Combating Counterfeits: Fake Anglomania Dresses on Ebay

PicMonkey Collage2In the past few weeks an influx of Vivienne Westwood Anglomania counterfeits have appeared on auction site Ebay. It is well known that the site is awash with fake jewellery and handbags, even some clothes such as the classic t-shirts and jumpers, however this is the first time I have seen them trying to fake more high profile pieces. The majority are dresses but also jackets and coats have been spotted. These sales are very difficult to detect as being counterfeit from the listings, the sellers are really devious. I have no doubt that the people bidding on them believe they are the real deal, especially considering some of them are selling for hundreds of pounds. They clothes look like the real deal to the untrained eye, especially when you can’t see it in real life. I hate to see people being ripped off, especially as I champion ebay as a great place to pick up Westwood on a budget so I have made this guide in the hopes of helping. There a a few easy things you can look out for to detect the fakes, its a lengthy post with images so click for more:

Continue reading

Youtube Video – Spotting Real Vivienne Westwood Pirate Boots

Due to popular demand, I updated my original post ‘Vivienne Westwood Pirate boots – History & How to Spot Fakes’ and also added a short Youtube┬á video to demonstrate what real Vivienne Westwood Pirate boots look like in the flesh. You can also check out the video below, where you can see I am not a Londoner like many people mistake me for, but a real Northerner! I also have a cold so its a bit sniffy sorry! I will be adding lots more shoes videos to my channel so stay tuned.

Vivienne Westwood Pirate Boots: History & How to Spot Fakes

Introduction to Vivienne Westwood Pirate Boots

(Wearing: Vivienne Westwood SEX jumper now in its new home with my friend Dai and ladies pirate boots; Ann Demeulemeester jacket, Fendi bag and Vivienne Westwood trousers)

In 1981 something rather incredible happened, the Vivienne Westwood pirate boot was born! Westwood designed the boots as part of her Pirates collection see below.

 
1981 Pirate Collection, 1981 design boots now available at Worlds End, London

Though this is not the reason why you can buy pirate boots today, as they soon went out of production. In fact you can thank Kate Moss for the pair of modern pirate boots you are wearing today. Kate stepped out in a vintage pair from Rellik in 1999 and due to the phenomena know as the ‘Moss’ effect, caused such a high demand for them Rellik was receiving 50 enquiries a week. Hence the boots went back into production and are now one of the most highly sought after fashion classics.

Kate Moss in her beloved vintage pirate boots
Today the boots are a classic piece in the Westwood collections, available constantly regardless of season, however if they don’t have a pair available in your size there is a 6-8 week wait whilst a pair is hand made for you in England.
The colours available in leather are black, yellow, brown and brick red and grey available in suede they are also specially produced in the Squiggle print (red on white, navy on brown, brown on tan), which you can order at Worlds End. These are the Gold label boots. As you can see in the below photos the boots are incredibly versatile, hence their popularity.
Sienna Miller pairs hers with a skirt, whilst Bianca Brandolini (I originally thought this was Margherita Missonni, thanks Ginta for correcting me but don’t they look alike) opts for jeans
There are also Accessories label boots produced seasonally which vary in colours and materials, these boots are only produced for one season at a time. They have been made in all black, black with tan straps, beige, sheepskin lined and some even in printed fabric such as floral.
The main difference between the two styles is that the Gold label boots are better for wearing slouched down, like Sienna and Bianca, whilst the Accessories label are stiffer and cut higher so best for wearing pulled up like Miley below.
The boots are sometimes made available in a heeled version, with a low Cuban heel as seen on Kiera and with a slim stiletto heel.
Miley Cyrus and Kiera Knightly

Floral version from S/S11

Cuban heeled and stiletto heel, images from eBay

┬áI am sure you are aware these boots don’t come cheap at ┬ú370 (price correct as of May 2013), worth every penny as they are handmade and beautiful quality, but still very expensive. I know many people have tried seeking out a pair on eBay, which is a great option but unfortunately there are many counterfeit / fake pairs. By this I do not mean boots in a similar style such as ones from Topshop or Office for example, but one which are branded Vivienne Westwood but were not in fact produced by the brand. Counterfeit goods are not only illegal but are also very badly made and in some cases dangerous. My guides on spotting fake Chanel and Louis Vuitton have been very popular and I know have helped a lot of people, so after a few emails on pirate boots I decided to write this one.

I should also mention that fakes are not just sold on eBay, but also on websites which look like the real deal. The only websites licensed to sell the Gold Label pirate boots in the UK is http://www.viviennewestwood.co.uk/ (.com if you are international), the Accessories boots are available on other designer websites which stock Anglomania clothing such as net-a-porter but as the boots are seasonal the stockist can change. The best advice I can give is only use a website you are familiar with, that has a clear ‘about us’ policy and holds a secure server. Also if the price is too good to be true, it usually is!

Gold Label Pirate Boots

These are my new Gold Label Vivienne Westwood pirate boots, as you can see they are very soft suede this is why they slouch down so easily. Note the very, very pale colour of the straps. This is how all untreated leather should look, over time it will darken to a honey / tan colour as the natural leather oxidises. This is the same thing which occurs on Louis Vuitton bags. All the images of the genuine boots are my own.

