Designer Spotlight: The Louis Vuitton Empire

Designer Spotlight: The Louis Vuitton Empire

Luxury and opulence come to mind at the mention of Louis Vuitton. Their signature monogram is a symbol that needs no introduction, often copied yet never duplicated. Step into their illustrious journey with us from humble beginnings as luggage suppliers to becoming an icon in the world of fashion and status symbols.

Louis Vuitton is a name synonymous with luxury and style. Founded in 1854 by none other than Louis Vuitton himself, the brand has come to represent the epitome of fashion and craftsmanship. But how did this French designer become such an iconic figure among the high-fashion world?

The story begins in 1937 where 16-year-old Louis Vuitton began training as a craftsman for Monsieur Maréchal on arrival in Paris. He was apprenticed at the Parisian atelier for five years, learning the art of craftsmanship that would change not only the course of his own life, but the way we view luxury and design as we know it.

After his apprenticeship was complete, Vuitton opened his own box-making shop in the city of lights. It was here that the Louis Vuitton brand started to take off by making trunks out of canvas with leather trim, which became a staple thanks to their lighter weight compared to the traditional wooden trunks that everyone knew at the time. This innovation caught the attention of French royalty (oh la la) and soon, Louis Vuitton’s trunks were being sent to all corners of the world.

The Beginning of Louis Vuitton

In 1854, Louis Vuitton opened his first atelier in Paris and introduced his most iconic monogram canvas. This specific canvas boasted a unique combination of geometric patterns and the initials LV, which further cemented the Vuitton brand's signature style. As the brand grew, so did its reputation for quality and luxury, meaning LV had to expand his operations even further.

At the Asnières atelier, where Louis Vuitton’s 20 employees had started, they were each taught to take such care in their craftsmanship that each piece was considered a work of art. By the year of 1900, the Louis Vuitton brand were at almost 100 employees, with 225 coming onboard in 1914. This commitment to quality and comfort ensured that Vuitton trunks would become a must-have item for the world's most stylish and sophisticated.

The Vuitton Family Legacy

In 1892, the Vuitton family endured grief and sadness as Louis Vuitton passed away at the age of 70. His son Georges took over his role in heading the luxury house thereafter. To pay homage to his late father four years later, Georges redesigned their luggage with a unique monogram featuring LVs, quatrefoils, and flowers - all symbolic of Louis' legacy.

Under his visionary guidance, the monogram quickly gained notoriety among the world’s finest of customers. This fame soon reached Gabrielle Chanel, one of the most renowned fashion icons in history. As a result of this recognition, success continued to follow the Louis Vuitton brand.

The Handbags Humble Beginnings

In 1925, the Louis Vuitton brand caught the eagle eye of none other than Gabrielle Coco Chanel, who commissioned a bespoke bag for everyday use. After capturing the hearts of many, Chanel allowed the one-of-a-kind, what we know today as the Alma bag, to be mass produced, completely launching Louis Vuitton’s magic that is the creation of handbags and smaller luxury leather goods.

Riding on the success of its Alma bag, Louis Vuitton dauntlessly launched the iconic Keepall, the Speedy which was requested by sweetheart Audrey Hepburn, and the Noe bucket bag – all between 1930 and 1932. The admiration for these bags was incomparable; they have withstood time to remain available in a multitude of fabrics and sizes till this very day.

The Louis Vuitton Brand Now

The original Asnières atelier where LV began to build his empire has since been completely expanded to accommodate the vast changes of the world-renowned brand, including the Vuitton family residence which (now) is part of a private museum. Today, production is still held at this atelier, with only 170 craftsmen still working in the workshop itself, carefully curating, mastering, and developing leather goods and unique orders for high profile clients across the world… Where was our invite?

The beginning of Louis Vuitton was a change forthcoming in the fashion world. Regardless of what you’re looking for when it comes to luxury, from timeless to on trend, the best part about a Louis Vuitton bag is knowing its careful curation has been built within every fibre and thread that you hold. With its iconic monogram canvas, luxurious leathers, and dedication to craftsmanship, it is no wonder that Louis Vuitton is one of the most sought-after names in the history of fashion.

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