THE COMPLETE HISTORY OF LOUIS VUITTON

The beginning of the legend

When Louis Vuitton was 16 years old, he did a fateful thing, which not only changed the life of him and his family, but also changed the definition of luxury goods in the fashion circle.
—He wants to become a luggage master

In 1837, 16-year-old Louis Vuitton arrived in Paris, France. Beginning as an apprentice in the atelier of Monsieur Maréchal, where he quickly became a respected craftsman, this was the root of his highly specialized profession, later designing luggage according to the wishes of his clients. Louis Vuitton stayed here for 17 years before opening its own atelier at 4 Rue Neuve-des-Capucines, near Place Vendome.

ASNIÈRES: The legendary workshop

Louis Vuitton’s early success meant he had to expand. This led him to open a studio in Asnières in 1859. The factory, located northeast of central Paris, started with just 20 employees. In 1900, there were nearly 100 people, and by 1914 the number had increased to 225.

The original studio has been expanded over the decades, including the addition of the Vuitton family home, but today it is still where products are made. While the family home has been preserved and forms part of a private museum, 170 craftsmen work in the Asnières atelier, designing and crafting leather goods and special orders for clients around the world.In 1886, his son George invented and patented an ingenious locking system that made it impossible to pick the lock on a trunk. This lock is still in use today.

The Vuitton family legacy
In 1892, Louis Vuitton died. His son, Georges Vuitton, took over the luxury house, sparking a luggage redesign. In 1896, as a tribute to his father, the iconic LV monogram appeared, featuring an LV, four-leaf clover and flowers. Under his leadership, the monogram has won great acclaim among discerning customers. The brand was a huge success at the time and caught the attention of Gabrielle Chanel.

1925 The huge demand for these bags continues and a variety of materials and sizes are still produced

In 1936, Georges Vuitton died and his son Gaston-Louis Vuitton took over the role of leader of the brand. During the 50-year tenure of Gaston-Louis, Louis Vuitton expanded into leather goods and significantly redesigned its iconic monogram canvas. This modified canvas appeared in several styles, notably the cylindrical Papillon introduced in 1966.

From Louis Vuitton to LVMH: The global rise of luxury goods

In 1970, Henry Recamier took over the company after the death of his father, Gaston-Louis. Recognizing the need to expand the brand’s global reach, he opened retail stores around the world. Under the guidance of financial director Joseph Lafont, the company went public in 1984, laying the foundation for the creation of parent company LVMH. Since Louis Vuitton is already a leading luxury brand, it makes sense to partner with renowned champagne and cognac producers Moet et Chandon and Hennessy. In 1987, this partnership gave rise to LVMH, a historic strategic move for the company.

The 1990s: A pivotal era for Louis Vuitton

In the early 1990s, Yves Carcelle was appointed president, becoming the first non-family patriarch. It was during his tenure that the brand made substantial strides in the fashion world through innovative collaborations and contemporary interpretations of classic pieces. In 1996, the brand celebrated the 100th anniversary of the Damier print with a limited edition featuring rare Vachetta leather combinations: the Centenaire Collection

In 1997, Marc Jacobs was appointed Vuitton’s first creative director. He designed the brand’s first ready-to-wear collection and launched Monogram Vernis. In 2001, Stephen Sprouse collaborated with Jacobs to create a collection that covered classic monogram canvases with vibrant graffiti art. Building on the success of its collaboration with Sprouse, Louis Vuitton embarks on a journey of artistic collaboration. In 2003, the brand teamed up with Takashi Murakami to launch the multicolor Monogram, a reinterpretation of the standard monogram print in 33 different colors on a black and white background. Murakami also contributed the iconic smiling cherry blossom design to the classic monogram.

In 2007, as sales soared, Louis Vuitton launched the iconic Neverfull bag, a classic bag in monogram canvas with interior stripes, side pockets and vachetta trim. In 2014, the tote was redesigned with a new interior print, more color options and a removable pouch.

In January 2013, as a symbolic farewell, Marc Jacobs launched the Pochette Metis, inspired by the Monceau briefcase. This versatile tote remains one of the brand’s most enduring and coveted pieces.

Louis Vuitton and the 00s
In 2013, as Louis Vuitton continued to thrive, Jacobs stepped down to focus on his namesake brand, backed by LVMH. This marks the appointment of Nicolas Ghesquière as the new artistic director of womenswear. Ghesquière from Balenciaga brings a bold, edgy aesthetic to the brand that moves away from its traditional, conservative image and caters to a younger audience. Louis Vuitton’s handbag collection continues to grow, launching numerous limited editions each year.

Since taking over, Nicolas Ghesquière has consistently delivered highly sought-after pieces and continues to amaze with his innovative and forward-thinking designs. Ghesquière’s success paved the way for Louis Vuitton to tap another creative talent in its menswear business. In 2018, Virgil Abloh became creative director of menswear, launching stunning new accessories that captured the hearts of men and women alike, a rare feat for the brand.

Sadly, on November 28, 2021, Virgil Abloh passed away after a two-year battle with angiosarcoma. Abloh’s creative talent left an indelible mark on Louis Vuitton, redefining the brand’s vision and setting new standards for inclusivity and innovation in luxury fashion.

Louis Vuitton Today
Today, Louis Vuitton is at the top of the luxury goods industry. In 2019, the brand took the coveted No. 1 spot among the BrandZ Top 10 Most Valuable Luxury Brands with a staggering value of $47.2 billion. On February 14, 2023, renowned musician and style icon Pharrell Williams made a bold move as menswear creative director, ushering in an exciting and innovative future for the brand. Additionally, Louis Vuitton, always at the forefront of design and craftsmanship, is further enhanced by the launch of a range of new handbag models, including the elegant Orsay, as well as new iterations of iconic classics such as the GO14, Side Trunk, Belt Bag and timeless Speedy. It is committed to shaping the ever-evolving landscape of luxury fashion.

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