenciaga to produce bags that fade in the first place. I did some research and decided it wasn't for me because I am not prepared to maintain items in this way – I hardly get the time to do my nails so really it's not worth the investment personally. I recently checked out a well know British brand and was shocked to the core at the poor excuse for leather and even worse, the construction – I know it's not really fair to compare with Hermes and Chanel but even so!

  • Couture Coco
    April 2, 2012 at 2:07 pm

    You did a great job! For me, I find it simply unacceptable for a brand such as Balenciaga to produce bags that fade in the first place. I did some research and decided it wasn't for me because I am not prepared to maintain items in this way – I hardly get the time to do my nails so really it's not worth the investment personally. I recently checked out a well know British brand and was shocked to the core at the poor excuse for leather and even worse, the construction – I know it's not really fair to compare with Hermes and Chanel but even so!

  • nikolia
    April 2, 2012 at 2:07 pm

    interesting idea .. Me too, so save a thing .. true!

  • dietingfashions
    April 2, 2012 at 2:10 pm

    No I would not expect this from a luxury brand at all. I had planned on buying a Balenciaga sometime in the near future but I'm afraid of the color fading.

    Helen

  • BmoreLoveLeigh
    April 2, 2012 at 2:20 pm

    Wow, I can't believe how much it faded! Definitely turns me off from buying a Balenciaga bag ever!

  • Anonymous
    April 2, 2012 at 3:04 pm

    I wish I had read this before I paid a cobbler in SF to dye my bag! I paid him over $100 to dye my balenciaga city (also purchased in 2009) and he assured me that the color would match. Sure enough, the color looked horrible and the dye started cracking days after. I gave the bag away because I just could not stand to see how it had turned out…

    I love the style and function of the balenciaga city but will never purchase anything from their brand again. I've also had several other friends who purchased balenciagas experiencing the same problem with their bright pinks and blues so it's not just the dark colors.

  • Katherine
    April 2, 2012 at 3:10 pm

    Oh I'm so sorry this happened to you! So sad to hear that others have experienced similar fading..

  • Katherine
    April 2, 2012 at 3:10 pm

    I agree…was the brand Mulberry by any chance?

  • Katherine
    April 2, 2012 at 3:10 pm

    It sounds like it might be…glad to hear that your bag is working out well!

  • Katherine
    April 2, 2012 at 3:11 pm

    Ines I have heard amazing things about Roots – I just think it seems like such a fabulous well run brand. Balenciaga is meant to have a distressed look but I don't think to this level.

  • Katherine
    April 2, 2012 at 3:12 pm

    Thank you for the Bolide advice! I agree that this would probably not happen with H, and if it did, would be rectified..(though spa isn't cheap!)

  • The Little Dust Princess
    April 2, 2012 at 3:19 pm

    I'm shocked that this happened to your bag! I've been on the hunt for a good Balenciaga City.. I'm still lusting over a Caramel and I think getting a Sahara would be impractical because of denim stains. I thought black might be the most practical, but after seeing yours, I'm not so sure I'd be too happy about the fading.

  • Ines
    April 2, 2012 at 3:32 pm

    The bags are pretty awesome and at a good price. I never felt ripped off buying leather goods from them (if you like the color of 1, but like the shape of another, they will even do a custom order for you for a small fee!) – so far I have a chocolate Olivia bag (a great little hobo), a grey Village Venetian Satchel (of "the Hangover" fame), a black Londoner bag (looks like the bag that Pippa Middleton was seen carrying repeatedly) as well as some makeup pouches/wallets in bright colors, and the leather is buttery soft! I also like that the logo is not splashed all over the stuff (*cough* LV *cough* Coach *cough*).

    I live in Canada and Roots is indeed a Canadian institution for sweats, rugged boots & casual leather bags – a great Canadian company for sure, with great customer service.

