As you may have seen in past posts, I recently started a quest to buy two vintage Louis Vuitton bags from the currently discontinuing Multicolour range. I have purchased the first, my black multicolour pochette accessoires and the next one on my list is the white version, however that is harder to source in good condition thesedays. On my quest I have stumbled upon many tips and insider knowledge on how to spot the different between an authentic, and a fake multicolour piece, and I am here to share my findings with you...
Tip One: Ask yourself and research, Did Louis Vuitton ever do that bag in Multicolour? If no, it's obviously fake. For reference Louis Vuitton never did a multicolour backpack, Ellipse, Bucket, or Cabas Piano bag... If yes, continue to tip 2.
Tip Two: Does the item include unusual accessories with it? Some fake items include an array of fake accessories with the piece, sometimes more than Louis Vuitton actually produced with that particular item. Research is key, so before you buy you must always google your vintage find to help authenticate. The only accessories that always come with items, usually, are a dustbag and proof of purchase. You usually get a box, however I have bought a bag before from the New Bond Street store and that item only came in a dustbag. Below is a photo two bags, one is mine that I own and one is fake. As you can see, the fake item has been given a bow. Louis Vuitton have made this style with a bow, however that was NOT in the multicolour print. They did not include bows with Multicolour, I guess the fakers didn't notice that, right?
Tip 3: Is the interior/lining of the bag either Raspberry (for white multicolour pieces) or Mushroom (for black)? If no, the item is fake... All white multicolour pieces were done in a raspberry colour alcantara and all black are in a mushroomy grey alcantara lining.
Tip 4: Look at the colours included in the piece. Firstly, Louis Vuitton did NOT include any red LV's in its pattern. Although Louis Vuitton began with a prototype that may have included red LVs in the monogram, these bags never made it into production, the fakes never got that memo! Every multicolour piece should include a total of 33 silkscreened colours: 9 different coloured LVs, and 24 different coloured quatrefoils and fleurs, Of course this will NOT be true on an authentic multicolour item that is too small to include all 33 colours but you can compare a small piece with a larger piece and spot where the small pieces' pattern fits in the larger pieces'.
Another colour tip is to look at the colour order. For white, does the colour combination of LVs on the canvas look like this: 1. Fuchsia, black, green 2. Dark yellow, dark pink, dark purple 3. Dark blue, chartreuse, light blue? If no, the item is fake, you can see all of these colours on the backs of an authentic Alma or Speedy as you can see below. This is the combination of colours that you will find on all authentic Multicolour pieces. Look for the blues in particular as fakes do a bad job of getting these colours right. For black, the colour combo should go either: 1. Fuchsia, white, green 2. Dark yellow, dark pink, dark purple 3. Dark blue, chartreuse, light blue.
Tip 5: Check the date code, does it end in a 3, 4 or 5? If no, it may be a fake. The multicolour line was introduced in Spring of 2003, therefore most multicolour pieces will have the date code ending in those.
Tip 6: Logos, Does it have "Louis Vuitton Paris Made in France" embossed in the lining inside? If yes, and it's a speedy or alma style the its is a fake item, these styles did not have this. However some small pieces and my pochette DOES have this embossing inside.
Tip 7: Compare the font style used, the fakes never usually get it spot on. If you have a authentic piece then compare it with that for any subtle differences.
Tip 8: Vachetta Leather. A good way of telling if most Louis Vuitton items are indeed real deal is by the leather used. Louis Vuitton usually, not always, uses untreated natural cowhide leather. This leather has not been treated with any water protection like most bags, and therefore the leather with patina and darken over time. A new piece with be a light cream colour, and older pieces due to the sun, natural oils in your skin and weather conditions such as rain, will oxidise and therefore turn a dark honey brown colour. Sometimes with over use these can turn black. Many pieces pick up water marks from the rain, this can be annoying in your new designer bag but always a good sign its authentic. Fake items use the cheapest of materials and therefore do not use this leather. If a bag is a style that is several years old and is in used condition, or the owner states it has been used a lot then the leather trims will show signs of this. If the leather is still light and cream then it has either rarely been used and kept in its dustbag and box, or there is a good chance that the item is fake. Be aware!
Tip 9: And finally, when buying a vintage or preowned designer piece, any in general not just a Louis Vuitton Multicolour piece then ask the seller/store as many questions as possible. These questions are such an easy way to either find information and history on your new vintage find, or they will make the seller stumble helping you realise the item is fake. Ask where they purchased the item, how much it was been used, if they have proof of purchase and its box/dustbag. Don't be afraid to ask as many questions as you require!
Sources used: Google, Louis Vuitton Customer Services at its New Bond Street Store (0207 998 6286 - Call direct as they don't reply to email's very well!), Fashionphile: Whom consign gently used Louis Vuitton and other luxury handbags (Hermes, Chanel, Gucci, Marc Jacobs, Chloe, and Christian Dior for example).