If a Louis Vuitton purse has plastic that protects the handles, it is fake; an authentic purse's handles feature oxidized cowhide leather that turns a dark golden color over time, so protective plastic isn't used. The hardware of a fake often feels hollow and is likely crafted of gold-painted plastic rather than brass and gold metal, which the real purses have. A pattern that doesn't match perfectly along the seams also indicates a fake.
There are subtle indicators of even the best-made fake Louis Vuitton purses. An authentic purse has the "LV" logo neatly imprinted on the zippers. In addition, the leather should feel dry rather than oily. An authentic purse's interior lining features a variety of high-quality textiles, such as canvas or cross-grain leather instead of cheap suede or plastic.
Observe the stitching, and watch out for any back-and-forth zigzag stitching indicative of inferior quality. These telltale signs are often located in subtle places, such as under leather tabs, where counterfeiters hope they go unnoticed. Compare a Louis Vuitton bag of ambiguous make with one of the same style on the official website. Everything should match up exactly without any color, material or pattern deviations, no matter how slight.