    It's sad that your bag faded so weirdly – I would expect that from an $50 leather purse I bought off the back of a Korean bag truck in Seoul, but not from Balenciaga. I will have to reconsider saving up for one at this point 🙁

  • Sarah M.
    April 2, 2012 at 3:56 pm

    I have the exact same Balenciaga bag as you do, and while I haven't had my bag fade THAT severely, I have had the leather tear on the corners (I am very careful with my bags, too). No longer are the corners of my bag black, but the original brown colour of the leather pokes through. I've also had two of my tassles tear, and the leather around the handles rip. Granted, I have had the bag for 6 years and have used it on a regular basis, but given the hefty $1600 I plunked down for it, I expect a lot better. I even took it to Holt Renfrew (Canada's version of Barney's or Bergdorf) and they said there was nothing I could do about it. Sadly, I've had similar experiences with my Miu Miu Coffer bag.

    The reason I buy designer bags is because of the style – they obviously aren't of superior quality. I have a Jimmy Choo x H&M bag that is way more durable than my Balenciaga bag and it cost 1/8th of the price. I think my money is going to be going towards better investments in the future. Best of luck with preserving the bag – it is a fabulous, classic style 🙂

    xx from Montreal,

    Sarah
    http://ibleedfashion.com

  • Adele
    April 2, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    I'm actually shocked at how bad the fading is – they're clearly not using good quality leather dyes. You've done well with the touch up, just be careful the polish doesn't come off on your clothes.
    Have a great Monday xoxo
    http://www.intotheblonde.com/

  • Ammu
    April 2, 2012 at 4:32 pm

    You have done a great job with the restoration but the level of colour fading is pretty shocking. I would be really ticked off. A luxury item should last years, if not decades in perfect condition. I live in India and despite the heat and dust, my Alexander Wang and Belen Echandia bags have held up beautifully. And I don't baby my bags!

  • kaloka
    April 2, 2012 at 4:34 pm

    Horrible…I kept a million times before to buy or not a Balenciaga city bag…I didnt because I already heard a lot of horrible bag stories on Balenciaga 🙁

    Cheers!
    http://kaloka.livejournal.com

  • makeupandpearls
    April 2, 2012 at 4:38 pm

    you know… that's why i stopped buying bals. the maintenence was just too much. why should a 1200 bag fade?

    looks like you did an awesome job though 🙂

  • JenlovesBal
    April 2, 2012 at 4:51 pm

    Wow, great DIY makeover for your City! I haven't experienced any fading with my 06 black City yet *knock on wood*. I do think the fading and quick wear to the bags are because of the delicate lambskin leather they use.

    It's really a bummer that Balenciaga does not repair their bags. It would make me feel much more confident while using my bags in case anything happens.

  • Call me M
    April 2, 2012 at 5:18 pm

    Can't believe that such a luxurious and expensive bag like this one, would fade so much! And the customer service sounds terrible. I believe that it's their responsibility to bring the bag to its original color after some years, if it fades so much. I would be really agree if I had paid 1500$ and seen my bag fade so much over the years. you should never by from that brand again in the future!

  • Beautygirl24
    April 2, 2012 at 5:29 pm

    Wow, what a huge difference some polish can make! The bag once again looks beautiful. I agree with others though. I can't believe that the bags wear so much, and so quickly. I don't think I'll ever buy one for this reason, although they are pretty.

  • Couture Coco
    April 2, 2012 at 5:53 pm

    You got it in one! I looked at their bags some years ago and didn't think much of them then but gave it another try this year at the airport since I had time to look around. It was quite embarrassing actually as I was carrying the Lindy on one shoulder and carrying the Alexa on the other and there was just no comparison!
    This could be a whole new topic!

  • LC
    April 2, 2012 at 6:23 pm

    whoa, i never saw a bbag fade so dramatically! balenciaga DOES have a horrible customer service reputation, sadly. i`m so glad you were able to salvage this, i use mine daily as well, but opted for the papyrus instead of the black. you are SO FREAKING brave to do this on your own!!

