As mentioned in my prior article on using Vachetta Leather to authenticate Louis Vuitton, one of the most knocked off leather types is Vernis, or monogram patent leather. Any treatment to leather can serve as a disguise and it applies to all leather goods in general. I myself am not a fan of patent leather, for one thing it's prone to texture changes (overtime turning sticky, crinkled), color transfer, and discoloration, for another, it's very difficult and costly to restore. In my opinion, patent leather does not hold as much value as other leather types for above reasons.
The Vernis Alma, especially BB and GM in pastel and Amarante have become some of the most knocked-off recent Louis Vuitton best-sellers. Those 1:1 replicas could be priced at $1,000 and sold as “authentic” pieces.
While the Vernis exterior can be somewhat deceptive, a close-up look at these knock-offs will reveal a lot of flaws.
Take this Amarante Alma GM for example, for starters, the heat stamp of on the clochette is upside down.
Second, inside leather tab is completely off. From the shape of the leather, leather type (Authentic bags use the non-imitable Vachetta Leather.), stitching to heat stamp and font, nothing about this leather tab is right and itself alone, could declare the bag is 100% counterfeit.
Third, the hardware. It’s slightly tricky because over the time, Louis Vuitton has made minor tweaks to its logo especially on hardware and there can be a certain range of inconsistencies. But by side by side comparison, one should be able to see the emboss on the zipper pull and engraving on the lock are very different from authentic ones.
Forth, here are some more subtle details to reveal. The knock-off actually does have a date code tab, but the material of leather, heat stamp, font are off. Be aware that Louis Vuitton does use several types of font for its date code in both serif and sans serif but this particular font is just off and it actually reminds me of the date code of a fake Chloé I've seen. (I mean, it's very likely the more sophisticated bags are made from the same factory using similar machines and tools?) Moreover, the interior lining is trying to imitate Louis Vuitton's Alcantara suede but in fact all Vernis Almas made around this time have canvas interior.
Last but now least, I was shocked that the counterfeiter actual went so far to engrave the size of the zipper. Looks like any authentication tips offered on the internet can be used to fabricate more sophisticated knock-offs.
As you can see, high quality products are very difficult and costly to replicate despite that the counterfeiter of this bag definitely invested in time, research, and money. But it can't go further because it will not be any more cost-efficient to knock off a bag with greater quality.