My search for the perfect tote coincided with the last relaunch of the Mansur Gavriel website. These coveted handbags are difficult to get - as I understand the restocking event over the summer, which was also called a relaunch sold out in a matter of minutes.
I had sent a listing of potential tote purchases with images to the Mister for input. Wouldn't you know that he thought that the Mansur Gavriel option was the best looking. So I decided I was going to go for it and hope for the best. I guess it was meant to be mine because I had no problem purchasing one on the day of the fall relaunch.
When it arrived the initial excitement wore off pretty quickly when I noticed a few small but noticeable oil marks. I was freaking out! I emailed the customer service team to inquire about these marks, with images, and they informed me that this was a natural part of vegetable tanned leather. They further suggested that I could condition the bag and that the marks would definitely blend right in with the rest of the bag. I was really skeptical of their advice but realized that it was either try it or give up on the bag, so I did a little additional research and decided to try it.
Mise En Place:
- large work area
- paper towels/towel
- soft cloth
- baby wipes
- hydrating mist
- leather conditioner
- water repellant
Cover your work area with paper towels or a clean cloth. Set out the remaining items for ease of use.
Wipe down bag with baby wipes.
The idea is to use something that is gentle yet effective to remove dirt, dust, and general yuckiness from the surface of the bag. I chose a baby wipe with essential oils for an extra nourishing clean. Once the bag is clean, move directly to step 2.
Spray bag with hydrating mist.
This step was the scariest of all for me. The key is to find a mist that sprays fine, to cover the bag with a sheer veil, and to move quickly. I like grape or rose water best. When the bag is moisturized, proceed to step 3.
Apply a coat of leather conditioner.
Use an applicator sponge and smooth a thin even coat of conditioner over the entire bag. It is important to note that there may be dye transfer onto the sponge -- do not worry, it is excess dye and will not damage the bag. The conditioner will leave a slight sheen that was a useful visual for me to know that I did not miss any spots. I chose a milky, all natural liquid conditioner. Use a hanger and let the bag dry overnight before moving to step 4.
Apply a coat of water repellant.
Use an applicator sponge and smooth a thin even layer of water repellant over the entire bag. Again, do not worry about dye transfer onto the sponge -- the bag is going to be just fine. The water repellant will dull the sheen left by the conditioner that was another helpful visual in the process. I picked a thicker, waxy liquid water repellant. Hang the bag and dry it overnight. Then on to the final step.
Take the soft cloth and gently rub it over the surface of the bag in circular motions. Polishing the bag will reveal the luster of the clean, moisturized, and protected leather achieved through my 5 step method.
Following the five steps listed, my tote turned out lovely. All of the mentioned oil marks disappeared, and the leather has a luxurious sheen to it. I plan to use this method for routine care and look forward to enjoying my tote for years to come.