  • DSK Steph
    April 2, 2012 at 8:37 pm

    I love this post! I have a love/hate relationship with my one and only black Balenciaga bag. My leather seems to be thinning! I don't use it very often either. The leather on the hardware (I have a covered giant city), deteriorated away and now a little bit of the silver hardware is showing. 0_o It drives me nuts. I have noticed my bag fading more toward a grey black. I don't let it see the light of day anymore. I know for sure I will not be purchasing a new Bal anytime soon!

  • Lily
    April 2, 2012 at 9:17 pm

    That looks amazing !! Like brand new !

    xxLily
    goldandgray.com

  • xoxoCat
    April 2, 2012 at 9:41 pm

    Bal bags are really trending in Vancouver right now, and I almost fell for it a while ago. But after doing some research and being made aware that these bags fade and scuff easily I have no regrets passing over them. I think 1.5k is a ludicrous price to pay for a bag like that. There are plenty of bags that are practical, beautiful, and quality for a much lower price imo.

  • swisscecilia
    April 2, 2012 at 9:49 pm

    Oh wow, good job!! It looks day and night!
    I have the same issue with one of my Gucci bags too and same here, thought the worn look is cool with the bamboo and stuff, but then I stopped using it.

    Maybe I should try your method and test it out, how nice of it not leaving any mark on your clothes, that was my biggest concern.

    Disliking how the stores are being so unhelpful for the bags that we loved. Same thing happened to me at Gucci 🙁 They are probably thinking – it is time for a new one, and boy they are not even that expensive. But they just so missed the point!

    Glad that it works out great on your bag, and reading your blog always brighten up my day!

  • Sarah
    April 2, 2012 at 11:01 pm

    Wow, amazing difference! So glad you were able to find a cheap solution. It's ridiculous that this would even happen in the first place, and then Balenciaga isn't even helpful! I think if you pay that much for an item, this kind of thing shouldn't happen. But I'm happy that you found a way to solve the problem yourself. 🙂

    keepcalmandcarrylipstick.blogspot.com

  • Chloe
    April 3, 2012 at 1:29 pm

    Wow, I can't believe how much your bag has faded!! I have two black bbags, one is from 2004 and the other from 2009. My 2004 has faded a little, but nothing close to that, and my 2009 has not faded at all. I sent my 2004 to the Leather Spa here in NYC last year and it is almost good as new. I am appalled that Balenciaga customer service wasn't helpful!! Good job for figuring out your own solution!

  • Chic 'n Cheap Living
    April 3, 2012 at 3:43 pm

    Wow that is definitely annoying and you did a stellar job of bringing the color back to life!

    I would be super annoyed if this happened to a higher priced bag. I have some peeling on a mid priced Goldenbleu bag, but it is also lamb leather (a reason why I won't get a lambskin Chanel though they are softer!)

    xoxo,
    Chic 'n Cheap Living

  • The Jones
    April 3, 2012 at 4:09 pm

    I would be so mad if this happened to a bag that I'd invested in! Too bad Balenciaga cares so little about customer service 🙁 But I'm glad you had your handy cobbler to help out…can't believe the polish isn't wearing off or ruining your clothes! Definitely keeping this tip for future reference.

    <3 cambria
    jupefashion.blogspot.com

  • newpetite
    April 3, 2012 at 4:31 pm

    Oh! I didnt know leather can fade so much!! Glad you found an easy and cheap solution!

