What is a Patina?

Many Louis Vuitton bag fanatics are unaware about the word Patina. Is it a new bag or is it a new canvas pattern? Neither, Patina is a phenomenon that occurs in the vachetta or untreated cowhide leather on your bag. When the leather is new, the color is very pale beige. Over years of use, it darkens to its full patina in various stages, to deep honey brown. which is it’s final dark patinated color. Patination is caused by oxidation, sunlight, weather, oil in your hands and dirt. If you happen to have a bag that is 5 to 6+ years old, the vachetta would definitely darken. It’s something you can’t avoid. Every Louis Vuitton bag with a vachetta will surely patina, all we have to do is to take care of the leather so that it would have a clean, even, and gorgeous patina.

Louis Vuitton Patina Stages

Advantages of a Patinated Bag
A Patinated bag also has some perks. The first and the most important, no one will dare accuse your bag as counterfiet. A patinated bag is a proof that your bag is geniuine. But now, the counterfieters are becoming more skilled, they can make a fake bag that can also undergo patination.

There are certain bags that looks good when it’s vachetta has patina. For example, if your bag is in Monogram Canvas, the patina will complement the color of the canvas and gives it a vintage feel. The vachetta will also look and feel smooth. But if your bag is Damier Azur, unfortunately, it doesn’t look that beautiful. Majority of the Damier Azur owners don’t like their bags to patina and are finding ways to prevent or slow down the process.

Candidates for Patination

Here’s a list of Louis Vuitton bags that are candidates for patination:

  • All bags in Monogram Canvas
  • All Damier Azure bags
  • Vernis Bellevue
  • Vernis Roxbury Drive
  • Vernis Reade
  • Vernis Brentwood
  • Vernis Summit Drive
  • Vernis Rosewood
  • Vernis Bedford
  • Denim Baggy
  • Denim Mini Pleaty
  • Denim Pleaty
  • Denim Speedy
  • Denim Sac a Dos
  • All Monogram Multicolore bags
  • All Monogram Rubis bags
  • Watercolor Speedy
  • Watercolor Papillon

To sum it up, all bags with vachetta will patina.

An Obsessive Compulsive’s Guide to a Gorgeous Patina
A perfect patina is color honey. It’s color tone is even on all sides and there are no stains, watermarks, and scratches. Sounds heavenly but the process in having a gorgeous patina is ridiculously extreme and you might not survive through the process.

  1. After you arrive home from purchasing your bag at the Louis Vuitton boutique, sanitize your hands and/or wear clean surgical gloves to prevent dirt from transferring from your hands to the vachetta.
  2. Place your bag at a carefully selected spot in your home wherin no sunlight will hit the bag. This will ensure your bag will not patina prematurely.
  3. After months of oxidizing your bag (leaving it in the “carefuly selected spot”), the vachetta’s color will darken a bit.
  4. The bag is now ready to tan. Move the bag in a spot where there is sunlight (not direct), remember to sanitize your hands and/or wear surgical gloves. Leave the bag there for a few months, turning the purse once in a while to have even exposure to the sunlight. After that, the vachetta will be browner that it was before.
  5. Continue this process for 5 to 10 years. Then you will have a gorgeous even patina.

That guide was absolutely ridiculous. No one can ever do that. I suggest that always do the basic care formula; avoid water, clean the vachetta using baby wipes, and love. The vachetta won’t always look perfect. One way or another, it will have stains and other unneccessary marks but always remember, the stains are the evidence that your bag has gained lots of experience and that’s the real beauty of it. Viva la Patina!

Patina Photos

Louis Vuitton Monogram Mini HL with Full Patina
Louis Vuitton Monogram Speedy with Full Patina
Louis Vuitton Monogram Speedy with Lighter Patina
Louis Vuitton Multicolore Mini HL with Dark Patina
Louis Vuitton Monogram Speedy with Full Patina
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  • Anonymous

    “Continue this process for 5 to 10 years. Then you will have a gorgeous even patina.”

    This cracks me up! Nyahahaha! You’d be lucky if you’re still alive when the patina process is finished!

  • Cassey

    This is very informative. Thanks a lot!

  • Anonymous

    is it alright to keep your LV in a sterlite container? I'm not like super against it getting darker (I'm assuming since oxidation causes the darkening, if there is less oxygen it might slightly slow it down) but I live in an apt at college and I just had a problem where some carpet beetles ate my cashmere clothes and I'm not taking any chances with the manhattan gm.

    • Vanessameansbutterfly

      you should store your LV unzipped and where it can get air, preferably in its dust bag, if the inside has the slick leather it will become sticky while stored and you can not fix that.

  • Anonymous

    I have an LV SC Bag in monogram for about a year now and i am very satisfied with it. however, the rolled vachetta handles are already wrinkled at the back/bottom part where you hold it. is this normal for any LV with rolled vachetta handles such as the speedy, keepall and the likes? and i also starting to see some wrinkles on the shoulder strap. Help!

  • This article is very slightly misleading! Do not worry about following all this steps, just avoid your handbag getting soaked (if it does, dry it off with a towel – NOT direct heat – you will be fine). And don’t leave the handbag facing the sunlight – this can bleach the hide. Through everyday use your bag will develop a patina over time

    • Anon

      Lol… that guide was an obvious joke…

  • Bec

    I heard your not supposed to use baby wipes for the handles as it can leave water marks or stain the vachetta?

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