If you visit any fashion chat forum, you will find countless myths about authentic Louis Vuitton bags. In fact, we found the myths to be so rampant that we decided to address some of them. If you are a Louis lover, you know that there are tons of unique pieces, limited editions, and variations to certain classic styles over time. It can be tricky to tell what "rules" are always true when it comes to authentic Louis Vuitton pieces, so getting some insider info to tell you what is fact versus fiction can be really helpful. In this blog, we explore ten of the Louis myths and help debunk them!
Myth #1: Monogram Canvas Fades Over Time
A lot of people think that Monogram canvas will inherently fade over time and this is a myth we can verify as false. What you can see is minor color variation from piece to piece, and this can be a result of multiple factors, such as different manufacturing locations and production climate differences. However, Monogram canvas is a durable fabric that does not fade over time.
We have handled thousands of authentic Louis Vuitton bags that are vintage and don't show any wear or fading of the Monogram, or Damier canvas. If you frequently use your bag, you may notice some wear on high-impact areas where your arms rest, on the corners, or near the zipper of the bag due to the frequent friction the Monogram canvas experiences in those areas - rather than the material fading naturally. Another factor that may cause wear or discoloration of the material is the weather and the amount of sun exposure the canvas endures. With careful use and upkeep, though, you can avoid this issue of color changing and wear!
Myth #2: Monogram Vernis is Not Real Leather
This myth may be difficult for most because Monogram Vernis does look somewhat similar to vinyl. However, the general myth about this beautiful material is that it isn't real leather. Vernis, in French, means "varnish" and this refers to the sparkly and vinyl-like coating that covers the leather of the bag. These pieces experience color transfer easily, much like patent leather, and need a bit more care than other Louis Vuitton materials, but gorgeous Monogram Vernis is able to withstand decades of use thanks to their coated leather construction.
Myth #3: Authentic Louis Vuitton Hardware Is Made of Brass
This is one of our favorite myths because it's not really a myth. It's true that authentic Louis Vuitton hardware is made of brass – sometimes. It is a common misconception that all Louis Vuitton hardware is made of solid brass. While the hardware on many Louis Vuitton items manufactured before 1970 was made of solid brass, most contemporary items will not have solid brass hardware. In the early 1970’s, Louis Vuitton began to transition away from using solid brass hardware to plated metal hardware.
As of 2017, the Louis Vuitton website refers to its hardware as “golden color metallic pieces” or “shiny silver color metallic pieces” on most handbags and accessories. This type of hardware can have a brushed or a polished finish and is made of a plated base metal. However, Louis Vuitton still uses some solid brass hardware, which the Louis Vuitton website refers to as “golden brass pieces” and “silver brass pieces”, for select items like limited edition pieces and trunks.
Myth #4: LVs are Never Cut Off
Louis Vuitton is known for quality and the brand seems to be constantly working towards making pieces that are even more exquisitely crafted than before. This means that Louis Vuitton works hard to ensure that their instantly-recognizable Monogram and Damier patterns are never cut off or misaligned. This misconception is generally true, but some exceptions do exist. The “LV” logo motifs on Monogram canvas items are typically not cut off or covered with leather trim or hardware. However, the size and shape of some items simply make it impossible to avoid. Handbags such as the Ellipse, Tivoli, Tulum, have areas where the “LV” logo is either cut-off at the seam or covered by the leather trim.
In situations where a motif is cut-off, Louis Vuitton will often try to align that edge with a matching logo that is similarly cut-off to give the bag a superior level of continuity. However, this is not a steadfast rule either due to the complicated nature of constructing a perfectly-aligned bag. So, if you're looking to authenticate a piece, you will want to consider other factors when comparing the Monogram canvas to other pieces.
Myth #5: LVs are Never Upside Down
This myth often goes hand-in-hand with the myth that authentic Louis Vuitton bags never have cut off logos. In bags such as the Speedy, one continuous piece of Monogram Canvas is used to construct the main face and rear of the bag. As a result, the logos on the rear side will be upside down on these pieces.
Myth #6: Louis Vuitton Stitching is Always Consistent
It's a common belief that Louis Vuitton stitching is always consistent. In fact, it is one of the many things we look at when authenticating our bags – so it's an important factor to look at because many fake Louis bags will have drastically inconsistent stitching or simply use the wrong color or thread altogether. While the majority of authentic Louis Vuitton stitching will be consistent, you may notice a slightly misaligned stitch or loose thread on your item. If you're seeing a stitch that's out of line, don't worry – it's important to consider that misaligned stitches are often seen along interior seams and leather trim, which are specific points of construction that make it virtually impossible to maintain a clean stitch line.
Myth #7: All Vuitton Bags that have Date Codes are Authentic
This myth is on that we can prove completely false. With our many years of authenticating, date codes are one of the most important aspects of authenticating Louis Vuitton bags. Although date codes are very important, we cannot forget other factors such as materials and hardware.
One issue we run into here at Couture is that the date codes may look perfect, but the information derived from the code could be incorrect. For example, a Louis Vuitton piece with the date code SD0192 indicates that this bag was manufactured either in the USA or France (determined by the "made in" stamp) in the 9th week of 2012. However, if this code were to say SD0299, it would indicate that the bag was produced in the 9th week of 2029, which has not yet occurred. Even the factory code not matching the country of origin could indicate the bag is fake. Small mistakes can make a huge difference in the authentication.
Myth #8: LV Model Numbers are Stamped Inside Bags
Many people rightfully look at their LV model numbers and factory codes as a first step towards authentication. However, this myth stems from the confusing nature of these two numbers! Louis Vuitton model numbers (also known as style numbers) are actually not found within the bag itself, but it is printed on a small card that comes with every bag when it is first purchased. If you're buying a pre-loved piece, there is no guarantee that it will come with the model number card because the previous owner may have thrown out or misplaced this small card. It is also more than likely that if a bag has the model number printed within, the bag is not authentic.
For more information on model numbers, you can check out a detailed blog on how to tell the difference between the model number and factory code of your authentic Louis Vuitton bag here!
Myth #9: Monogram Canvas is Vuitton's First Material
Louis Vuitton has a long and expansive history, and it all began with Louis Vuitton's career as a renowned trunk-maker. While Monogram canvas has been a longtime favorite and one of the most recognizable patterns in fashion, it is not the first material used by Vuitton. In fact, Triannon canvas was Vuitton's first material and it was a solid gray hue used in many of his pieces. As counterfeiting became more popular in the late 1800s, Rayée canvas was released in red and white as well as beige and brown varieties. In 1888, Vuitton did away with Rayée canvas and introduced the Damier canvas that we know and love today. It was only after that, in 1896, after the death of Louis Vuitton, that his son Georges released the Monogram canvas.
Myth #10: Monogram Canvas is Made of Leather
Perhaps the biggest myth surrounding Louis Vuitton bags is the idea that Monogram canvas is made of leather. Title aside, it's easy to see why this is a popular myth – Monogram canvas is durable, lasts a long time, and has a texture that can look similar to the grain of leather. Built to endure, the brand’s coated canvas pieces can last for generations with proper storage. However, this material is simply the result of adding a strong and waterproof coating to a canvas base, which Vuitton canvas is perhaps best known for. Vuitton’s use of canvas traces back to the beginnings of the brand almost 200 years ago and this waterproof coating is made exclusively by Vuitton.
As time goes on, we hope to spread more information that can help LV collectors know more about the brand and each beautiful design. Make sure to share this blog with other fashion-lovers so that they, too, can get the insider scoop on these ten myths!
[Updated May 11, 2020]
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