The house of Louis Vuitton is widely recognized for its impressive track record of limited edition styles (we’re looking at you, artist collabs!), but the equally admirable collection of special order pieces doesn’t share the same notability. The reason? It’s a secret to many that Louis Vuitton even offers special orders.
While limited edition pieces are available to the general public for a short amount of time, special orders have historically been offered exclusively to top boutique clients as a distinguished ‘made to order’ experience. These special orders were typically for classic silhouettes to be made in a material that is different from what the boutiques sell to the masses. Now, those items are much more valuable than the original version of each style because they are only produced on request.
The brand has now transitioned its focus to elaborate VIP requests—from the famous trunk-bed of explorer Pierre Savorgnan de Brazza, to the tea trunk for the Maharajah of Baroda, and of course, the late Karl Lagerfeld’s iPad Trunk. All of these extravagant requests are filled at the brand’s special-order atelier, located in the former Vuitton family residence in Asnières-sur-Seine—the same place where each of the Vuitton boys once learned the art of trunk-making.
In the 60s, acclaimed actress Audrey Hepburn placed a special order with Louis Vuitton for a smaller version of the 1930 “Express” travel case to suit her small frame. The house gladly met her request and thus, the Speedy was created—initially just intended to be a special-sized bag for Audrey to carry. To no surprise, the bag became such a hit that Louis Vuitton soon adopted the piece as one of their regular production styles.
We have recently acquired some very unique, vintage special order pieces canvassed in the classic Damier Ebène material. (Pronounced dam-i-eh eh-ben.) Introduced under Marc Jacobs in 1998, more than 100 years after the original Damier pattern in 1888, the Damier Ebène canvas has become one of Vuitton’s most popular classics. Damier Ebène pieces are accented with a slightly stiffer, darker leather than the Vachetta used on Monogram pieces, which is why this is such a popular material for special orders.
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