Louis Vuitton is undeniably one of the world’s biggest and strongest luxury brands on earth. Word on this brand has spread from the pavements of China to the avenues of New York. No one can question how Louis Vuitton has created an outstanding influence to both men and women, in and out of the fashion world. The brand has led the competition and has dominated the industry for years. You think that this big luxury brand was a big empire when it started? Wait until you discover about its humble beginnings when Louis Vuitton himself created luggage for his daily survival during the 19th century. Louis Vuitton was not born with a silver spoon, he was born in the Jura Mountains, a poor region. He had to seek for possible means just to survive, so he left for Paris when he was 16.
Where It All Started
He worked as an apprentice for Maréchal, a box maker and packer on Rue Saint-Honoré, then, as now, one of the main thoroughfares of fashionable Paris. He worked there for 17 years. During this time, Paris was starting to become big on luxury goods as the world has paid attention to the city being the global focal point of fashion, luxury, and taste for everything fancy. Louis Vuitton decided to open his own company in 1854. He started with creating trunks that “Securely packs the most fragile objects. Specializing in packing fashions.” This was written on the poster he used when he was just starting out. He was able to successfully get clients and his business was undeniably successful.
He became well known for his innovations, such as using canvas and glue for the casing rather than hide. What his clients liked about him was that he would offer luggage in fashionable colors.
In 1858, everything started to change. He made a big leap by introducing the slat trunk. It had beech slats and was covered in Trianon grey canvas. This is said to be the first piece of modern luggage and is a design that is still used today. This was the era where people have started travelling across the globe and Louis Vuitton was able to use this demand for his products.
He moved his workshop in an area which is three miles from central Paris, and this is also where the luggage is made. The factory also became the Vuitton family home, when Louis Vuitton built two villas on the grounds; one for himself and one for his son Georges, who took over the company after his father’s death in 1892. It was Georges who started the family business on its path of global expansion.
Georges opened the company’s first overseas shop in London but they were not too successful at this attempt so they opened a new shop on New Bond street, where you can find Louis Vuitton today. This was when Louis Vuitton started conquering the fashion world. They created new canvases and new designs that had to be trademarked and patented. In 1889, the world saw the alternating brown and beige squares which was knows as Damier. This pattern has become the icon of the brand, a pattern that has made the brand the world’s biggest. From there on, Louis Vuitton has become unstoppable, everyone would want to have their Louis Vuitton trunk with the infamous pattern.
They introduced the famous Monogram canvas in 1896. One of the highlights of the brand’s history was in 1914 when they opened the world’s biggest luggage store in Champs-Elysses. This time, Louis Vuitton was renowned and venerated to be the world’s most luxurious travel brand. It has become a staple to millionaires, celebrities, and the elite circle. Everything they need was with Louis Vuitton—vanity cases, travel cases, trunks for polo mallets—no one can say no to Louis Vuitton.
In 1954, the Vuitton monogram was already one of the world’s iconic logos. In 1959, the brand created the monogrammed canvas coated PVC that has become their trademark.
However, the biggest leap happened in 1996 when the company decided to expand beyond luggage and they transformed the brand to an all-round luxury company. The best designers were gathered to create special pieces—Manolo Blahnik, Azzedine Alaïa, Helmut Lang, Vivienne Westwood, Sybilla, Romeo Gigli, and Isaac Mizrahi. They were able to create successful designs and the company decided that Louis Vuitton would be a fashion label. In 1997, they hired Marc Jacobs as their creative director. Finally, the brand produced its ready-to-wear line.
The brand has become more popular with Marc Jacob’s marketing initiatives getting Jennifer Lopez, Uma Thurman, Sean Connery, Pharell Williams, and Angelina Jolie as their brand ambassadors. Such big names for a big luxury brand. The brand’s commercial success was unstoppable.
Louis Vuitton has also ventured to menswear, which became a significant part of the business. Louis Vuitton is everywhere; glossy magazines, runways, the red carpet. Everyone just wants to have one piece of Lpuis Vuitton in their closet. With its rich history, humble beginnings, effective marketing campaigns, brilliant creators, and modern meets classic fashion, Louis Vuitton will surely be a strong brand alongside other big brands such as Gucci, Fendi, Prada, or Hermes and the next generations will surely still want to have a taste of the Louis Vuitton brand. You better take care of your precious Louis Vuitton collections because your daughter might just love your expensive hand me down Louis Vuitton bag for her 18th birthday.
A French fashion house that has now become a world’s icon; Louis Vuitton has forever changed the name of trunks and of the fashion industry.
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