For many years the brand Louis Vuitton has stood for luxury, indeed for almost all of the this century it has been named the world’s most valuable luxury brand. The LV bags grace the arms of fashionable ladies from Monaco to Hong Kong. It’s famous LV colours and logo are instantly recognisable on any luggage rack anywhere in the world. The man who started this global luxury empire was born on 4th August 1821 to humble origins.
Louis Vuitton was born in Anchay in Eastern France, the son of a Farmer. As frequently occurs with people who go onto to do great things, tragedy befell him. His mother died when he was 10 and his father remarried, it is said, to an archetypal wicked step-mother. Therefore, when young Louis could not take it anymore he decided to head to Paris at the age of 13. He walked there, over 450 km (280 miles), taking 2 years and many odd jobs to arrive at the fabled city.
He was apprenticed to the box-maker and packer, Monsiuer Marechal, where he quickly rose to prominence. So much so that in 1851 the new Empress of France hired Louis to be her personal box maker and packer. Which enabled him to access a whole different set of clientele. He left Marechal and opened his own store in 1854.
In 1858, Louis designed his most famous creation the flat-topped canvas, which were stackable. This not only made them more durable, but much easier for traveling on the modern railways and steamships that now were the prefered mode of transport.
Vuitton introduced his famous beige and red striped canvas pattern to market, which firmly established his brand into the elite world.
Louis worked until his death in 1892, aged 70, in his store a No.1 Rue Scribe. He passed on his brand and legacy to his son, Georges. Georges took the company onto even bigger things designing the famous LV logo and opening the largest travel goods store in the world in 1914.
The brand went from strength to strength over the 20th century, launching new bags such as the Keepall and Speedy bag. The company has kept the brand at the height of Luxury and even though the modes of transportation have changed, the LV bags are the ones to be seen with on the tarmac at Heathrow or the docks of St Tropez.
You can always tell when something is popular by the level of imitators and counterfeit items and LV bags are generally top of that list. Indeed, the brand is famous for chasing down all levels of counterfeiting and brand infringement, sometimes with a little too much vigour.
Would Louis be proud of his company and what they have achieved? We think so.