The Gold Label boots come in a cream box with gold embossed lettering.

Inside you will receive ONE soft felt cloth dust bag, with a gold string and gold lettering. If there is tissue paper in the box it will be pale pink with gold orbs.

The toe piece (vamp) on the Gold label is wider than on the Accessories label.

The boots slouch as they do not have a supportive strip on the back of the boot – unlike the Accessories label ones which we will see later. The first strap and the fourth strap will go right around the boot, whilst the second and third strap go half way, the fifth strap goes around the foot.

The heel is made from a wooden piece with 3 separate layers, topped with a piece of rubber, the rubber piece goes right across the heel – unlike the Accessories boots, see later. I should also note that once the rubber section gets worn down you should have the boots re-heeled, once you get to the wooden section the heel will be irreparable.

The buckles are silver, also note the very tiny and neat stitching.

As the straps are natural leather they will be nubuck (suede) on the reverse.

Inside the boots are padded on the sole and embossed in gold writing.

The sole of the boot will also be embossed in gold, here you can also see the whole rubber heel. The square mark is where the materials sticker was removed, and the little circle the size sticker. These stickers are transparent plastic with gold writing, the square sticker will have three shoe symbols representing the outer, inner and sole then each has the leather mark next to it to show that the entire boot is made from leather.  The little round size sticker will have the size in UK sizes e.g 4, 5, 6 and not European sizes e.g 37, 38, 39. The soles of the boots are also leather, it has a thin layer with a slight sheen to it which will wear off after the first wear. When the sole gets very worn and starts to look thin it should be covered with a rubber sole to protect it. Rubber soles can also be added prior to wear to make them wearable in the rain and also prevent the leather sole wearing, it also gives the sole grip. I have the rubber soles added on new shoes if they need grip, otherwise I wait until they need reheeling and get them reheeled and resoled at the same time.

Timpsons does a free reheel if you pay for the sole. I find Timpsons are great for all reheeling except for the Vivienne Westwood Gold Label low heeled shoes, those I take to Jones the Bootmaker as they make sure the new heel is correctly balanced. Unbalancing occurs when the new heel tip is thicker, and thus higher, than the old one and the VW shoes have a much thinner tip that the standard heel tips Timpsons use. Whilst we are onto care tips Office brand suede spray is the best brand I have found, as it sprays dry so you don’t get any spotting which can happen with some sprays.

Accessories Label Pirate Boots

Now we can look at the Accessories Label pirate boots. Here is the box, as you can see it is twice the size of the Gold label boots! It will be in coated silver card with gold lettering saying ‘Vivienne Westwood Accessories’.

Here are the black with tan straps and the all black versions (these aren’t mine, wish they were). The toe is rounder and narrower, they are taller and they have a leather strip along the back. The straps are originally slightly darker than the Gold label boots, but these here have also naturally darkened – you can get them to darken faster if you massage them with clear leather beeswax polish or teabags for a darker stain.

The back strip will be embossed ‘Vivienne Westwood’

The buckles are silver and again note the neat stitching.

The soles are leather but will have a slight sheen from the coating, this will wear off after first wear. The heel is different as it only has a section which is rubber, it will be embossed with ‘Vivienne Westwood’, ‘Made in Italy’, the size in European sizes and the orb logo.

How to spot FAKE Vivienne Westwood Pirate Boots, by comparison

Fake box with black writing
This fake dust bag is black with gold writing, there is also a second white dust bag both made from rough, thin materials which would not be appropriate to store natural leather.
As you can see the boots themselves are in the correct shape with pretty correct looking straps, but the ‘leather’ looks very tough and is likely not real leather. The straps are clumsily sewn onto the boot and are backed with a cotton-like fabric, not natural nubuck. The boots look cheaply made and are not even close to the high quality of the genuine boots. These will also have plastic soles. These images were taken from eBay.

Spotting Fake Bondage Boots

Whilst not pirate boots I though it wise to also show this pair of FAKE Bondage boots ABOVE, this pair of boots I found on eBay.
The GENUINE Bondage boots are BELOW.
The Bondage boots come in either black, yellow, red or cream canvas uppers. The rest of the boot is leather, with tan leather trim, natural leather straps and yellow laces. The most noticeable difference from the fake is that they have a chunky curved heel, and the toe will have the ‘animal feet’ imprints – the fake is totally square. These images were liberated from eBay.
You can also read another of my posts on pirate boots which has lots of images HERE

Just let me know if there is anything else you want to know,

hope this was helpful,

Pearl

Watch my companion video to the guide on Youtube

You can now download my FREE eBook ‘A Guide to Spotting Counterfeits: including Chanel 2.55, Louis Vuitton scarves and Vivienne Westwood Pirate & clothes’ HERE

Read more comments from my old blog

DUE TO SPAM I HAVE HAD TO SUSPEND COMMENTS ON OLD POSTS IF YOU WANT TO TALK TO ME OR ADD A COMMENT PLEASE EMAIL OR SEND A FACEBOOK MESSAGE / TWEET

https://www.facebook.com/FashionPearlsofWisdom

fashionpearlsofwisdom@googlemail.com

@pearlwestwood

Continue reading

Louis Vuitton Stephen Sprouse Scarves: History & Spotting Fakes

History
S/S 2001: The first colaborative collection between Stephen Sprouse and Marc Jacobs for Louis Vuitton was revealed.


