Valentino was pretty much an underdog in leather goods until 2010 when Rockstud was first introduced. Studs are ubiquitous in fashion, but it's the Rockstud that claimed the throne of glam rock, and has almost defined a millennial zeitgeist by its own.
The construction and materials used by Valentino handbags haven't really changed for the past 10 years, the same serial number and hardware systems you'd seen on a Valentino Nuage bow bag still apply to the Rockstud collections.
Authenticating Valentino Rockstud handbags is relatively straight-forward. The first detail I look at is the back of the zipper of the inside pocket. Most likely, an authentic Valentino bag will have a crisp "V" logo engraved and if you see "Lampo", it's the #1 red flag that the bag is fake. As far as I have observed, Valentino handbags do not use generic Lampo branded zipper, but customized Lampo. Therefore, the "Lampo" zipper itself on a fake Rockstud bag is fake as well.
What about zipper back that's not engraved? Very rarely, we do come across authentic Valentino bags with a flat zipper back, especially on small leather goods such as pouches and clutches. Therefore, we could not determine the authenticity by looking at the zipper back alone.
The second thing I look at is the studs. They should be evenly glazed and relatively well aligned. If you see bumps on the metal finishing or tilted pyramid studs, chances are it's a fake bag.
Please do not look for perfect alignment of the studs as Valentino has not reached top notch level of craftsmanship and discrepancies occur rather often. The only brands that you can set higher quality expectations on are Hermes, Louis Vuitton, Moynat, Chanel and Delvaux and surprisingly maybe vintage Coach.
The logo itself can be a tell-tale too but requires a bit more detailed eye. As you can see in the below photos, the fonts of the real one and fake one are similar but fundamentally different. Just focus on the serifs you would be able to tell the difference. The fake ones have a more obvious curve. Nevertheless, the foil stamping of the counterfeit bag is relatively crisp, and it is definitely getting better.
Finally, the interior tag. Most of the contemporary Valentino bags have an interior tag with four double stitchings to its four corners, usually in a thicker thread and contrast color. Although red is the most common color for the tag, we do have seen color variations such as green or black. This rule also may not apply to older or vintage Valentino bags as construction has changed over the decades.
You might noticed that I didn't mention leather at all when it comes to authenticating a Valentino handbag. That is because Valentino uses chrome tanned leather in general and is not known for using top quality leather either. What's the point of comparing the quality between Forever 21 and H&M? (Obviously I don't own any Valentino bags...)
If we think Valentino Rockstud is easy to authenticate, we might need to think again. Some Rockstud pumps have some top notch quality counterfeits in the market that almost render the photo-based authentication obsolete. I will elaborate more in my next article.