  • Antee Gurung
    April 3, 2012 at 5:16 pm

    nice post!!!u r very innovative!!! i like it
    anywaz NEW POST in my blog…love to have ur feedback
    xoxo

  • Samantha
    April 3, 2012 at 8:36 pm

    Oh wow Katherine!! 5 gold stars for your awesome DIY project! And it's nice to know it didn't smear either! {I am loving the fact that you got it done while watching reruns – AWESOME!}

    I'm kinda of tempted to try it on my "old" Chanel Olsen bag- long story short, I think I paid retail for a fake, ratty bag. It was a couple of years ago when I was always on tpf and stalked!

    xo, sam

  • The Fashionable ESQ
    April 3, 2012 at 8:37 pm

    This is a really interesting discussion / post that you've got going on here! I really would expect a bit of fading, but I agree with everyone else – too much money for such significant fading. I actually did like the gray, distressed look of the "before" version of your Bal bag, but I understand the frustration at not purchasing that color.

    xx
    The Fashionable ESQ
    http://www.thefashionableesq.blogspot.com/

  • Nicole
    April 3, 2012 at 9:48 pm

    I absolutely love things like this! I do find it quite disappointing your bag faded to that degree. That is why you are paying the big bucks!!!!! Well as much as I love the Balenciaga, I know not to make this my first high end designer purse. Their loss!

  • Meisha.Style
    April 3, 2012 at 11:27 pm

    oh my! i was thinking about getting this bag. now i would invest into some other brands! thank you so much for sharing!

  • girlymd
    April 4, 2012 at 12:29 am

    Very nice! I've used leather conditioner to repair my shoes all the time!

    girlymd.blogspot.com

  • Latkes and Dim Sum
    April 4, 2012 at 3:18 am

    Great job on the redo but how appalling that B does not stand behind their product!

    Lucky for you that you had the black bag!!!

  • Momo
    April 4, 2012 at 8:27 pm

    Wow, great tutorial!!! Thank you <3 Do you want to follow each other??

    Momo
    http://www.letmedream.es

  • Diva In Me
    April 4, 2012 at 11:37 pm

    Whoa!! It looked more like grey instead of black! =D I'm glad I didn't get the Balenciaga bag when I visited Paris in Dec'11 which I was thinking of actually..
    I'm very happy for you that you get it back close to the color it was. Yea, I can understand how these ppl aren't too helpful when you paid so much for a bag. They are usually nice before you purchase them =) I also had issues in light color bags because they rubbed on my jeans and the blue stain stays forever =(

  • Rola
    April 6, 2012 at 12:53 am

    In December, I was warned by the sale associate at Neiman when I got a light gray Balenciaga that the color might rub off. The color is similar to your bag before the restoration. I am nervous now because it will not look good if it fades lighter. This is unfortunate.

  • miss sophie
    April 6, 2012 at 5:09 am

    wow that's some color fading…my only Balenciaga is a 'vintage' one in chevre before they switched to lamb leather on all their bags. it's still black as night and has aged amazingly. it seems like it's really dependent on the batch and season with Bbags…

    your DIY fix-up job is really fantastic though – a lot of these things are quite inexpensive to touch up 🙂

  • Chocolate, Cookies & Candies
    April 8, 2012 at 6:23 pm

    Thank you for the tip! I'll keep that in mind should I plan to get a Balenciaga bag one day. I guess one of the reasons why I stuck to Hermes was their after sales service. Sure, their spa treatment costs an arm and a leg but at least I can safely say that my bag will still look fairly decent after a decade.

  • Chocolate, Cookies & Candies
    April 8, 2012 at 6:23 pm

    Thank you for the tip! I'll keep that in mind should I plan to get a Balenciaga bag one day. I guess one of the reasons why I stuck to Hermes was their after sales service. Sure, their spa treatment costs an arm and a leg but at least I can safely say that my bag will still look fairly decent after a decade.

  • Sophia
    April 9, 2012 at 1:23 am

    Great idea! Now I know what to do when my black one fades too!

  • Sophia
    April 9, 2012 at 1:23 am

    Great idea! Now I know what to do when my black one fades too!

  • Dolly Varden
    April 9, 2012 at 11:23 pm

    How disappointing:( I have been saving up for a Balenciaga and since quality is something that I actually care about, i don't think i can bring myself to purchase one anymore:(

    Any suggestions of a brand with colourful and stylish bags around the same price point? One thing I like about the Balenciagas is the colours and interesting shape, but no logos.

