Louis Vuitton was born in 1821 in Anchay, Eastern France. From humble beginnings, his father was a farmer and his mother a miller. In 1837 he became an apprentice at a successful box-making workshop and within a few years became known in the city as the most skilled in his craft.
In 1853 Louis Vuitton was appointed by Empress Eugénie de Montijo, wife of Napoleon III – Vuitton’s skill, innovation and determination meant his trunks quickly became coveted by the world’s elite and this opened up a whole new class of clientele. In 1854 he opened his own box-making and packing workshop, now using hardwearing and weatherproof canvas instead of leather and specialising in packing fashions. He offered rectangular trunks to a market in which they had previously been rounded – an innovative and convenient design, perfect for those traveling by train.
In 1867 Louis Vuitton was awarded a bronze medal at the Exposition Universelle, an international exposition organised by Napoleon – this further increased the popularity of his work.
He worked until his death at age 72, when he left control of the company to his son Georges Vuitton. In 1896 Georges created the unmistakeable LV monogram canvas, in response to widespread copying of the brands patterns – a problem that still plagues the design house today.
Thanks to technological advances, in 1959 a new coating process meant a supple version of the monogram canvas was created; allowing it to be used for bags, purses and wallets.
Marc Jacobs was appointed as Louis Vuitton’s first creative director in 1997 and was tasked with introducing a ready-to-wear collection for men and women. “What I have in mind are things that are deluxe butthat you can also throw into a bag and escape town with, because Louis Vuitton has a heritage in travel” – he told US Vogue.
Under Jacobs’ direction, the brand has cultivated a strong celebrity following and in 2012 the Louis Vuitton was named as the world’s most valuable luxury brand for the seventh year in a row. Valued at £16.5 billion it beat Hermès (£12.1 billion)!
Widely regarded as one of the most recognisable and highly coveted designer brands, bags and accessories can reach sky high prices. Luckily, you can shop our selection of pre-owned pieces here!