The story of Marc Jacobs, Stephen Sprouse, and Louis Vuitton began in the late ’90s, when Jacobs found himself thinking about Marcel Duchamp, the French artist who once sullied an image of the Mona Lisa with a funny little beard and mustache and called it L.H.O.O.Q., which, if you say the letters fast in French, roughly translates to “she has a hot ass.”
“It’s about taking something that’s very iconic and revered and defacing it and creating something new, somewhat rebellious, and kind of punk,” Jacobs explains. “Cut from Marcel Duchamp to me going to see Charlotte Gainsbourg’s apartment,” he continues. “She had, by the side of her bed, a Louis Vuitton trunk that had been painted black by her father, and the Monogram was sort of peeking through.”
Suddenly it was very clear what Jacobs needed to do. He needed to deface the revered and iconic Monogram canvas, and he needed to do it in a way that was modern enough to attract a new customer to the big old French brand. To do this, he reasoned, he needed Stephen Sprouse.
Sprouse was one of the first high-fashion designers in the ’80s to make clothes that were painstakingly constructed, as well as hip and young and cool. A mantle, perhaps, inherited by Jacobs himself? “God, I can’t say that,” Jacobs says, still clearly in awe of his late friend. “I mean, you could say that, but I never could.”
The parallels are difficult to ignore: “He had this desire to take what he saw in the streets and elevate it,” Jacobs says of Sprouse. “He was using all this stuff that was so costly, really beautiful materials, and he was doing it all so beautifully. There are so many people who try to affect a street style, but it doesn’t have the integrity. Stephen’s work was so stylistic, and it had street cred. You can’t calculate that. You have it or you don’t, and Stephen did.”
It took some time for Jacobs to convince the Vuitton powers that be that scrawling all over their time-tested bags was a good idea, but Vuitton did, eventually, come around, and Sprouse came to Paris. The rest, of course, is It-bag history. “They thought the bags would be for the show,” Jacobs says, “or for editorial.” But as names on wait lists piled up, the bags were produced. And Jacobs was a genius.
Vuitton did reach a new customer ÔÇö $300 million worth of them, Jacobs has said ÔÇö and has continued to do so through similar partnerships with artists like Takashi Murakami and Richard Prince. Each of these bags has been a triumph. They have been shown ÔÇö and sold! ÔÇö in fine-art museums.

Jacobs doesn’t live in a vacuum: He knows that these luxurious, spirited bags will hit the market at a touchy economic time for conspicuous consumption. But he shakes it off. “Retail therapy,” he says, offering his leg up to the silk-screen artist. “It seems to work. It’s not the longest-lasting therapy in the world, but it does its job. I’m not pretending to cure the nation’s economy, but we do what we do, and if people enjoy it, even better.”

Stephen Sprouse died in 2004 at the too-young age of 50.

F/W 06/07: Marc Jacobs made his first tribute to Sprouse by using a leopard print design they had devised together.

It is this print which launched the worldwide phenomena that was to become the LV leo scarf.

S/S 2009: Saw the launch of the latest tribute collection ‘roses’

“It’s an homage,” Jacobs says of the new collection, which features clothing, bags, and other accessories. It’s a limited release, timed to coincide with the opening of a Sprouse retrospective at Deitch Projects this month in New York and the publication of Rizzoli’s The Stephen Sprouse Book. “Stephen was one of the first people to deliberately eliminate the boundaries between fashion, art, music, and design,” says gallerist Jeffrey Deitch. It was Deitch who approached Jacobs and Vuitton with the idea for the collection. “And product,” he says, “is a great way to get a message across.”

Combating Counterfeits
Louis Vuitton is one of the most counterfeited brands in the fashion world due to its image as a status symbol. Only a small fraction of products bearing the LV initials in the general population are authentic. Ironically, the signature Monogram Canvas was created to prevent counterfeiting. In 2004, Louis Vuitton fakes accounted for 18% of counterfeit accessories seized in the EU.
The company takes counterfeiting seriously, and employs a team of lawyers and special investigation agencies, actively pursuing offenders through the courts worldwide, and allocating about half of its budget of communications to counteract piracy of its goods. LVMH (Vuitton’s parent company) further confirmed this by stating that “some 60 people at various levels of responsibility working full time on anti-counterfeiting in collaboration with a wide network of outside investigators and a team of lawyers.” In a further effort, the company closely controls the distribution of its products.Until the 1980s, Vuitton products were widely sold in department stores (e.g. Neiman Marcuss and Saks Fifth Avenue). Today, Vuitton products are primarily available at authentic Louis Vuitton boutiques, with a small number of exceptions. These boutiques are commonly found in upscale shopping districts or inside luxury department stores. The boutiques within department stores operate independently from the department and have their own LV managers and employees. LV has recently launched an online store, through its main website, as an authorized channel to market its products.

