How to Authenticate Balenciaga Handbags
While Balenciaga has its origins in the world of couture creations of the famous Spanish designer Cristobal Balenciaga, the brand's history has seen its move to Paris and transformation into a more cutting-edge and modern brand coveted by celebrities as well as street style bloggers in addition to the fashion elite.
Now, before you make an investment on your brand new Balenciaga City or other styles, make sure you're getting the real thing. Authentic Balenciaga bags will retain its value over the years, and they can be identified by the following indicators.
We can always start from the interior label itself, the first visible and obvious identification when you look inside the bag. The interior label should be printed on a metal name plate or leather tab. From 2001-2004, the label should read "Balenciaga_Paris", as for after the year 2005, it should read "Balenciaga.Paris". So pay close attention to the underscore or the period.
From 2001-2008, these labels were made out of sterling silver, but today, they are made out of nickel. The handbag's style number will be listed on the front or back of the tab, sometimes could be on both sides too. Make sure the serial number on the front of the label (if there's one), matches the serial number on the backside of the label. The two rows of numbers on the back of the tab matches the leather batch number as well as the style number.
Here's an extra tip for you to authenticate a Balenciaga. There is an alphabet/alpha indicator at the end of each serial number. This indicator designates the season that the colour/bag comes from. Balenciaga is working its way backwards through the alphabet, therefore, it's quite easy to determine what season your bag is from, on bags with a metal tag, it's based on this letter.
*Do keep note that newer bags that DON'T have the metal nameplates still have the letter stamped on the back of the tag along with the serial number.
D = S/S 2016
E = F/W 2015
F = S/S 2015
G = F/W 2014
H = S/S 2014
I = F/W 2013
J = S/S 2013
K = F/W 2012
L = S/S 2012
M = F/W 2011
N = S/S 2011
O = F/W 2010
P = S/S 2010
Q = F/W 2009
R = S/S 2009
S = F/W 2008
T = S/S 2008
U = F/W 2007
V = S/S 2007
W = F/W 2006
Y = S/S 2006
Z = F/W 2005
A = S/S 2005
B = F/W 2004
C = S/S 2004
D = F/W 2003
Unique hardware is what makes Balenciaga recognizable from afar. For example, Balenciaga's recent years' motorcycle bags are known for their edgy stud hardware, which comes in 3 different styles, classic, giant, and covered. The back of the recent bag's handles should have notched rivets as the zippers should be marked "Lampo", and the bales which is attached to the handle to the O-rings on the side of each bag should be rounded, crimped and form a double layer.
Extra tip : The Giant Silver and Rose Gold hardware has been discontinued from Spring 2012, replaced with the new Giant 12 hardware.
When it comes to the design of the bag itself, pay attention to the pockets. From beginning of 2005. the front pocket has been partially lined in leather, therefore, when you unzip, you will not be able to see the black canvas which makes up the rest of the lining material.
Balenciaga bags feature characteristic distressed-like leather, which only gets better as it ages. Since Fall/Winter 2007, the production has switched its bags' material from goatskin to lambskin material. These two leathers are thin, soft, lightweight, and distress with age. But this crinkling, aged look should not make you worried as these bags are traditionally durable. There's a slight difference between goat and lambskin leather, counterfeits aren't aware enough to see this. Usually, counterfeit bags will use a shinier or stiff leather that doesn't wear in the same way as the authentic bags as there is NO softening nor matte quality to the textile.
Details, details, details! This is also an important element in identifying a Balenciaga. For example, some aesthetic elements on the motorcycle bag would be the mirror, bag handles, as well as tassels on the zippers. The bag's handles should be braided with sueded leather. The leather texture on this should be more raw-looking than the textile on the body of the bag itself. The underside of the zipper tassels should also have this soft, raw, suede feel.
Now that you know how to identify a Balenciaga, the real from the fake, you can definitely shop with confidence! Always keep an eye out for the bags that you're buying before purchasing them! Happy shopping! :)