Before his name was known worldwide as the most luxurious luggage brand in the world, Louis Vuitton was a boy born in 1821 in Anchay, France. At 16, he left his small village for Paris to be an apprentice under master trunk maker Monsieur Maréchal. In 1854, he set out to open his own eponymous shop in Paris and four years later, introduced his first trunk. Vuitton’s Trianon Trunk was the first of its kind to feature a flat top and bottom, making it easier to stack and transport than its predecessors, which featured curved ends. The trunk was an instant success and by the early 1860s, Vuitton was able to open the world’s largest store for travel goods in Paris.
Vuitton’s success carried on through the century and like all great items, Vuitton’s trunks spawned imitators. To combat the fakes, Vuitton introduced a two-tone checkered pattern known as the Damier canvas in 1888. In 1892, Louis Vuitton passed away and his son Georges Vuitton took over the company. In 1897, he introduced what remains Louis Vuitton’s signature monogram, an interlocking “L” and “V” with a floral pattern.
While the brand experienced major success in Europe, Georges had global aspirations and in 1893, Louis Vuitton made its American debut at the Chicago World’s Fair. The exhibition garnered a positive response from attendees and department store mogul John Wanamaker began selling Louis Vuitton luggage in his department store, Wanamaker’s, officially making Louis Vuitton available in the United States.
Louis Vuitton bags and trunks became the gold standard for luggage worldwide, maintaining its position as a luggage brand for over 100 years when in 1997, Marc Jacobs was hired as creative director and was tasked with creating a full ready-to-wear collection. In what was no easy feat, Jacobs’ men’s and women’s collections made Vuittons new clothing almost as desirable it’s storied baggage. At this point, the bulk of LV’s men’s business came from accessories like backpacks, wallets and belts.
Marc Jacobs and Louis Vuitton split amicably in 2013, as Jacobs left to devote 100 percent of his time to his eponymous brand. Following Jacobs’ exit, Nicolas Ghesquiere began to design the women’s collections as Kim Jones continued the work he began on the men’s side in 2011. Jones is credited with bringing streetwear sensibilities to Louis Vuitton, placing a bigger emphasis on T-shirts and sneakers in order to keep up with the modern male consumer. Jones’ vision culminated in what may be one of the biggest collaborations in the history of fashion: Supreme x Louis Vuitton.
2018 saw what was a musical chairs-esque moment for menswear, Kim Jones left Louis Vuitton to become the men’s artistic director for Dior Homme and Virgil Abloh replaced him as men’s artistic director of Louis Vuitton. Abloh is a popular and controversial figure in the fashion world, notably the first African-American designer to be the head of design at an LVMH-owned house. All eyes were on him, curious as to what the Off-White designer would show in his first collection.
Abloh’s first Vuitton show debuted not a singular product but a concept for Louis Vuitton. Abloh’s approach—like Kim Jones before him—combines Vuitton’s history of bag making with the future of menswear. The garments may be a blend of luxury fashion and streetwear-ready graphics and garments, but they blend Louis Vuitton’s rich history in luxury luggage with a clear understanding of contemporary menswear.
What is the cheapest bag at Louis Vuitton?
Louis Vuitton’s Pouchette Accessories start at $500.
How can I get a discount on Louis Vuitton?
There are many Louis Vuitton deals to be found on Grailed.