Unfortunately they are not doing enough! Ebay is awash with counterfeit scarves and I have seen people paying more for a fake than a genuine LV would cost in store! So here are some tips that may help you out.

Genuine Louis Vuitton Scarves

Marron Leopard



Leopard Print:
note the size and spacing of the graffiti print, the wording on the label and how it is attached with two simple stitches. The scarf will come in a matt black dust bag with pink lettering. Some scarves will come in a box others a carrier. The lettering on the carrier/ box should say ‘Louis Vuitton’ in basic soft, rounded text. A receipt will be produced on cream thick paper and printed with brown ink.

Blue Nuit Leopard



Graffiti Roses in Orange

Note that the graffiti print is a lot smaller than on the leopard, and that this design ONLY comes in orange and pink. The colours of which are highly fluorescent.
Counterfeit LV scarves

Fakes often come in colour schemes that were never available at LV such as this purple on purple.

Fakes often have card tags attached with plastic and these little yellow cards, the dust bags are often shiny in a satin-like material.
Original LV scarves do not come with authenticity cards.

Look at the carrier bag, it should not have the LV logo like this nor the text in that format.


See how the label is machine stitched, originals should only have two hand stitches. All original scarves will have a label.

Here the box has the incorrect branding and the graffiti print is too large for this style scarf.
But, some of the newer fakes look very much like the real thing, check the position of the LV grafitti across the bottom, it should be clost to the edge not 6″ up the scarf, there should be no tags with plastic.

Also it is hard to resist a bargain but if you are paying less than ┬ú350 for a leo, ┬ú400 for a rose leo or ┬ú550 for a blue nuit you probably are buying a fake. For a genuine blue nuit ┬ú700-1000 is the current auction price depending on condition, for a grey or monograoflage ┬ú1000 as these are the rarest. If you want a brown leo just go buy it from LV as these are now a classic piece and ┬ú460 – I have seen fakes sell for pretty close to this, so ask yourself is it worth it!
I hope these tips can help you, but if you have been sold a fake contact your local Trading Standards agency (in UK). They will do their best to get you your money back, and every report helps combat illegal activity.
If you have any of your own tips do let me know so we can build up this page and help stop people getting ripped of!
Pearl
(Sources: Harpers bazaar, Times online, welovesprouse.com, wikipedia)
UPDATE: Please be aware I have now seen two eBayer’s tagging this post to ‘prove’ their scarf is genuine, when it is actually a fake! If you are buying on ebay please read the post very carefully and be suspicious of scarves without labels, dust bags or receipts, and those without very clear photos. Also take into account that you can buy a brand new brown leo for ┬ú460, the other colours and styles were limited edition and will now sell for around ┬ú700 to over ┬ú1000. If the price is significantly cheaper you really need to consider why anyone would sell if for such a low price?
Of course I am sure there are some people out there selling scarves they truly believe to be genuine and are totally unaware that they are fake, maybe it was a gift. So if you do end up with a fake, keep communication amicable. If they refuse to refund get right on to paypal, ebay and trading standards. Selling counterfeit goods is illegal and no one should have to be ripped off. It is about time these governing bodies stood up and started to protect buyers more.

You can now download my FREE eBook ‘A Guide to Spotting Counterfeits: including Chanel 2.55, Louis Vuitton scarves and Vivienne Westwood Pirate & clothes’ HERE

DUE TO SPAM I HAVE HAD TO SUSPEND COMMENTS ON OLD POSTS IF YOU WANT TO TALK TO ME OR ADD A COMMENT PLEASE EMAIL OR SEND A FACEBOOK MESSAGE / TWEET

https://www.facebook.com/FashionPearlsofWisdom

fashionpearlsofwisdom@googlemail.com

@pearlwestwood

Louis Vuitton Stephen Sprouse Scarves: History & Spotting Fakes

History 

S/S 2001: The first colaborative collection between Stephen Sprouse and Marc Jacobs for Louis Vuitton was revealed.The story of Marc Jacobs, Stephen Sprouse, and Louis Vuitton began in the late ’90s, when Jacobs found himself thinking about Marcel Duchamp, the French artist who once sullied an image of the Mona Lisa with a funny little beard and mustache and called it L.H.O.O.Q., which, if you say the letters fast in French, roughly translates to “she has a hot ass.”

“It’s about taking something that’s very iconic and revered and defacing it and creating something new, somewhat rebellious, and kind of punk,” Jacobs explains. “Cut from Marcel Duchamp to me going to see Charlotte Gainsbourg’s apartment,” he continues. “She had, by the side of her bed, a Louis Vuitton trunk that had been painted black by her father, and the Monogram was sort of peeking through.”

Suddenly it was very clear what Jacobs needed to do. He needed to deface the revered and iconic Monogram canvas, and he needed to do it in a way that was modern enough to attract a new customer to the big old French brand. To do this, he reasoned, he needed Stephen Sprouse.

