The History of Louis Vuitton
Louis Vuitton is a brand that was established since mid 19th century.
It is one of the top fashion brands today. But this brand actually didn’t start as a fashion merchandise. It started as a traveling accessory by its bag/luggage and trunk that caters to the aristocrats of the French empire.
The founder, Louis Vuitton, established Louis Vuitton: Malletier à Paris and started to gain his reputation when he was appointed as Layetier(trunk or box maker) to the Empress Eugenie de Montijo, Napoleon III of France’s wife. His trunk design, flat-bottom trunks with trianon canvas, set a standard for luggage makers making other luggage makers to imitate his creation. In order to stop counterfeiting he introduced the beige and brown stripes design in 1876 and in 1888 the Damier Canvas pattern with a logo that reads “marque L. Vuitton déposée,” which translates to “mark L. Vuitton deposited” or, roughly, “L. Vuitton trademark”.In 1892, Louis Vuitton died, and the company’s management passed to his son, Georges Vuitton.
After the death of his father, Georges Vuitton began a campaign to build the company into a worldwide corporation, exhibiting the company’s products at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893.
In 1896, the company launched the legendary Monogram Canvas and made the worldwide patents on it. Its graphic symbols, including quatrefoils and flowers (as well as the LV monogram), were based on the trend of using Japanese and Oriental designs in the late Victorian era. The patents later prove to be successful in stopping counterfeiting. In this same year, Georges traveled to the United States, where he toured various cities (such as New York, Philadelphia, and Chicago), selling Vuitton products during the visit. In 1901, the Louis Vuitton Company introduced the Steamer Bag, a smaller piece of luggage designed to be kept inside Vuitton luggage trunks.
By 1914, the Louis Vuitton Building opened on the Champs-Elysees. It was the largest travel-goods store in the world at the time. Stores also opened in New York, Bombay, Washington, London, Alexandria, and Buenos Aires as World War I began. Afterwards, in 1930, the Keepall bag was introduced. During 1932, LV introduced the Noé bag. This bag was originally made for champagne vintners to transport bottles. Soon thereafter, the Louis Vuitton Speedy bag was introduced (both are still manufactured today). In 1936 Georges Vuitton passed away, and, his son, Gaston-Louis Vuitton, assumed control of the company.
During this period, the look of the leather was utilized in everything from small purses and wallets to larger pieces of luggage. In order to broaden its line, the company revamped its signature Monogram Canvas in 1959 to make it more supple, allowing it to be used for purses, bags, and wallets.
Audrey Hepburn is seen carrying the bag in the film Charade (1963). It is believed that in the 1960s, counterfeiting returned as a greater issue to continue on into the 21st century. In 1966, the Papillon was launched (a cylindrical bag that is still popular today). By 1977, LV owned two stores, with annual revenue up to 70 million Francs ($10 million USD). A year later (1978), it opened the first stores in Japan (in Tokyo and Osaka). In 1983, the company joined with America’s Cup to form the Louis Vuitton Cup, a preliminary competition (known as an eliminatory regatta) for the yacht race. Louis Vuitton later expanded its presence in Asia with the opening of a store in Taipei, Taiwan in 1983 and Seoul, South Korea in 1984. In the following year (1985), the Epi leather line is introduced.
1987 witnessed the creation of LVMH. Moët et Chandon and Hennessy, leading manufacturers of champagne and brandy, (respectively) merged with Louis Vuitton to form the luxury goods conglomerate. Profits for 1988 are reported to be up by 49% more than in 1987. By 1989, Louis Vuitton came to operate 130 stores worldwide. Entering the 1990s, Yves Carcelle was named president of LV, and in 1992, his brand opened its first Chinese location at the Palace Hotel in Beijing. Further more introduced products became the Taiga leather line (1993) and the literature collection of Voyager Avec… (1994). In 1996, the celebration of the Centennial of the Monogram Canvas was held in seven cities worldwide.
After introducing its pen collection (1997), Louis Vuitton made Marc Jacobs along side Jae its Art Directors (1998). In March of the following year, they designed and introduced the company’s first prêt-à-porter line of clothing for men and women. Also in this year, the Monogram Vernis line, the LV scrapbooks, and the Louis Vuitton City Guide were launched. 1300 km from Dalian to Beijing, the first rally in China is held (“China Run”) as well.The last events in the 20th century were the release of the mini monogram line (1999), the opening of the first store in Africa in Marrakech, Morocco (2000), and finally the auction at the International Film Festival in Venice, Italy were the vanity case “amfAR” designed by Sharon Stone is sold with proceeds going to The Foundation for AIDS Research (also in 2000).
By 2001, Stephen Sprouse, in collaboration with Marc Jacobs, designed a limited-edition line of Vuitton bags that feature graffiti written over the monogram pattern. The graffiti reads Louis Vuitton and as well, on certain bags, the name of the bag (such as Keepall and Speedy). Certain pieces, which feature the graffiti without the Monogram Canvas background, are created and only available to the customers on Vuitton’s V.I.P. customer list. Jacobs also creates the charm bracelet, the first ever piece of jewelry from LV, within the same year.
In the year of 2002, the Tambour watch collection was introduced. During this year as well, the LV building in Tokyo is opened, and the brand collaborates with Bob Wilson for its Christmas windows sceneography.
In 2003, Takashi Murakami, in collaboration with Marc Jacobs, masterminded the new Monogram Multicolore canvas range of handbags and accessories. This range includes the monograms of the standard Monogram Canvas, but in 33 different colors on either a white or black background. (The classic canvas features gold monograms on a brown background.) Murakami also created the Cherry Blossom pattern, in which smiling cartoon faces in the middle of pink and yellow flowers are sporadically placed atop the Monogram Canvas. This pattern appeared on a limited number of pieces. The production of this limited-edition run was discontinued in June 2003. Within 2003, the stores in Moscow, Russia and in New Delhi, India are opened. The Utah and Suhali leather lines are released, and the 20th anniversary of the LV Cup is held as well. Louis Vuitton situated on the famous Champs-Elysées.
Louis Vuitton celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2004 worldwide. In this year, the brand inaugurated stores in New York City (on Fifth Avenue), São Paulo and Johannesburg. It also opened its first global store in Shanghai. By 2005, Louis Vuitton reopened its Champs-Élysées store (reputed to be the largest LV store in the world), and release the Speedy watch collection. In 2006, LV held the inauguration of the Espace Louis Vuitton on its 7th floor.