  • Katherine
    April 10, 2012 at 2:47 am

    Oh I'm sorry to disappoint you 🙁 How about Bottega Veneta? Mine has worn very well, very discreet, but maybe a bit more than Balenciaga.

  • AM
    April 16, 2012 at 6:55 pm

    This happened to me as well. Not as faded as yours but still enough to piss me off. I find that that it does not happen to my electric blue and green one as much (and I have used them quite a bit) BUT the black one for sure!!

  • audrinajulia
    April 29, 2012 at 11:54 am

    After reading about this post looks like I'm changing my mind to purchase a Balenciaga bag.Aside from being a luxury designer, a dual purpose bag that you can hand carry and a shoulder bag at the same time I consider it a lot. I remember having post about this wish list of mine including Balenciaga on it and waiting for you to have a comment or if you can recommend this.Thanks goodness for this post, researching before purchasing is really a must.:)

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  • Ella
    July 15, 2012 at 8:49 am

    Hi Katherine,

    thank you for the wonderful tips. Could you please tell me where you bought your Tarrago from? I’ve been to a few shoe repair shops in SF and none of them have this brand and I’m hesitant to try a different brand as not sure how it’s going to turn out. Thanks!

  • nodda
    August 18, 2012 at 10:46 am

    Thank you for this post. I’ve been working on my faded bleu roi part time.
    If I have no luck, I’ll just dye it black 🙂

    • Katherine
      August 19, 2012 at 3:27 pm

      best of luck nodda!

  • Linz
    August 29, 2012 at 12:14 am

    I would never buy another balenciaga bag ever again, i purchased my bag about 2 years ago and the sides of the bag has turned greyish, and some parts green. I went back to holt renfrew to shop around and decided to ask a balenciaga sales clerk to see what she would say about the fading since i was already there. Her answer was “oh really, never heard of that before”. So by hearing that i knew it was hopeless and thought to myself never to buy a balenciaga again. I have the part time and that cost me about $2200 after taxes. Sucha ridiculous price for a bag that its quality is like a $20 bag. Im going to try out your tip, your bag looks amazing and brand new again. I hope this works for me. *fingers crossed*

    PS: Has any one else out there tried it ? How were the results. Would like some extra reviews!!! Thanks

    • Katherine
      August 29, 2012 at 5:43 pm

      Good luck! Yes the fading has been the most disappointing thing about Balenciaga leather… 🙁

  • Marilou J Navarro
    October 17, 2012 at 5:47 pm

    BEWARE – DO NOT BUY BALENCIAGA PURSE!!!!

    I bought a Praline Part Time in Rose Gold back in March, 2012, used it only 5 times and noticed a tear on the leather two weeks ago. In addition to the tear, a broken tear with 3 splits, there are deep crackings that can potentially develop into a tear later. I wrote Balenciaga boutique in South Coast Plaza, Costa Mesa, CA and Balenciaga NY detailing the situation. I told BAL that my preference is not to have it repaired because if the deep cracks develop to a tear, I will have to go through the same exercise of sending back the bag for repair. My preference is to have the purse replaced or my money back. Because I cannot find the time to go to the store soon, I sent in pictures of the tear on the leather. BAL concluded that the purse came in contact with a sharp object and it will not replace or refund my money but will send the purse to NY for repair.

    As a high end designer purse which I paid $2,049.00 for, it is not acceptable for me to find a tear in my BAL purse after 7 months and after carefully carrying it for 5 times only with great care. I own several high end designer handbags like Chanel, Louis Vuitton, YSL, Prada, etc and I never had this experience before. I am going to a small claims court to get my money back.

    I am upset with BAL’s customer service right now and how they do not back their product. They claim that there products go through rigorous quality control. However, you will find numerous complains about fading, cracking, tearing, etc.

    • Marilou J Navarro
      October 17, 2012 at 5:58 pm

      Be kind to yourself.

