Louis Vuitton, maker of luxury leather goods.
For over 160 years, Louis Vuitton has been the epitome of know-how à la française and has established itself as a longstanding pillar in the world of luxury leather goods. With its instantly recognisable monogram canvas featuring the founder's intertwined initials, the company extended its range of articles just after the turn of the 21st century and today proposes a collection of ready-to-wear for men and women.
The birth of a motif.
Louis Vuitton had only just turned 16 when he decided to become a trunk maker and entered the service of a brilliant craftsman named Monsieur Maréchal. Seventeen years later, in 1854, he opened his very own boutique in Paris and revolutionised luxury luggage with his flat trunk, which was much easier to stack than traditional chests with curved lids. His company grew at a rate of knots and he set up a workshop in Asnières where his travel bags would be produced. The workshop is still in existence today, but only very rare pieces and special commissions are made there now. Louis Vuitton was later joined by his son Georges, who consolidated the success of the Vuitton trunks with the invention of an unpickable lock, still in use today. Georges Vuitton was also responsible for the design of the coated canvas "Monogram LV", with a repeat pattern of the label's logo intermingled with floral motifs.
The best known leather goods are made with the "Monogram LV" canvas, like the Speedy handbag. The brand also proposes numerous leather models, but its canvas bags are still highly coveted, especially the ones adorned with the grey checked Trianon motif created by Louis Vuitton in 1888. What's more, the print, originally designed to deter counterfeiting, can be rediscovered on certain versions of the iconic Keepall travel bag.
In 1987, Louis Vuitton merged with Moët et Chandon champagnes and Hennessy cognacs to form the LVMH group. After the turn of the 21st century, the company started to propose Louis Vuitton clothes and fashion accessories. It wasn't until the appointment of Marc Jacobs as artistic director in 2009, however, that the collections felt the impact of a real wave of innovation. The designer revisited the "Monogram LV" which from then onwards was printed on all types of materials and could be found in a variety of different colours. It is designer Nicolas Ghesquière who has been at the creative helm since 2013. Amongst its loyal fans, Louis Vuitton counts artists like Kanye West, Madonna and Jennifer Lopez. Other personalities have been more discreet in showing their affection for the label. Such is the case for film director Sofia Coppola, who designed the Vuitton Coppola handbag, and also filmmaker Wong Kar-Wai and actress Catherine Deneuve, who took part in an online marketing campaign in 2007.
Louis Vuitton has successfully moved with the times and reworked its classic models. The leather goods maker's iconic pieces display the famous "LV Monogram", notably: