Buying that beige Celine Phantom bag seemed like a brilliant idea at the time—it was the perfect wear-with-anything neutral!—but now, 10 months later, your once pristine suede bag has suffered a red wine stain, an ill-timed thunderstorm or, worse yet, an ink pen explosion. Enter Leather Spa, the New-York based luxury shoe and handbag repair service that brings your beat-up bags back to life.
Owned by father-son duo Carlos and David Mesquita, Leather Spa is one of the country’s leading “handbag hospitals,” specializing in designer labels such as Celine, Balenciaga, Givenchy, Fendi, Gucci and YSL. DuJour asked David Mesquita to share his expert tips on how to avoid wearing out your bag—and what to do if the damage is already done.
1. It’s all about maintenance. Even on your first, second or third wear take a look at your bag before you put it away. If it’s suede and you see a blemish, take a little eraser and try to erase it out, then use a suede brush to bring the knap back.
2. Use a water and stain protector—it acts as a repellent. If you wear the bag often, I would spray it once a week.
Water and Stain Protector, $14.95, LEATHER SPA, leatherspa.com.
3. Never put your bag on the floor. If you do, use a dust bag to wipe off excess dirt.
4. If there’s a stain you can’t fix yourself, bring it in to a professional. The average cost for a bag cleaning is anywhere between $160-$200. All-leather bags in dark colors like black, brown or navy are simpler to clean and a bit cheaper—around $130.
5. Getting a stain out of leather is sort of like removing a tattoo. You can clean it very well, but only so much of it is going to come out depending on the stain.
6. White bags are the toughest when it comes to maintaining the color palette. If the customer waits too long, the stains can become embedded into the leather and more difficult to remove.
7. Suede is one of the harder materials to repair. Sometimes people think that if a bag is more expensive that means it’s more durable. But with luxury goods in general, when they’re expensive, they’re usually more delicate. It’s like a sports car—you’re not going to be driving your million-dollar Ferrari through the streets of Manhattan to do errands.
Leather Spa, 55 W 55th St., 212-262-4823.