Sprouse was one of the first high-fashion designers in the ’80s to make clothes that were painstakingly constructed, as well as hip and young and cool. A mantle, perhaps, inherited by Jacobs himself? “God, I can’t say that,” Jacobs says, still clearly in awe of his late friend. “I mean, you could say that, but I never could.”The parallels are difficult to ignore: “He had this desire to take what he saw in the streets and elevate it,” Jacobs says of Sprouse. “He was using all this stuff that was so costly, really beautiful materials, and he was doing it all so beautifully. There are so many people who try to affect a street style, but it doesn’t have the integrity. Stephen’s work was so stylistic, and it had street cred. You can’t calculate that. You have it or you don’t, and Stephen did.”

It took some time for Jacobs to convince the Vuitton powers that be that scrawling all over their time-tested bags was a good idea, but Vuitton did, eventually, come around, and Sprouse came to Paris. The rest, of course, is It-bag history. “They thought the bags would be for the show,” Jacobs says, “or for editorial.” But as names on wait lists piled up, the bags were produced. And Jacobs was a genius.Vuitton did reach a new customer ÔÇö $300 million worth of them, Jacobs has said ÔÇö and has continued to do so through similar partnerships with artists like Takashi Murakami and Richard Prince. Each of these bags has been a triumph. They have been shown ÔÇö and sold! ÔÇö in fine-art museums.

Jacobs doesn’t live in a vacuum: He knows that these luxurious, spirited bags will hit the market at a touchy economic time for conspicuous consumption. But he shakes it off. “Retail therapy,” he says, offering his leg up to the silk-screen artist. “It seems to work. It’s not the longest-lasting therapy in the world, but it does its job. I’m not pretending to cure the nation’s economy, but we do what we do, and if people enjoy it, even better.”

Stephen Sprouse died in 2004 at the too-young age of 50.

F/W 06/07: Marc Jacobs made his first tribute to Sprouse by using a leopard print design they had devised together.

It is this print which launched the worldwide phenomena that was to become the LV leo scarf.

S/S 2009: Saw the launch of the latest tribute collection ‘roses’

“It’s an homage,” Jacobs says of the new collection, which features clothing, bags, and other accessories. It’s a limited release, timed to coincide with the opening of a Sprouse retrospective at Deitch Projects this month in New York and the publication of Rizzoli’s The Stephen Sprouse Book. “Stephen was one of the first people to deliberately eliminate the boundaries between fashion, art, music, and design,” says gallerist Jeffrey Deitch. It was Deitch who approached Jacobs and Vuitton with the idea for the collection. “And product,” he says, “is a great way to get a message across.”

Combating Counterfeits

Louis Vuitton is one of the most counterfeited brands in the fashion world due to its image as a status symbol. Only a small fraction of products bearing the LV initials in the general population are authentic. Ironically, the signature Monogram Canvas was created to prevent counterfeiting. In 2004, Louis Vuitton fakes accounted for 18% of counterfeit accessories seized in the EU.

The company takes counterfeiting seriously, and employs a team of lawyers and special investigation agencies, actively pursuing offenders through the courts worldwide, and allocating about half of its budget of communications to counteract piracy of its goods. LVMH (Vuitton’s parent company) further confirmed this by stating that “some 60 people at various levels of responsibility working full time on anti-counterfeiting in collaboration with a wide network of outside investigators and a team of lawyers.” In a further effort, the company closely controls the distribution of its products.Until the 1980s, Vuitton products were widely sold in department stores (e.g. Neiman Marcuss and Saks Fifth Avenue). Today, Vuitton products are primarily available at authentic Louis Vuitton boutiques, with a small number of exceptions. These boutiques are commonly found in upscale shopping districts or inside luxury department stores. The boutiques within department stores operate independently from the department and have their own LV managers and employees. LV has recently launched an online store, through its main website, as an authorized channel to market its products.

Unfortunately they are not doing enough! Ebay is awash with counterfeit scarves and I have seen people paying more for a fake than a genuine LV would cost in store! So here are some tips that may help you out.

Genuine Louis Vuitton Scarves

 

Marron Leopard

 

Leopard Print:

note the size and spacing of the graffiti print, the wording on the label and how it is attached with two simple stitches. The scarf will come in a matt black dust bag with pink lettering. Some scarves will come in a box others a carrier. The lettering on the carrier/ box should say ‘Louis Vuitton’ in basic soft, rounded text. A receipt will be produced on cream thick paper and printed with brown ink.

Blue Nuit Leopard

 

Graffiti Roses in Orange
Note that the graffiti print is a lot smaller than on the leopard, and that this design ONLY comes in orange and pink. The colours of which are highly fluorescent.

Counterfeit LV scarves
Fakes often come in colour schemes that were never available at LV such as this purple on purple.

Fakes often have card tags attached with plastic and these little yellow cards, the dust bags are often shiny in a satin-like material.

Original LV scarves do not come with authenticity cards.

Look at the carrier bag, it should not have the LV logo like this nor the text in that format.

See how the label is machine stitched, originals should only have two hand stitches. All original scarves will have a label.

Here the box has the incorrect branding and the graffiti print is too large for this style scarf.

But, some of the newer fakes look very much like the real thing, check the position of the LV grafitti across the bottom, it should be clost to the edge not 6″ up the scarf, there should be no tags with plastic.

