What is Vachetta Leather And How to Care for it

Picture of Sara Sargon

Sara Sargon

A California-based handbag expert and journalist with nine years in luxury fashion. Her contributions include Vogue, InStyle, & Nylon.

louis vuitton vachetta leather backpack vintage

Vachetta leather is one of the staple materials used in making designer bags, shoes, and other products. You’ve probably handled it several times, even if you don’t own a Louis Vuitton bag or pair of leather shoes. You may see it in a store, shop, or any outlet where they sell designers.

Vachetta leather is unique because it has a distinct quality – it’s often soft to the touch and it ages beautifully. Additionally, it’s used in making some of the most high-end Italian shoes, bags, and even luggage. Valchetta leather’s durable hides material makes it suitable for delivering the best possible quality in luxury goods.

Check out our list of Louis Vuitton crossbody bags here.

But what exactly is vachetta leather? And more importantly, how do you care for it? We’ll answer all these questions and more in this article. Check this if you’re interested on how to clean your Louis Vuitton bag.

We’ll also discuss how it’s made, why it’s so light and soft, and how to identify it in a shoe or luggage product.

vachetta leather 2

What is Vachetta Leather?

Vachetta leather is untreated Italian leather, and as you already know, it’s mostly used in making designers and luxury leather goods. Brands that use vachetta leather include Louis Vuitton, Burberry, and Prada. However, any quick Google search and you’ll see LV is the brand that uses it the most.

You could also call vachetta leather a full-grain vegetable-tanned leather that’s gotten from the hide of cows. Many leather goods are gotten this way but vachetta is distinct because of its high-fat content and natural finish. The vegetable-tanned leather is usually light and soft to the touch because of the oil content.

‘Full-grain’ in this context means that the hide’s entire width is used without applying any corrections such as certain parts skimmed off.

If you speak a bit of French, you’ll know that vachetta is French for cattle. This is a direct reference to the leather’s origin. However, leather vachetta also has an Italian root, since it’s mostly produced in Tuscany, Italy.

leather roll vachetta leather

What are the benefits of Vachetta Leather?

One unique benefit of this natural leather is its age process. Because it’s free of treatment, the leather is allowed to age naturally as it’s used and exposed to the everyday elements of life. As vachetta leather ages, it darkens in color. As a result, you may buy a tan or beige Louis Vuitton leather bag and find that it develops into a dark brown or honey tone as time passes.

This dark honey hue is also known as patina, and it’s awesome because each leather bag or shoes follow their own course. No two vachetta leather products will develop the same tan, and so, they’ll never look alike. This patina further adds to the exclusive style that many fashion brands are going for.

One benefit of vachetta that most owners don’t even recognize is the unfinished tone and the tiny blemishes that come with it. Because the vachetta leather was processed without conditioners, it retains an even beige color that darkens throughout its lifespan. But we know that skin isn’t perfect, and cowhides are no different.

When you buy vachetta leather, you get a bag that has tiny and blemishes all around. These are a further sign of the authenticity of the leather. You may not recognize it but subconsciously, you know that you’re looking at quality leather. Additionally, because the vachetta leather is extracted from young cattle, the hide has an even tone that hides the blemishes perfectly.

How is Vachetta Leather Made?

The color in vachetta is achieved by the use of tanning agents. These agents are naturally occurring, are mostly extracted from flowers and tree bark, and are an essential part of the entire process. They bring out the unique color you’ve come to recognize in the straps, trim, and body of Louis Vuitton leather bags.

There’s also a re-tanning process where fatty oil is added to the leather to enhance the soft texture of the leather. Two types of fat are used in this process – Mineral fat which gives sulphonated leather, and animal fat which gives oiled leather.

Vachetta leathers produced from mineral fat are usually whiter, dryer, and more affordable than those produced from animal fat. The fatenning percentage also has a huge influence on characteristics like tempering, reaction to rubbing, resistance to water, and how quickly it darkens.

Sometimes manufacturers may add dye to the leather to change the color. In this situation, the dyed leather will retain that color and darken from there as it’s exposed to the sun other elements.

