The Early Days of Louis Vuitton

Sometimes it really is all about the packaging

Louis Vuitton Trunks now in our possession (probably very temporarily) downstairs.

According to my research, Louis Vuitton made the first (commercially, at least) flat topped trunk that could be stacked, thus easing transportability of items and saving space. This was in 1858. Prior to that, traveling trunks were rounded to promote water runoff, and just a tad awkward to travel with (read: pain in the butt)
Born in Jura, France, Louis Vuitton moves to Paris when he’s just 14. At first a mere apprentice layetier (trunk maker) to prominent households, Napoleon III soon catches wind of his talents and appoints Vuitton as Layetier to his wife, Empress Eugénie de Montijo.

After that, everything pretty much falls into place for Louis Vuitton.

Needless to say he is wildly successful, and other avaricious luggage makers begin producing imitation knock-offs. (see, people were crappy back then too, all you nostalgiacs) It’s Louis Vuitton’s reaction to this unfortunate but predictable situation that leads to the now famous logo and burgeoning of brand recognition.

To protect against the duplication of his look, he changes the Trianon design to a beige and brown stripes design in 1876.  But that’s not enough. In 1888, he introduces the Damier Canvas pattern bearing a logo that reads "marque L. Vuitton déposée", which translates into "L. Vuitton registered trademark".

In 1885, the company opens its first store in London on Oxford Street, seen brandished here on their cart.
In the courtyard of the Vuitton workshops in Asnières, Paris, c. 1888
In 1892, Louis Vuitton dies, and the company's management passes to his son, Georges.

In 1896, the company launches the signature (and now famous) Monogram Canvas and made the worldwide patents on it. A combination of quatrefoils and flowers and the LV monogram were based on the trend of using Japanese and Oriental designs in the late Victorian era. The patents prove to be successful in stopping counterfeiting and the signature look of branding was born.

In 1901 The Louis Vuitton company pushes the stackability idea a step further and introduces The Steamer Bag - a smaller piece of luggage designed to be kept inside Louis Vuitton luggage trunks- a concept employed by travelers all over.

(Not missing a beat, felines everywhere ran with this “nesting” idea and adapted the trunks as convenient and stylish sleeping locations.)
Read more about Louis Vuitton and his legendary trunks in this great book we have both in the store and on our website: Louis Vuitton: 100 Legendary Trunks

 Happy Traveling!

1 comment:

Georges Moreau said...

How interesting! I had no idea about the history of Louis Vuitton.