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Finally, a clinic for bags!

By Jake Ramirez
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 23:07:00 07/17/2008

Filed Under: Lifestyle & Leisure, Fashion

MANILA, Philippines?Always trust the professionals?goes the oft-repeated advice, especially if the stakes are high. I must say the professionals I trusted with my Tod?s, for repair, are the go-to guys when you?re looking for whom to trust with your designer bags.

Some designer bag retailers do repair work, but waiting time varies from three months to a year, depending on the problem. And most likely, it will cost a fortune.

Once I asked Louis Vuitton at Greenbelt 4 how much and how long it would take to replace the lining of my Document Porte Voyage. The P8,000 cost was acceptable, but the waiting time of three months made me decide against the repair.

Since you spend a considerable amount to get your dream designer bag, you don?t want to scrimp on repair costs. Some people have horror stories when they entrusted their beloved bags to regular joes.

I can only swear by the good work of Vintage Restore, a high-end bag clinic/restoration shop in Jupiter Street, Bel Air Village Makati.

I first encountered the Cruz sisters Trisha (now Cuason) and Lally (now Dizon) when Market! Market! had just opened seven years ago. Theirs was a small bag store with repair services in the bazaar wing. I was looking for someone to restore a vintage Gucci bamboo-handle tote I found in a thrift shop.

Big mistake

The Gucci bag just needed cleaning so I was not that keen to troop all the way to Market! Market! in Taguig and just stored the bag in my closet. It turned out to be a big mistake?I did not store it carefully and just stashed it away in the pile of bags.

Its leather snaps holding the bamboo strap had given in to the pressure of the bamboo.

When I checked the inside, the lethal combination of heat and dampness, leather?s natural nemesis, had wrought havoc on the leather lining which had become sticky.

When I went back to Market! Market!, the store was gone.

Fast forward to 2008, and speaking of serendipity?I was visiting Tresorie store of Ingrid Go in Dona Consolacion Building when I saw the nice-looking bag store beside it.

I came in and met Trisha again. She said she had been making and repairing bags for a very long time since her parents were in the bag business as early as 20 years ago.

I brought to Vintage Restore not only the vintage Gucci, but also the original Tod?s leather tote I found in an ?ukay? store in Makati.

Like a patient

Vintage Restore operates just like a clinic. First, it checks the bag as if it were a patient. The staff asks the owner about the history and the current problems. Then, they do a ?diagnosis? and give a not-so-grim assessment.

Yes, the future of one?s bag at Vintage Restore looks bright, whether it?s vintage, a family heirloom, or an ?ukay? find.

Awaiting the cost estimate, I braced myself for the worst (treatment, whether medical or otherwise, does not come cheap).

I was told to go back after two weeks for my Tod?s and when I saw the result, I must admit that whatever expenses incurred during my bag?s ?hospitalization? were all worth it. Vintage Restore manually tore my Tod?s apart to remove the broken part, and faithfully placed it back, stitch by stitch.

The same was done on my vintage Gucci bamboo-handle bag, except that I had the bag relined with pigskin leather.

Specializations

Vintage Restore?s services range from replacement of inner lining to grafting, replating of tarnished brass/gold wares, bag cleaning, and any unthinkable ?accident? to one?s bag. However, they can?t remove the stain left by permanent marker.

Leather is porous and absorbs the ink of pentel pens/permanent markers as well as tannin from red wine.

Vintage Restore believes that every bag should be given respect, just like any patient, and every owner is entitled to peace-of-mind when entrusting their ?babies.?

When I was placing the damaged bag on top of the consultation table, they made sure that nothing was on top, not even a ballpen, to avoid any untoward accident that will be irreversible.

So far, legions of faithful ?patients? are coming in. Whenever I drop by, I make sure to see the new ?patients.? Some of the bags are really ?to die for,? and every bag owner has a story to tell about his/her damaged bags.

Vintage Restore accepts made-to-order bags especially crafted and designed by Trisha and Lally. Most likely, they will name the bag after the first customer when it becomes a hit. But be well assured that they won?t make thousands of copies since they tend to limit each design to maximum of three copies.

Vintage Restore is on 2/F, Doa Consolacion Bldg., 122 Jupiter St. Bel Air, Makati. Fax 8904326 or e-mail v.store@gmail.com.



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