Also it is hard to resist a bargain but if you are paying less than ┬ú350 for a leo, ┬ú400 for a rose leo or ┬ú550 for a blue nuit you probably are buying a fake. For a genuine blue nuit ┬ú700-1000 is the current auction price depending on condition, for a grey or monograoflage ┬ú1000 as these are the rarest. If you want a brown leo just go buy it from LV as these are now a classic piece and ┬ú460 – I have seen fakes sell for pretty close to this, so ask yourself is it worth it!
I hope these tips can help you, but if you have been sold a fake contact your local Trading Standards agency (in UK). They will do their best to get you your money back, and every report helps combat illegal activity.
If you have any of your own tips do let me know so we can build up this page and help stop people getting ripped of!
Pearl
(Sources: Harpers bazaar, Times online, welovesprouse.com, wikipedia)
UPDATE: Please be aware I have now seen two eBayer’s tagging this post to ‘prove’ their scarf is genuine, when it is actually a fake! If you are buying on ebay please read the post very carefully and be suspicious of scarves without labels, dust bags or receipts, and those without very clear photos. Also take into account that you can buy a brand new brown leo for ┬ú460, the other colours and styles were limited edition and will now sell for around ┬ú700 to over ┬ú1000. If the price is significantly cheaper you really need to consider why anyone would sell if for such a low price?
Of course I am sure there are some people out there selling scarves they truly believe to be genuine and are totally unaware that they are fake, maybe it was a gift. So if you do end up with a fake, keep communication amicable. If they refuse to refund get right on to paypal, ebay and trading standards. Selling counterfeit goods is illegal and no one should have to be ripped off. It is about time these governing bodies stood up and started to protect buyers more.

You can now download my FREE eBook ‘A Guide to Spotting Counterfeits: including Chanel 2.55, Louis Vuitton scarves and Vivienne Westwood Pirate & clothes’ HERE

The Chanel 2.55 Handbag: History, Facts, Fakes and the find of a century!

This is it! This is the fashion find that nearly stopped my heart and fulfilled a dream. It is not what it might appear however, on first glance. I didn’t just by this from Chanel. I tracked this down half way across the world. It is an original 2.55 handbag from between 1955 and the 1960’s. It was designed by Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel herself.

So if you are not familiar with the history of the 2.55, my find coinsides nicely with a long feature I had been writing on the history and design details of the bag. Together with some hints on buying genuine Chanel, not counterfeits.
The history of the Chanel handbag

In 1910 Gabrielle ÔÇÿCocoÔÇÖ Chanel opened the now famous 31 Rue Cambon boutique, under the name ÔÇÿChanel ModesÔÇÖ. For the next 25 years her business continued to grow and by 1935 she employed 4000 staff! In 1939, however Coco retired during the war years, causing outcry worldwide! Coco it seemed could not be parted from fashion for long, as at the age of 71 she came out of retirement and continued to work until her death in 1971. After her death Alain Wertheimer (the grandson of her financial backer) took control, it was Alain who was responsible for ÔÇÿreducing availabilityÔÇÖ of the Chanel perfumes, hence creating high demand. He also convinced Karl Largerfeld to leave Chloe and join Chanel in 1983.
CocoÔÇÖs revolutionary designs are known the world over; she reinvented female attire for comfort and practicality. It was in February 1955 however, that a design for a practical bag was born. This bag named after its birthday was the 2.55. Today this same design still holds no rival, it is the epitome of luxury, but also, and perhaps more importantly, style.
In 1955 the bag didnÔÇÖt actually look like what most of you will be imagining now. The current popular design was actually an updated version by Karl Largefeld in the 80ÔÇÖs. CocoÔÇÖs 2.55 is the design which is now termed the ÔÇÿreissueÔÇÖ. Both bags have the classic shape but the clasp and straps differ. CocoÔÇÖs 2.55 and the ÔÇÿreissueÔÇÖ have a full chain strap and a rectangular twist lock. The chain was inspired by her orphanage guardÔÇÖs similar to one from which their keys would hang. The twist lock simply practical and secure, now often termed the ÔÇÿmadamoiselleÔÇÖ lock, after Coco who never married. KarlÔÇÖs 2.55 introduced the familiar interlocked CC logo of the house of Chanel into the twist lock design, the leather threaded through the chain strap was also a later addition. This design is also referred to as the ÔÇÿclassic flapÔÇÖ. In 2005, the 50th anniversary of the 2.55, Largerfeld ÔÇÿreissuedÔÇÖ CocoÔÇÖs 2.55, so today both styles can be purchased in various colours and materials.

The very first 2.55ÔÇÖs were made of jersey and leather with the quilting hand stitched! Apparently the back stitching was done in a ÔÇÿsecret stitchÔÇÖ to ensure durability. The chain and lock were gold coloured metal and the interior the famous blood red grosgrain. Coco wanted a bag that kept her hands free. The original mademoiselle lock does not have ÔÇÿChanelÔÇÖ stamped below, this was an introduction on the reissue. The clasp is separated into three segments and sometimes has a smaller central divide, which tends to be equally segmented on the reissue.

