The trunks wardrobes or trunks cabinets are appeared to catalog Louis Vuitton at the beginning of the last century . Very popular with a clientele of wealthy travelers , they made it possible to tidy up a dressing room and have immediate access to it, without the drudgery of unpacking as was the case with the older generations of flat trunks (cabin trunk or mail trunk) .
Louis Vuitton wardrobe trunks were revolutionary at the time . On the clutter floor minimum , they open vertically, like a book. Ideal for small spaces like boat cabins , train travel and hotel transit . Consisting of, in its most common "115" version:
When we received this trunk in our workshops, we were full of optimism . This was not our first complex wardrobe restoration, and we were convinced to meet this new challenge quickly. Unfortunately unpleasant surprises awaited us. Abandoned in a barn in a deep French province, this trunk had known several lives. The appearances are deceptive . Indeed this trunk was not yellow vuittonite canvas , because as surprising as it may seem, by ignorance, the LV monogram canvas The original had been covered with several thick coats of paint, probably between the years 1950 / 1970. The last coat of paint on the canvas was canary yellow, the rest of the elements were covered with black paint. The interior was in poor condition and the drawers were missing.
What must have been a formality turned into a nightmare. The painting was not just any painting ... but a painting intended for the ground and the exterior facades of the houses! This paint, resistant to bad weather, abrasion, frost and sun, is extremely resistant , impossible to dilute with solvents such as acetone or propane.
After several inconclusive attempts we leave this trunk in a corner of the workshop while waiting to find a happy solution. Several years pass... and in the middle of winter, in the midst of reorganization of the premises, we find this trunk which is gathering dust. Helpless , disillusioned, it was time to act . At Malle2luxe.fr we know how to surround ourselves with the best craftsmen, experts in their field, with an unfailing commitment and a perfect mastery of their art. For this project we asked the Ateliers Mathilde Billard. They have excellent know-how and knowledge extremely sharp.
ocated in the heart of Paris in République, Atelier Mathilde BILLARD, has specialized since 2011 in the conservation and restoration of painted works. Mathilde followed for 5 years at the prestigious Ecole de Condé in Paris the heritage conservation restoration training. Its field of action is as multiple as it is varied:
Clearance of repaints
Removal of yellowed varnish
Woman Portrait - XIXth century
Working for prestigious clients such as:
Biblical scene - 15th century
We share the passion for a job well done and the values of preserving French know-how.
The story grows harder every day. When Mathilde discovers under this first layer of yellow paint a second layer of acrylic beige with between the two on one side a 3rd layer of sky blue paint ... The more we advanced, the more our business got bogged down. Our difficulties were added like these successive layers of paint. ..
Mathilde shares her concerns with us, conscientious of obtaining a satisfactory result without damaging the mythical monogram canvas hidden under its thick layers of paint.
Our answer was simple:
We are aware that the chances of success are very low. You have carte blanche. It's been several years that this trunk clutter our shop, if you can not remove the paint that trunk will have no value, it will end in parts nou s will recover, nails, corners, wood, lock, lozine which will save another trunk.
If you can't save this trunk, no one will. If you damage the canvas, it's okay, we won't blame you. You are our last chance.
The real complexity of this trunk is the surface. Almost 3 m² . Which turns each task into a pharaonic workload . After several attempts we join Mathilde in her workshops in order to unite our knowledge and find a solution together . Indeed what we could not do, removing this first layer of yellow paint Mathilde succeeded in an exceptional way by removing 99%.
But what Mathilde could not remove is the 2nd layer of beige paint, especially in the hollows of the canvas where it remained encrusted. But this one we were able to remove with our products. We were therefore on this project, completely complementary . It is by combining our talents that we have found the perfect result.
A few weeks later, we recovered our trunk, stripped of the 1st layer of yellow paint, and sky blue . There remained the second layer of acrylic beige paint on the canvas and black paint on lozines, the brass and woodwinds.
Despite the current appearance we were approaching the goal. And so it was only after several days of meticulous work and 400 liters of water ! We have stripped the lozine, wood, brass, canvas.
No repainting was done on the canvas or the lozines. It is a restoration respecting the rules of the art.
The trunk was fantastic , the canvas had lived, but the result was above our expectations . So much energy, doubt and perseverance resulted in the satisfaction of contemplating the result. We are the only ones able to undertake such a complex restoration on a Louis Vuitton trunk in this condition. Our level of quality of accomplishment remains unmatched, no detail is overlooked.
The leather handles are redone and the interior was redone in keeping the wardrobe. By respecting the materials , design, and finishing period . Of course considering the time spent this restoration is not very lucrative, but we find our reward elsewhere. Do not restrict the field of possibilities to the limits of our imagination , always wanting to do better, and share our passion as a craftsman of French luxury that we envy the rest of the world.
In November 2019 , a 4-page article devoted to this trunk appeared in the press: Antiquité brocante N°253.
Wardrobe peinte en jaune : French page