How Do You Care For Your Vachetta Leather

Even though vachetta leather is premium quality, it’s also quite low maintenance. Exposure to things like sunlight or dry weather won’t damage it as much. As we’ve seen, they are more likely to accentuate the color change and make it age gracefully.

However, it’s a good idea to take care of your vachetta leather, especially if you want the most from it. These maintenance tips are even more important with items like bags and similar designers. Even though they are unaffected by sunlight, they are still susceptible to heat, cold, and rain.

When caring for your vachetta Leather, there are four elements to look out for – water, stain, dirt, and scratches. Let’s look at each of these closer.

Vachetta Leather and Water

Water is leather’s mortal enemy. Even with regular leather, water can cause the leather to dry out over time. The oils in the skin material bind to the water and it evaporates, it takes much of the oil with it. So while you may have a soft, supple surface initially, water exposure makes the leather dry and brittle. You can agree that it’s no condition for a Louis Vuitton bag.

Protecting your leather before it even comes in contact with water is an excellent strategy. You can do this by applying a nice coat of polish. This works best for shoes, but it’s just as excellent for bags as well. If the leathers are surrounded by suede, consider applying a water repellant instead.

When the leather does get wet, the good news is that you don’t need tools to fix the problem. Allowing it to dry naturally is the first step. Avoid using heat, as this can damage the leather. Instead, consider placing the shoe in tools like a wooden shoe tree if you have it. You can also stuff in some crumpled newspaper to draw out the moisture.

After drying, you can easily see the stains on the leather. Dab the area with alcohol-free wipes; never rub this type of leather or you could exaggerate the damage.

Next, apply some leather conditioner if you have it. If you don’t, consider shopping specifically for vachetta leather conditioners because these are the best. Generally, the conditioner will keep the leather healthy and prevent cracking.

Vachetta Leather and Stains

If you wear your leather shoes often, you’re bound to get stains. But if you’re wearing natural Louis Vuitton vachetta leather, you need to act quickly. Whether the stains are from oils, or coffee, or a pen, the first step is to let the leather dry naturally.

Next, see if you can clean with a damp cloth or alcohol free wipes. Remember to dab, not rub. If you’re quick and the stain hasn’t set, you could get it out with dabbing, and you can enjoy a clean, natural patina without any discolorations.

If this doesn’t do the trick, try using a magic eraser. Rub it gently on the untreated leather to see if it will clean the stain. Magic erasers are capable of mere than most people think. You can also dab the eraser in some water to see if that helps.

If none of these work, the last resort is to let patina handle it. If the discoloration is mild, the chances are that your shoe or handbag will eventually darken until the stain ‘blends in.’

Vachetta Leather and Dirt

Dirt on materials like the natural Louis Vuitton trim can ruin the pattern on the surface. Unfortunately, there’s little you can do as using your bag will definitely attract some dirt. However, it’s important to note the differences between the natural aging patina on the bag and dirt.

Generally, the dark brown of the patina remains consistent throughout the leather’s surface. Stains, on the other hand, will cause an uneven blend. Another sign is that they don’t wipe off with non-alcoholic wipes or cloth.

Of course, you won’t be able to answer any of these questions until you actually try to clean the shoes or bag. Another way to clean untreated vachetta leather is to brush gently with a horse-hair clothes brush.

Finally, you should apply a leather conditioner to the shoe or handbag as often as you can because this will make it last longer.

Vachetta Leather and Avoiding Scratches

Many people can’t stand when dirt makes contact with their leather. But with scratches, they believe it adds to the overall uniqueness. Vachetta leather will develop its own unique color or time, and scratches can add character to that.

If you don’t agree with this notion, you can try to get scratches out of your leather by rubbing in leather oils or conditioner with a dry cloth. You can also use petroleum jelly, skin moisturizers, or skin butter. This of this type of leather like skin, the more often you clean and moisturize it, the less likely it will scratch- it may even repel dirt in the long run!

Picture of Sara Sargon

Sara Sargon

A California-based handbag expert and journalist with nine years in luxury fashion. Her contributions include Vogue, InStyle, & Nylon.

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