Louis Vuitton Malletrier, best known as Louis Vuitton, is a French fashion house founded in 1854 by Luis Vuitton on Rue Neuve des Capucines in Paris.Luis Vuitton was born in 1821 in Anchay in a working-class family but at the age of 13 he left home and travelled during two years in order to arrive to Paris. He finally arrived in 1837, when he was 16. Once in the city, that was suffering changes due to the Industrial revolution, Vuitton worked as an apprentice with a successful box-maker and packer, Monsieur Marechal, and soon he acquired a good reputation amongst fashionable Parisians.
In 1854, as it was said before, he opened his first workshop and in 1858 he launched a revolutionary rectangular shaped trunks, “Trianon”. This trunk was lighter and much more hermetic. It has to be said that during that time the tops of the trunks used to be rounded. This new package soon attracted to the people and it achieved a high demand, which allowed the expansion of the maison and caused a high level of imitations. A few years after, in 1876, in order to avoid counterfeit he changed the design of the “Trianon” trunk to a beige and brown stripes pattern.
The first store of the brand in London was opened in 1885 on Oxford Street and just three years after it was created the Damier Canvas pattern because of the huge amount of imitations. In the pattern one could read “L.Vuitton déposée”, that means “L.Vuitton registered trademark”. Soon after the founder died (1892) and his son took the management of the maison. As a curiosity, during the Napoleon’s III Empire Louis Vuitton was hired as personal box-maker and packer of the Empress of France, Spanish countess Eugenie de Montijo, who provided him royal clients and from other elites.
1896 was an important year, they took out the patent and the monogram was finally launched. It consisted of quatrefoils, flowers and the LV monogram from Japanese and oriental inspiration of the Victorian Era. The patent allowed dropping the imitation rate.
A new century had started and with it a new piece of luggage was introduced, the Streamer Bag (1901), which was smaller and thought to be kept inside the luggage trunks. By the time of the World War I there were stores all around the world: New York, Washington, Buenos Aires, Alexandria, Bombay and London. Throughout the thirties were launched the Keepall bag (1930); the Noé bag (1932), made for champagne vintners to transport bottles; and the Speedy bag.
Georges Vuitton died in 1936 leaving his son Gaston-Louis Vuitton in charge. During the World War II, period when the maison collaborated with the Nazis during the French occupation of the Germans, leather was introduced into most of its products, such as wallets, purses or pieces of luggage. The Papillon was brought out in 1966 and nowadays is still remaining popular. A year later two stores were opened in Japan, in Tokyo and Osaka. Later on its presence in Asia was extended with new stores in Taipei (1983) and Seoul (1984). The Epi leather line was introduced the following year, in 1985. Two years later Moët Chandon, Hennessy and Louis Vuitton joined to form the luxury goods conglomerate, LVMH.
The new decade brought a new president, Yves Carcelle, a new store in Beijing and new products: in 1993 was introduced the Taiga leather line and in 1994 the literature collection of Voyager Avec… Marc Jacobs became the Artistic Director of the brand in 1997, who in march of the following year designed the maison’s first line of “prêt-à-porter”. Moreover he introduced the Monogram Vernis line, the LV scrapbooks and the Louis Vuitton City Guide. In 1999 was released a mini monogram line.
2001 was marked by the collaboration of Stephen Sprouse and Marc Jacobs to create a limited-edition line of bags that consisted of graffiti that reads Louis Vuitton –and, on certain bags, the name of it- over the monogram pattern. The same year was introduced the charm bracelet, the first piece of jewellery of the brand. The following year it was launched the Tambour watch collection and in 2003 Takashi Murakami and Marc Jacobs designed de new Monogram Multicoloured canvas range of handbags and accessories. Takashi Murakami was the mastermind of the Cherry Blossom pattern.
The 150th anniversary was celebrated in 2004, the same year that the Fifth Avenue store was inaugurated, and in 2005 the Champs-Élysées store was reopened and the Speedy watch collection was introduced. Three years later was released the Damier Graphite canvas, a redesign of the original one featuring black and grey pattern. Also in 2008 Pharrel Williams co-designed Blason, a series of jewellery and glasses. Kim Jones was presented in 2011 as the Men prêt-à-porter Studio and Style Director, and Darren Spaziani runs the accessory collection since 2013, the same that year Marc Jacobs leaved the brand and was substituted by Nicolas Ghesquière as Artistic Director.
Nowadays Louis Vuitton is one of the most valuable brand in the world and one of the most counterfeited that designs trunks and leather goods, ready-to-wear, shoes, watches, jewellery, accessories and sunglasses amongst others. Each year is released a limited edition bags as well as collaborations with another artists or designers, for example Yayoi Kusama who created the “Infinitely Kusama” collection in 2012.
In its marketing campaigns had appeared Keith Richards, Madonna, Jennifer Lopez, Angelina Jolie, Gisele Bündchen, Sean Connery and David Bowie