How To Spot A Real Louis Vuitton Speedy Bag
Planes, trains, automobiles… the Louis Vuitton Speedy embodies the spirit of them all. First dubbed the “Express” and created as a smaller version of the travel-ready Keepall in the 1930s, the Louis Vuitton Speedy exemplified the era’s rapidly evolving modes of speedy transportation (hence the subsequent name change). The bag, which was originally produced in three sizes, became a go-to companion for travelers and city-dwellers, and was the first Louis Vuitton handbag recommended for everyday use.
And if you’re obsessed with the smallest Louis Vuitton Speedy bag, you can thank Audrey Hepburn. In the 1960s, Hepburn requested that the house produce a smaller size of the bag. This special order culminated in the Speedy 25, and after Hepburn was spotted wearing it by the paparazzi, an icon was born. Fast forward to the 2000s, and the Speedy was the It bag du jour alongside the Fendi Baguette and Dior Saddle; today, the bag has transcended the trends and become a classic.
When it comes to popular — and, therefore, commonly counterfeited — bags like the Louis Vuitton Speedy, Neverfull, Bumbag or even the recent Onthego style, knowing what the real thing looks and feels like is essential. “I would definitely like to think that I am an encyclopedia for handbags,” says Kevin Ngo, Senior Manager of Authentication & Brand Compliance. Whether it’s a vintage style or the newest release, Ngo and our expert team have spent thousands of hours inspecting the genuine article. “We are studying every single detail of every single item to ensure we know exactly how it should be constructed, how the process of that brand has changed over time, and we’re documenting it each step of the way. With any handbag, especially the Speedy, we analyze five points of authenticity: fonts and typography, factory production codes (whether that’s a date code or serialization), hardware, materials as well as the overall construction of the item.”
These five stages of authentication require the utmost skill and enthusiasm for spotting the subtle differences between real and faux. Read on for Ngo’s breakdown of how to spot a real Louis Vuitton Speedy bag.
Louis Vuitton Speedy: The Fonts & Typography
In 1896, Louis Vuitton devised the LV monogram to foil counterfeiters. While it surely hasn’t stopped the proliferation of fake Louis Vuitton Speedy bags, it is a crucial touchpoint for determining a bag’s authenticity. “When we’re identifying an LV brand stamp, it’s easy to start authenticating by pinpointing one singular letter,” says Ngo. “Using a magnifying glass or jewelry loupe, we will magnify and examine all fonts across the bag. We know for the LV branding itself, the L typically has a shorter bottom leg on authentic pieces, whereas counterfeiters sometimes will create a very elongated bottom leg. The fleurs and monogram should also possess an underlying golden hue.” Beware of a Louis Vuitton Speedy with a greenish monogram pattern, as it may be inauthentic.
The orientation of the monogram and fleurs on a Louis Vuitton Speedy is also key to assessing authenticity. “In the case of the monogram canvas Speedy, you can eyeball the size of the bag by counting the number of LVs as well as the fleurs. The pattern of the LV monogram will always match that of another bag in the same style. Two genuine Speedy bags should feature a textile cut in the exact same way, therefore mirroring the exact location and count of fleurs and LVs. We have seen counterfeits cut the canvas incorrectly for certain styles, therefore not lining up the pattern with its counterparts.” Also important to note is that the main panel of the canvas is one singular piece, so the back of monogram styles will feature an upside-down fleur and LV print.
Louis Vuitton Speedy: The Brand Identifiers
Authentic Louis Vuitton Speedy bags will have a number of brand identifiers. “The alphanumeric brand stamp tells you a lot about the production origin of the item,” says Ngo. “The prefix itself will denote which country and which factory the bag was produced in, followed by a date code, which should tell you when the bag was produced. On bags made after 2007, the first and the third numbers should correlate to a production week. On bags made prior to 2007, the first and third numbers on the date code should correlate to a production month. And on all Louis Vuitton bags, the second and fourth numbers should correlate to a production year.”
“For monogram styles,” adds Ngo, “there should also be a blind embossed brand stamp accompanied by a ‘Made In’ stamp or tag. Louis Vuitton produces in France, Spain, Italy and the United States. In more recent years, LV has chosen to be more discreet about their ‘Made in U.S.A.’ stamps. If you don’t see a ‘Made In’ beneath the brand stamp, it is most likely hidden at the interior of the bag on a woven tag.”
Louis Vuitton Speedy: The Materials
Many people may not know that the Louis Vuitton Speedy’s textured monogram body is actually not leather, but coated canvas. “The monogram canvas is one of the brand’s signature materials,” notes Ngo. “It is more durable than leather and can withstand harsh weather conditions. It is also easier to clean.” The trim, and handles, however, are made of vachetta leather. “This leather is untreated, untanned and uncured,” says Ngo. “But oftentimes, the vachetta handles on counterfeits are a big giveaway. Not only will they be coated and finished to appear untreated, but the handles can be puffier or thicker and will appear to be misshapen.”
Peek inside the bag and the interior can expose the real deal in no time. “The interior textile can tell you as much as the exterior can,” says Ngo. “Specifically for the Onthego or the Speedy, the canvas should be a very dry, heavy twill canvas with no shine to it. Oftentimes on counterfeits, we might see something a little bit thinner, something a little slippery, something with a coated sheen to it.”
Louis Vuitton Speedy: The Hardware
If you’re unsure of your Louis Vuitton Speedy’s authenticity, check the hardware. “A typical Louis Vuitton Speedy bag will feature either gold-tone brass, silver-tone brass or plated base metal hardware,” says Ngo. “Similarly to the vachetta leather, Louis Vuitton hardware will age and darken with normal use. Zipper pulls are typically a metal and leather tab combination that is adjoined with a branded stud. The leather pull-tab should be in the shape of a leaf and punched in order to feed a lock through it, which will lock the bag securely when closed. Many Louis Vuitton Speedy bags will include a lock and keys featuring the iconic LV logo.”
Inauthentic bags will usually use cheap materials, and inconsistent finishes across the bag. “The majority of counterfeits do not correctly match the hardware tone or finish,” notes Ngo. “Typically, the zipper shape and markings will be off on a fake Speedy bag.”
Louis Vuitton Speedy: The Construction
There are four sizes of the classic Monogram Louis Vuitton Speedy — the 25, 30, 35 and 40 — which reference the bag’s length. “Each size of the Speedy’s length increases by 5cm, and will also increase slightly in depth,” says Ngo. Any Speedy bag that is either bigger or smaller than these four sizes should raise a red flag, but note that there is also a miniature version of the Speedy, the Nano Speedy. The Nano Speedy should measure approximately 16cm in length.
“The construction of Louis Vuitton Speedy bags has changed over the years, and will vary depending on the material used to produce it,” explains Ngo. “For instance, with Epi Speedy bags, we will often see them an exterior pocket, which will add additional compartments to the bag’s interior pocket. Furthermore, in 2011, LV released the Speedy in a Bandoulière version — meaning ‘with a strap.’ The Speedy Bandoulière features two zip closures, which make accessing the bag’s interior much easier.”
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Please note: Brand standards, logos and other identifying features may have changed since the time of publication.