This FASHIONPHILE authenticity lesson is all about Louis Vuitton hardware: locks, studs, and zippers.
Hardware is only a portion of our authentication process and we do a thorough evaluation of the entire item in order to confirm if it is authentic or not.
Zippers, locks, plating, studs, grommets, and other hardware items on every Louis Vuitton are important when it comes to authenticity. Louis Vuitton has used its own line of signature golden brass hardware since 1991. The authenticity of Louis Vuitton’s hardware may be more apparent when you handle the metal pieces: they should feel solid and heavy; never feel light, hollow, or cheap.
Louis Vuitton Locks
Louis Vuitton has an impressive history. The house developed its unbreakable lock in 1896. In an era where travelers transported all of their personal items in wardrobes and trunks that would attract thieves, Louis Vuitton created the only lock that was unpickable. The locks used a patented multi-pin locking mechanism and are still used today on trunks and bags.
Louis Vuitton S-Locks should look polished with no evidence of plating (waviness or peeling). On an authentic S-Lock, only one of the bolts will move; the left bolt moves inward towards the right bolt.
Louis Vuitton Padlocks
Another modern interpretation of the unpickable lock: Louis Vuitton padlocks, which can be found on Speedy bags and Keepall duffles. Padlocks are one of the few types of Louis Vuitton hardware that are made from solid brass. The front of a Louis Vuitton padlock will always have the LV logo.
The back of the padlock has three different variations:
® LOUIS VUITTON / PARIS / MADE IN FRANCE
® LOUIS VUITTON / PARIS
® LOUIS VUITTON / MADE IN FRANCE
All modern padlocks are the same size W 0.8 ” x H 1.6” (W 2.1 cm x H 4.1 cm).
One of the most notable details in the Louis Vuitton stamp is the font. In Vuitton, the O is perfectly round and wide. The L has an especially short tail and the two Ts in Vuitton almost touch.
Louis Vuitton Zippers
When we authenticate Louis Vuitton items, we check every zipper to make sure they are the correct shape, weight, finish, and with the correct brand markings.
All Louis Vuitton bags manufactured since 1991 make use of its heritage gold brass hardware with the “LV” logo. Old zippers are often Swiss-made or ECLAIR, among others. Modern Louis Vuitton bags, especially with colored zippers, may have a YKK branded zipper.
Depending on the style and year of the bag, the finish of each zipper will be semi-matte or shiny. Be sure the shiny finish is clean and smooth; you should be able to see your reflection without visible streaks or ripple effects.
It’s perfectly normal for both brass and other coated metals to experience wear after long periods of use. Chipping, tarnishing, and scratching can all happen over time, and the extent of the wear really depends on how each owner cares for the item.
Some styles of Louis Vuitton zippers might look a little different if it was made from a different batch or from a completely different time period. For example, the Totally tote bag was redesigned in 2014 with rectangle zippers. Prior to 2014, the same Totally bag will have rounded zippers.
Louis Vuitton: The French Company
From the late 1970s until the early 1990s, Louis Vuitton worked with a company called The French Company through a licensing agreement to make and sell Louis Vuitton for North American customers. LV items made by The French Company have zippers by TALON, ECLAIR, or C&C. The Speedy and Keepall also used a different lock called the Tucky Tucky.
Louis Vuitton Rivets/Studs
Louis Vuitton rivets/studs have a rounded shape with Louis Vuitton or LV embossed into them. The hardware details on studs will have ‘LOUIS VUITTON’ engraved onto them. Not all rivets will have the square “O” as that’s more common in older models. Overall, the letters and imprints are clean and crisp.