My mother is from the generation that saved up, bought one handbag, and made it last. No swapping in longed for, precious designer bag for a new season piece of arm candy, no lusting after celebrity-named it bags, no tricksy bits of design.
As a very little girl I have a hazy memory of going to the Gucci store with her in the 80s when she was picking out her precious navy bag. (I think I remember the visit because we had moved from London to a rural village when I was three years old, and the Gucci store was so extraordinary, all dark and full of beautiful things and another country from home.) This was a serious investment in style, long before the Tom Ford reinvention days, when Gucci stood for gorgeous leather rather than erotica.
A few years ago my mother passed the bag on to me, sadly thoroughly worn out from years of wear, battered and, frankly, almost beyond repair. She suggested maybe Ebaying it but, even with the renewed interest in Gucci, I couldn’t see anyone wanting a bag this knackered.
And anyway that bag spoke to me – it was such a part of my childhood that I couldn’t bear to see it go. It conjures up a picture of my mother with big bouncy brunette hair, held back at each side with combs, leather knee boots, gathered waist skirts, and huge tinted sunglasses. (We may have lived in the country but my mother never lost her London look.)
So it has sat at the back of my wardrobe for ten years or so and occasionally I have pulled it out, considered wearing it and then replaced it on the shelf, rejecting the battered edges and faded leather as far too knackered for an outing.
Then I received an email which contained the following line:
“If you fancy pimping that old Gucci bag you pulled out of Mum’s closet?”
The email was from The Restory, launched by founder Vanessa Jacobs after a simple repair on her favourite boots went wrong.
I laughed at the coincidence and got in touch. The Restory offers the repair, restoration and refashioning of boots, shoes and handbags, and their system is simple: you book a service online, one of The Restory’s consultants will come to any home or office in Central or West London to consult and collect the items, which are then taken straight to the Restory workshops, fixed, cleaned and packaged, before being returned to your location of choice in pristine renovated condition.
My bag was picked up from my home by Regent’s Park. As you will see from the photos below, the bag needed some serious work. It was also explained to me at collection that although they didn’t stock the actual chain, if I wished a new chain could be sourced if I felt that was necessary. (In this case I didn’t.) We went through everything that I wanted fixed on the bag, it was placed into a soft pouch for its journey, and returned to me a couple of weeks later.
And this is the final result
A pristine, shining bag, polished to the perfect colour and with absolutely no sign of the worn edges or colour fade. All the scratches have gone, and no one would be able to tell that it was some thirty-five years old.
I am absolutely thrilled – my bag looks perfect, and I take far more pleasure from carrying a family piece than I would from a shiny new handbag.
With huge thanks to www.the-restory.com for fixing my bag for this story
Navy Blue Polka Dot Dress by Marks & Spencer
Brown Leather Erin Ankle Boots by Michael Kors Collection (last season)
Sunglasses by Christopher Kane (gift)
Tassel Earrings by Zara (not available online)
Lettice’s chic Dashing Tweeds reflective collar & lead were a gift from Hiro + Wolf. (Currently in the sale.)
Similar ankle boots:
PS If you are shopping at The Outnet, there is an extra 20% off (almost) everything with code FALLTREAT until 10am BST on Thursday, September 28th. Excludes Just In & full-price product.