The only flaw on my bag is the gold on the chain has rubbed, this can be re-gilded by Chanel, but I kind of like it as it is. Otherwise it is pristine!
The general design of the 2.55 has remained consistent, and there are some features which you will recognise. Starting with the quilted ÔÇÿdiamondÔÇÖ design, which was influenced by jockeyÔÇÖs jackets, Coco loved horse racing. First is the front flap which comes over the bag and is slightly rounded at the corners. The chain handle is one continuous loop which threads through two holes in the top of the bag. This allows the chain to be worn at two lengths, depending on whether you pull one side out or both for a double strap. On the back is one half moon shaped pocket, in which Coco stashed her extra money. The bag also has two little dimples on either side just under the strap holes. The front and the back have raised quilting whilst the bottom and sides will be flat.

Inside the bag there is a small zippered pocket on the reverse of the flap, this tiny pocket is where Coco hid her love letters! This whole section should mirror the colour of the bag, as should the zipper pull which should be a basic tab of the same material. Now you see the ÔÇÿsecondÔÇÖ or ÔÇÿdoubleÔÇÖ flap, a second flap which fastens with a press stud. This will open to reveal the dark red signature inner, the colour of the childrenÔÇÖs uniforms at CocoÔÇÖs orphanage! Here you will find stitched and slightly raised the large double CC logo. The main compartment has a sectioned compartment on the back wall divided into two pockets and a central ÔÇÿlipstickÔÇÖ pouch. There is also a pocket on the front of the bag underneath where the clasp post is.
Here are some photos of my ‘classic flap’ 2.55 so you can see the differences. I was torn at the time between this and a black leather with gold hard wear reissue, so glad I chose this! It is black caviar leather with silver hard wear. I cannot even begin to explain what it felt like to buy this. I worked hard to pay for it. It was more than buying a bag though, as I remember going with my mum to buy her first 2.55 and it was such an achievement to have worked so hard building up a business to finally be in the position to own a brand new 2.55. It is more than a bag, it is almost like a medal.
The 2.55ÔÇÖs come in different sizes, colours and materials so there is a great choice these days, however most colours and special fabrics are seasonal so hard to get hold of. The regular size is generally classed as medium, with small referring to the ones about half this size. The size up from medium is large and then there is jumbo or XL. Then there is the East-West which is the same style but longer than it is deep, more of an elongated shape.
The main fabric is leather in soft calfskin or ÔÇÿcaviarÔÇÖ which has a textured effect. The calfskin is very delicate, whilst the caviar more hard wearing. The bags have also been produced in suede, fur, exotic skins, vinyl and a selection of fabrics such as satin, jersey and tweed.

The general colours are black and white; however red, purple, brown, beige, navy, blue, and pink occur throughout the season. These do sell out quickly though so if you have your heart set on a colour snap it up quick. The hardware is also available in gold or silver, or with the reissue in a pewter or black. The reissueÔÇÖs also come in metallic coloured leathers.

Occasionally the bags have accessories added; a personal favourite is the addition of camellia flowers! But brooches and emblems can appear on the front as can charms dangling from the strap. You can also add your own embellishments using bracelets, key chains and brooches. I sometimes pin my camellia brooches onto the chains strap which I think looks so summery!

I am also lucky enough to have this large size classic flap, which again is basically the same design but with the odd difference.

The large doesn’t have the ‘love letter’ pocket, double flap or segments in the main compartment.
ÔÇ£I would shed tears the day no one copied meÔÇØ

Coco famously declared, however I donÔÇÖt think she would have the same opinion on counterfeiters! Imitation is a natural progression for all fashions, but there is a huge difference in buying a Topshop chain handle bag or Zara tweed jacket and buying direct counterfeits.
How to Spot Fake Chanel Handbags
Counterfeit bags (and other goods) are those which illegally breach the original trademark ownerÔÇÖs copyright, if a bag bares the Chanel name or CC logo but is not a product of the house of Chanel then it is illegal. There is also the morality issue, you might think a big company like Chanel wonÔÇÖt be affected if you buy a counterfeit bag ÔÇô itÔÇÖs not like you would ever buy a real one? Well counterfeiting is just like any other illegal organisation and your purchase can be contributing to child labour, sex trafficking and drug dealing to name a few. It matters of style carrying a fake just looks tacky, trust me you are fooling no one! If you want the Chanel style on a budge go for the high street, where you can find Chanel inspired pieces at a fraction of the cost yet are still going to be good quality. ThatÔÇÖs another thing about counterfeits, whether they declare to be AA replicas or ÔÇÿmirrorÔÇÖ bags they will never, ever be high quality.

