The History of Louis Vuitton

The History of Louis Vuitton

Louis Vuitton is one of the world’s leading international fashion houses. The brand operates in 50 countries and has over 460 stores worldwide. Of course, being such a monumental brand means it carries a rich history too. The story of Louis Vuitton is truly inspirational and I believe that if you haven’t heard it already, you need to. So here you go..


It all started in 1821, Louis Vuitton was born in a small hamlet in eastern France. At only 10 years old his mother passed away and his father quickly remarried. As a child he was treated very poorly which drove him to leave home and travel to Paris by foot, aged just 13. His journey took over 2 years, along the way he took odd jobs to survive. In 1837 he arrived in Paris, and 16 year old Louis Vuitton became an apprentice for a local box maker and packer. After just two years he had earnt himself a reputation among Paris’ elites as one of the city’s best box makers. In 1852 the Empress of France hired Louis Vuitton as her personal box maker. This opportunity provided Louis with a gateway to elite and royal clientele. 2 years later, in 1854 the Louis Vuitton label was formed. After opening his own shop he introduced his own flat top trunks. They were lightweight, airtight and stackable, unlike the very common round top trunks that were currently being used. His innovative idea was an immediate commercial success and 1 year later Vuitton expanded into a larger workshop outside of Paris.


In 1870, Vuitton’s business was stopped by the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War. He returned a year later to find his village in ruins, equipment stolen and factory destroyed. This didn’t stop him though, a year later introduced a new design, beige canvas and red stripes, and it cemented Louis Vuitton as a luxury brand. He quickly changed this design to beige and brown stripes to protect against replicas. A decade later he opened his first international branch in Oxford Street, London. Another huge milestone occurred 1 year later when his son, George Vuitton, revolutionised luggage by adapting a new single lock system with two spring buckles. This incredibly strong lock system is still used today.


In 1888, the Damier canvas was born. Unfortunately, shortly after Louis Vuitton passed away. Management was given to his son George. In 1896, the company launched its signature Monogram canvas. The iconic symbols were based on the trend of using Japanese designs in the late Victorian era.


In 1913, the Louis Vuitton building opened on Champs-Élysées, at the time it was the worlds largest travel goods store. 1930 was a big year for the company as they revealed the ‘Keep all’ and ‘Speedy’ bags, both designed for every day travel. In 1934 the ‘Alma’ bag was released to the public, after being kept exclusive for Coco Chanel, who it had been designed for almost a decade earlier. In 1936, George Vuitton died and his son Gaston Vuitton took over the company. To celebrate 100 years of the Monogram canvas in 1996, Louis Vuitton invited select designers to create unique luggage pieces that were displayed on landmarks worldwide.


The early 2000s saw the introduction of the multi-colour Monogram and in 2007 their best selling bag, the ‘Neverfull’ was released. Since then the brand has collaborated with multiple brands and designers such as Marc Jacobs, Kanye West and Supreme.


Today, Louis Vuitton is one of the most valuable brands in the world, with a value of almost $40 billion.


This brand is a personal favourite, they are constantly designing and producing highly unique items of amazing quality. The extraordinary history is reflected today through every collection, store and employee. I hope their story inspires you as much as it does for me.

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