Exotic handbags crafted from the most exquisite of alligator, crocodile and lizard skin are the epitome of luxury. With top-of-the-line labels like Chanel and Hermès carrying limited pieces of exotic-skin covetables, toting one elevates your status and style. This 2015, start your search for your investment-worthy exotic handbag with Style Files as we show you the pieces worth coveting, and how to care for these exotic leathers.
With only two species of alligators in the world as compared to the crocodile, alligator hides tend to fetch extravagant prices on the market. The skin on the belly of the alligator is harvested for commercial purposes because of its smooth texture, as opposed to the bonier back. One of the unique visual features of the alligator hide is the umbilical scar (a small cluster of tiny scales) on the skin of its belly.
Crocodiles are found all over the world with both fresh and saltwater varieties; the Crocodile Porosus, which belongs to the latter, is the largest living reptile and also the most desirable of crocodile leather. Crocodiles have sensory hairs all over their skin, which are removed during the tanning process, leaving behind tiny pores on each scale.
One of the most versatile leathers available, lizard skin is ideal for smaller hand-stitched leather goods. The hide of lizards are thin, yet extremely durable, and are great for cuffs, belts, and smaller purses.
After investing in an exquisite exotic-skin handbag, the last thing you’ll want to see is a dried, cracked and peeling leather. Extreme environmental changes, such as a dry or humid climate, may result in cracking and bubbling respectively. Here are some Dos and Don’ts when caring for your bag:
- Condition the skin once a year. Send it to a trusted leathersmith, or use fine beeswax.
- Dab with a soft white cotton cloth as soon as you can if you get liquids on it.
- Air-dry your bag naturally.
- Stuff it with old shirts or tissue to keep your bag in shape throughout storage.
- Keep your bag in a dark space to prevent UV damage.
- Tuck loose hardware inside the bag to prevent surface scratches.
- Use brushes on the surface, as the abrasion will damage the skin.
- Use soap and water to clean your bag.
- Rub and wipe the skin to get rid of surface taints.
- Use quick-drying techniques like a blow-dryer, which will only cause more damage.
Itching to get yourself a crocodile, alligator or lizard skinned beauty now?