The best way to detect fake bags is to educate yourself on the key features genuine Chanel bags have. There are loads of tips pages on the web but the best and most concise is:

If you are looking to buy a Chanel bag, the lovely ladies on the Purse Forum will gladly help you out. They can take a look at ebay auctions for you and give their opinion on authenticity. I am a member but rarely find time to log on. I don’t have time to offer authentication’s but I am happy to help out followers of this blog with any tips or questions you might have. It breaks my heart to see people bidding hundreds of pounds on fake bags I see on ebay. I have actually wrote to ebay but I really don’t think they were interested, they suggested I contact Chanel about my concerns!
Anyway here are a few things a new bag should come with. All modern bags, and any from the 1980’s on wards will have an authenticity serial number. This is a modern one, it will have Chanel in black (just where my nail is) and have to CC logos in gold. There will be gold glitter embedded in the tag and an 8 digit serial number. There will also be a huge X cut into the tag (sorry it didn’t show up in the photo), this is to ensure the tag is destroyed on removal attempts. In fake bags these stickers just lift right off intact.

The serial number on the tag will match the number on a small plastic ‘authenticity card’, Ive obscured the number here as it is my own. Counterfeiters can use this information. The cards in the fake bags are so exact to the originals it is scary. But two main features give it away, the real cards do not come in a plastic cover. The real cards also only have matt gold trim, fakes have a rainbow sheen which luckily usually shows up against a camera flash. You will also get a little envelope (on the right) and sometimes a special fabric care card (left). These are counterfeited very well too I am afraid.

This is a mademoiselle lock from a reissue, just to show how the Chanel lettering can appear below the twist lock on the modern bags. Sometimes on smaller and oversize bags it is not included.
This is an authenticity tag from a vintage 1980-90s bag. Often these have not stood the test of time and you sometimes only have the white ‘horse shoe’ remaining.

If you are still aching for a real Chanel then why not go vintage? Granted an original Pre-Largerfeld isnÔÇÖt going to come cheap, but an 80ÔÇÖs or 90ÔÇÖs one could be picked up for a reasonable price. The condition and colour will of course weigh into the equation, but that really depends on preference. A well loved but still in good, overall condition navy classic flap could come in at around ┬ú300. I think current retail on a new one is ┬ú1400, as the price increases each year.

If you would like to see two more fine examples of original 2.55’s check out:
Another thing to note is the way the CC’s interlock. The usual way is for the right hand C to overlap the left at the top. This is often a good way of spotting a bad counterfeit as they mix this up. However on the original bags it is the otherway around on purpose! I do wonder when it was decided to settle on one way or the other – it is frustrating how little official info there is available.

These are the images of the classic and reissue from the Chanel website, they are both classed as ‘classics’ which means they are always produced, unlike seasonal items.
There are two variations from this seasons Cruise collection, in bright blue with charm, and in tweed.
Here you can see the three main sizes, medium, large and jumbo.
And of course Coco herself with her 2.55.
A lady toting her 2.55 in the 1960’s, this kind of image gives me goose bumps as I think, that very bag could actually be my vintage one, who knows!
Victoria Beckham is a huge fan of her vintage jumbo classic.
Jessica Alba favours the classic.
Whilst lucky Lily Allen has a classic and a reissue.
Alexa Chung has this stunning large classic in a milk-shake pink.
This is a Chanel window showing the highly ornate gold reissue from the Paris-Moscow collection.
The famous tweed classic worn in the SATC movie by Jennifer Hudson, appearently she didn’t get to keep it! I would have had it written into my contract!
I love this fluorecent trimmed classic Rachel Bilson has, it also came with a pink trim.
And one of my favourite ever, the super huge reissue from this season – trust me this girl needs a medal for being able to carry that, it was really heavy!(Credit:Jak&Jil).
And finally a super, super sized croc reissue in the Chanel window.
These are my two favourite high street versions top is ┬ú28 from Topshop and botton ┬ú25 from ASOS.com (sorry the images are so tiny, don’t know why that happened). The Topshop one has the most amazing pearl and gold chain twisted strap, whislt I like how the ASOS one has a twist lock.
So there you have it, I hope this information is useful. I hope to post some more on other parts of the history of Chanel soon, but let me know if theres any thing specific you would like to know about. I am off to see how many outfits I can find to go with my brown bag, and polish it’s hard wear! Do you remeber how exciting Christmas was when you were a kid, you wouldn’t be able to sleep for days in anticipation. That is how I was waiting for this bag, I still get giggly looking at it now. I think ‘sheer joy’ is the best investment you can make.
Have a great week,
Pearl xx
P.S The nail varnish is Chanel Jade Rose
N.B. For those of you wondering where I scored the bag it was actually a private sale with a collector. If you want any help hunting out vintage pieces let me know and I can give you some help. Best thing to do is to leave your interest with collectors, dealers and auction houses so they can give you a heads up if the get something you would be interested in. Also sites like decades vintage get a lot of rare items.

UPDATE 09/12/10:

For those other Chanel lovers out there I am sure you have see Le Chanelphile blog, if not it is one of my favourite blogs. If you are lucky enough to have been in San Francisco the Chanel boutique there had an exhibition Secrets of The Chanel Handbag. The following was given out at the event with some great insight into the making of the bag. Thanks to Le Chanelphile for sharing this with us.

UPDATE 27/04/11

You can now download my FREE eBook ‘A Guide to Spotting Counterfeits: including Chanel 2.55, Louis Vuitton scarves and Vivienne Westwood Pirate & clothes’ HERE