      Do yourself a favor. If your are classy enough to spend $2,000+ on an authentic Balenciaga purse instead of spending $20 on a replica, do not punish yourself by going to the store to buy glue or cream to repair/fix a tear or restore the color of your authentic Balenciaga purse because you never have to do this on a high end designer purse. I am sick to my stomach everytime I think about the tear and cracking on my Balenciaga purse.

    • Katherine
      October 17, 2012 at 9:24 pm

      Hi Marilou, I’m so sorry to hear of your bag. That is horrible, I hope you are able to get compensation for it or a replacement. I don’t use my bag anymore (I think I’m going to give it to a friend) and haven’t purchased any more Balenciaga – I loved my City but it was too much hassle.

  • Vivienne
    December 1, 2012 at 6:23 pm

    I bought my Indigo Blue Balenciaga City bag in 2008. I was a beautiful color. Now It looks greyish blue after only 4 years of rare use. The color faded badly just like yours. I wish there was a shoe cream in Indigo Blue 🙁

    • Katherine
      December 2, 2012 at 11:29 am

      Hi Vivienne there might be…I would go to a local cobbler and ask them what they think and perhaps swatch a few on a teeny part of your bag (maybe the inside part)? I know, it is so frustrating!

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  • Mandy Conlin
    January 5, 2013 at 12:02 pm

    I really appreciate you sharing this! I have been drooling over a Balenciaga day bag for quite some time. I’d never heard about the fading. I’m quite surprised, with the price tag, this would be an investment that I would treasure & expect to last. I’m glad the black polish worked out for you. Guess that wouldn’t be an option for the caramel color I have been obsessing over.
    Maybe I need to look into Hermes instead.
    Thank goodness for honest, “real human being” bloggers, we can’t count on celebs to share these kinds of things 🙂

    • Katherine
      January 6, 2013 at 10:25 am

      Hi Mandy, thanks for your kind words. The Day bag is a great style and so light and easy for everyday (And for traveling!). The dyes do vary by season so if you have your heart set on a Balenciaga I might do some investigation to see if the colors are fading that season, etc. And Hermes is always a great choice!

  • TheGhostofBelleStarr
    February 15, 2013 at 11:00 am

    The bags are a ripoff. They may look “cool” and be all the rage with movie stars but any bag that would do this after such a short time that costs $1500+ IS a ripoff. If these bags were not so popular with “in crowd ” ie Hollywood crowd and you knew they started fading, leather on corners rubbing off, piping wearing off etc would you really pipe down a monthly mortgage payment for one. I seriously doubt it. Maybe simply have bought into the hype.

  • Janelle
    February 15, 2013 at 11:09 am

    My Coach leather bags have held up much better then my Balenciaga ! Never again !

  • Becky
    May 17, 2013 at 3:58 pm

    Awesome! Thank you for sharing. You are right though, you’d expect better from such an exclusive designer.

  • Su
    June 26, 2013 at 3:09 pm

    I think it is what it is. The leather used on Balenciaga bags are so thin and soft that I can’t see it standing up to very much abuse. That being said, I still absolutely LOVE my black city. I purchased it before the price increase so that even after taxes it was only slightly more than $1000. The bag is SO light and because of that, I end up using this much more than any other luxury bags I have (Hermes, LV, Prada, etc.) The color has definitely not faded (though I don’t mind the color of your faded purse actually!) but has an aged worn in look – which is perfect for my my downtown/grunge style. The edges are starting to fray and I somewhat combated the issue by moisturizing the bag! I think I read that somewhere!

    • Katherine
      June 26, 2013 at 3:40 pm

      Su I think that is around what mine was – yes it’s a great price for the versatility of the bag (not to mention how light it is!). The City is still one of my favorite bag styles out there for how easy it is to use in a variety of ways.

    • Gigi
      February 12, 2015 at 3:55 pm

      ha ! nice try…trying to clean up the fact that you are a sucker having spent so much on a low quality bag now you say you like the grunge look of bag that looks like its been drawn through the gutter. LOL. Your type is exactly why Balenciaga will not change/improve their bags or customer service. Fools like you put up with this nonsense and even try to excuse it and continue to buy from the line.

