A History of Louis Vuitton

Oh how we love Louis Vuitton!  Bags, keyrings, luggage, make-up pouches, belts, shoes and even clothes!  Just the thought of it sends tingles all over – it’s such a coveted brand, it never dates and it’s oh-so-chic!  Everyone knows what Louis Vuitton is and it’s the type of brand that people really look at.  Louis Vuitton is never ignored and when you own a piece (or multiple pieces), you’ve certainly got a beautiful piece that retains much of its value.  In fact, the older pieces that are no longer made or easy to get hold of fetch quite a lot of money so it’s always worth investing in.

Do you know the origins of Louis Vuitton? Like every brand, there’s a story, so let Papillonkia give you a little, lovely LV background!

Louis was born back in 1821 in Anchay, France. He came from a very creative family and no doubt, their talents were passed down to him.  His mother was a milliner and came from a long line of hat makers.  His father by contrast, was a farmer, but his ancestors were joiners and carpenters.  The family was working class and they were a happy unit, comfortable in their mountain home in the Jura region of Eastern France.


Louis Vuitton Family
Tragedy struck when Louis turned 10 and his mother died.  His father remarried but Louis did not get on with his “wicked” stepmother and vowed to escape to Paris as soon as he could.  He did just so at the tender age of 13 and ran away to make his way to the big city taking odd jobs on the way to feed himself. It took two years to get to Paris, which was almost 300 miles away from his home.  Paris excited and thrilled him, it was in the middle of the industrial revolution and while there was unspeakable wealth, there was also enormous poverty.

Louis found work as an apprentice to Monsieur Marechal, a successful box maker.  Beautiful boxes were sought after in France and Europe and Louis was talented so soon climbed the ladder. He was quickly noticed and in 1851, when Louis was 19, he became Napoleon’s wife’s personal box maker and packer.  It was Louis’ job to pack her clothes in exquisite boxes that he made himself.  This was the beginning of his career and he was approached by royalty and wealthy noblemen all over Europe to make and pack boxes for them.

Louis married a Parisian beauty in April 1854 and a few months later opened his own box-making business in the city.  It was not long after that Louis started making intricate trunks and luggage in grey canvas and rectangular shaped.  They were stackable and easier to travel with – those who could afford them were entranced!  Louis soon expanded his business and took orders from French royalty, Egyptian royalty and noblemen throughout Europe.
Louis Vuitton Trunks

Despite the Franco-Prussian war and French civil war, Louis Vuitton’s brand survived and grew bigger once life settled back down.  He introduced different patterns and styles that appealed to the Parisian elite.  Louis died aged 70 in 1892 and his son Georges took over the business.

Georges introduced even more newness and the first monogrammed LV luggage, patterned with flowers and quatrefoils.  The designs were immensely popular and even caught the eye of Gabrielle Chanel.  One of the first handbags was introduced in 1925, with a notable dome shape and it was created especially for Chanel.  The bag was mass-produced in 1934 and then made smaller until it transformed into what we now know and love as the Alma in 1955. 
Louis Vuitton Alma
In 1930, the Speedy35 was introduced (and still very much in fashion today), the Noe in 1932 and another 1930 bag, the Keepall.  They are all still available today, showing how Louis Vuitton transcends time and fashion.
In 1936, Georges died and his son, Gaston-Louis, took over and presided over the brand for 50 years.  During that time, the brand reinvented itself time and again with new monograms and canvases across a multitude of styles.

Gaston-Louis died in 1970 and the brand was taken over by Henry Racamier, Gaston Louis’ son-in-law.  He opened retail stores worldwide and went public in 1984. LVMH was formed in 1987 and is without doubt one of the biggest luxury conglomerates in the world.

The brand celebrated its 100 year anniversary by releasing limited edition Yachetta leather Centenaire Collection comprising of a variety of bags such as the West End bag and the Chelsea Bag.  Then, in 1997, Marc Jacobs became the brand’s first creative director and he introduced the first ready-to-wear collection along with the monogram Vernis collection of bags.  In 2001, the brand was further changed with the introduction of neon graffiti scrawled over the monogram canvas – these bags are the most coveted of all and still extremely sought after.
Marc Jacobs and his LV graffiti bag. 
The multicolour monogram styles were introduced in 2003, a collaboration with Takashi Murakami and the monogram print was introduced in 33 different colours on a black or white background.  Then, in 2007 another classic appeared with the Neverfull, a huge tote with a side pocket and classic monogram canvas.  This bag (still available today) can take up to 200 pounds in weight!  Since 2007 the bag has been redesigned with different prints and interior prints as well as other colours too.  Today’s versions include a detachable pouch.

Today, Louis Vuitton’s design director is Nicolas Ghesquiere and the handbags just keep getting better and better with more handsome products introduced every year and plenty of exciting limited editions.

The real beauty of Louis Vuitton is that it just never dates, so the circular economy works so well with the brand.  Bags become truly vintage collector’s items and whenever you wear a Louis Vuitton bag on your arm, you’re bound to gain plenty of compliments.  Need another sensational Vuitton bag?  Well, then you’d better get shopping here, all of our preloved Louis Vuitton is authenticated and beautifully presented especially for you:

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