  • Leather Repairs Bolton
    July 19, 2013 at 1:22 am

    Mindsets & Lifestyles have to change….or it will keep passing on to all generations…Praying that change will come….

  • Christy
    July 19, 2013 at 6:21 pm

    I loved reading the informative feedback and posts. I was searching Balenciaga restoration for a direction to go in restoring my Balenciaga City Bag. My bag is carmel and has faded too. It really looks beyond shabby. I called Balenciaga and they basically said there was nothing they could do. They did not recommend taking it to a leather specialist and said the beauty of the bag is the wear and aging. There is no beauty in the condition of my faded bag. I was thinking of getting it dyed a darker color, but it sounded like the bag was ruined by the dye from another reader. I’m sorry about your bag, but your polish made a 100% improvement. It stinks Bal does not stand behind their products.

  • Leather Repairs Cambridge
    August 23, 2013 at 7:49 am

    Excellent advice! you don’t know how many marketers need to have these traits ingrained into them. Kudos!

  • M
    November 11, 2013 at 9:26 am

    Hi, i want to ask a question. i have some chanel and YSL metalic bags and the color also fade away. they look very cheap because of discoloration, some parts are still metalic, some turned dull greyish and matte. it is so stressfull to paid something over USD4,000 and they tool like $200 . What i want to ask is, is it possible to dye it like your balenciaga? and since the original color is metalic is it allrite to color it? is it gonna ruin the leather? Thank you.

    • Katherine
      November 11, 2013 at 9:42 am

      Oh dear, metallic is always difficult – do you have a cobbler you trust that you can take the bag to? It will be difficult matching the exact shade though. I wouldn’t attempt it yourself.

  • Jessica
    December 26, 2013 at 1:37 am

    Hi, I am new to Balenciaga and I am thinking about purchasing my first one. After searching online I noticed that the darker colors wear out over time like yours. Do you know if the lighter color bags such as Dune and Pirate Gray (new this year) will age better?
    Thanks!

    • Katherine
      December 26, 2013 at 11:35 am

      Hi Jessica – unfortunately I have no idea, I haven’t been up to date on Balenciaga for a while. I would suggest checking with the ladies of The Purse Forum, who are very knowledgeable.

  • Rain
    April 2, 2014 at 3:51 am

    Yikes! I just ordered a black city bag yesterday. So many beautiful colors but I settled for black eventually, thinking that it will not look badly-faded and used as much as the lighter colours would. Good luck to me.

  • chandarling
    April 20, 2014 at 2:49 am

    This is brilliant! I purchased my black classic city bag and have worn it only three-four times. However, I began to see white part on the handle. Unfortunately, I began to wear the bag three months after the purchase date due to work in abroad, therefore I could not return or exchange it after I came back. This helps very much. Since Neiman does not offer any repair service, I was looking for every possible solution. Thank you! 🙂

  • TreyBien
    November 27, 2014 at 7:32 pm

    I’m having a similar problem with my Alexander Wang Rocco lambskin leather bag. I’m curious as to how well your city has held up so far. Did you have to reapply? Any cracks or damage develop after using this product? Any help would be much appreciated, thanks.

    • Samantha
      January 2, 2015 at 4:21 pm

      Same with my Rockie Bag. Hardly worn and the back looks greyish faded already 🙁 really disappointed. I just ordered a Bal, but I think I will send it back. I am already too upset with my Rockie and never wanted another lamb skin bag. I thought bals were more resistant but I guess they’re not. Too bad.

  • Caro
    June 17, 2016 at 7:54 pm

    Hi!

    Curious as to how well it has been holding up after all these years? I have a 2005 chocolate Bal with some wear/fading on the corners. Thinking of touching up using the same product/technique described here. Thanks!

    • Katherine
      June 19, 2016 at 1:57 pm

      Holding up very well!