La Maison Louis Vuitton: History, Evolution & Iconic Pieces

The Epitome of Luxury

Louis Vuitton is an iconic luxury fashion brand renowned for its signature LV symbol. The brand's origins can be traced back to its focus on adventure and travel, which is why it is famously known for high-end leather trunks and travel accessories that put Louis Vuitton on the fashion map. Today, it is celebrated for more than just its luggage and has made a name for itself with its cutting-edge fashion on the runway.

With its “savoir-faire” legacy, top ranking in the Vogue Business Index and the highest sales figures in the luxury fashion industry, it is no surprise that Louis Vuitton continues to hold a prestigious reputation and generate significant excitement in the fashion world.

From a trunk masterpiece curator to an iconic monogram bag designer, let’s delve into the history of Louis Vuitton and learn more about where this high-end fashion powerhouse began.

A Legendary Beginning

At the age of 16, Louis Vuitton made a life-changing decision to become a trunk master, which would impact not only his own life but also that of his sons and future generations. He began his journey as a trunk maker in 1837 when he arrived in Paris by foot and apprenticed for a craftsman named Monsieur Maréchal. At the time, transportation was primarily done by horse-drawn carriages, boats, and trains, and baggage was often handled roughly. Louis Vuitton quickly became a valued craftsman in the Parisian atelier, honing his skills in custom designing boxes and trunks to meet clients' specific needs. He spent 17 years with Monsieur Maréchal before opening his own workshop in Paris.

Revolutionizing Locks

In 1886, George Vuitton, son of Louis Vuitton, revolutionized luggage security by introducing an innovative closing system that turned travel trunks into secure storage for valuables. At the turn of the century, travelers often carried their essentials in wardrobes and flat trunks, which made them vulnerable to theft. To help protect his clients' possessions, George developed a single lock system with two spring buckles.

George devised this revolutionary system after years of development. Eventually, it became so effective that he publicly challenged Harry Houdini, the famous escape artist, to escape from a Vuitton trunk locked with this system. Houdini did not take up the challenge, but the effectiveness of the lock was undeniable, and it is still used today.

Birth of the Very First Louis Vuitton Monogram

Louis Vuitton was known for his innovative approach to luggage, creating stackable, waterproof, and lightweight cases for his customers. Despite starting from humble beginnings, his dedication to his craft and his unwavering commitment to excellence is what helped Louis Vuitton become the fashion house it is today.

When the legendary Louis Vuitton founder passed away in 1892, his son George took over the company. Four years later, the first LV monogram was created. Since then, it has become a synonymous symbol of the brand and is the hallmark feature that makes Louis Vuitton bags recognizable over a century later. George also introduced the interlocking LV with the flower design as a canvas print to brand the luggage. These two patterns have become the most recognizable symbols of status on Louis Vuitton accessories worldwide.

From the Speedy to the Alma: Timeless Icons

Louis Vuitton was rapidly gaining recognition as an iconic brand in luxury luggage, renowned for its exceptional craftsmanship and innovative designs. In 1915, fashion icon Coco Chanel took notice and commissioned George Vuitton to create a bespoke handbag, which marked the brand's first foray into smaller leather goods. In the 1930s, Chanel granted permission for the bag to be mass-produced and it is now known as the Alma.

Another fashion influencer of the time, Audrey Hepburn, the epitome of chic and timeless style, was frequently spotted carrying the popular Speedy travel bag. She even requested a smaller version of the bag to be created, resulting in the creation of the Speedy 25, named in her honor.

LVMH Transporting the French Maison to Higher Heights

Louis Vuitton merged with Moet et Chandon and Hennessy in 1987, creating the parent company LVMH. The merger was worth over £3 million and since then, many other luxury brands have joined the group, taking the brand to new heights. Louis Vuitton established itself as a leading fashion house in the 1990s and 2000s, expanding its offerings to include ready-to-wear, jewelry, sunglasses, shoes, and perfumes, all of which reflect the company's heritage and love of travel and design.

Breathing Life into the Brand

In 1997, American fashion designer Marc Jacobs took the reins as Creative Director, under whose leadership Louis Vuitton ventured into ready-to-wear and transformed from a luxury luggage label into a high fashion empire. With his fresh take on the brand, he reinterpreted the LV logo and introduced the brand's first jewelry line.

Boasting World Class: Louis Vuitton Exceptional Bags

The Monogram Canvas Louis Vuitton Speedy 35

Rendered as part of Louis Vuitton’s exceptional history, the LV Speedy bag is one of the most recognized creations of the house. A totem of the brand’s legacy, the designer bag remains one of Louis Vuitton’s best sellers to date.

The Yayoi Kusama x Louis Vuitton Neverfull Tote

One of its most iconic handbags is the Neverfull tote, which was introduced in 2007 and is designed to hold up to 200 pounds. Featuring the limited edition 'Dots Infinity' print designed in collaboration with artist Yayoi Kusama, the bag exudes the creative synergy behind its production. The Louis Vuitton Neverfull is a stylish city bag and a sophisticated travel tote that is recognized worldwide. The aptly named tote bag is spacious enough to hold all your belongings and artsy enough to make a runway fashion statement.

Louis Vuitton Damier Ebene Keepall

The original design and inspiration behind the LV Speedy is this spacious weekender, LV’s Keepall. Accommodating the spirit of travel, the generously sized top-handle bag lives up to its name by fitting all your venture essentials.

Stephen Sprouse x Louis Vuitton Monogram Roses Pochette

Timeless and rather collectible, this rare Louis Vuitton Pochette Accessoires is another inspiring collaboration featuring LV’s iconic monogram and artist Stephen Sprouse’s colorful rose print.

The Louis Vuitton Red Taurillon Capucines

This distinctive Louis Vuitton Capucines is a versatile and elegant piece that can be worn as a top-handle bag or a crossbody bag. Rendered in supple red Taurillon leather, it’s undeniable how this item will seamlessly elevate your whole look.

The Louis Vuitton Monogram Giant On the Go Tote

A capsule piece, this coveted Louis Vuitton ‘Monogram Giant’ is as striking as it is functional. Its whimsical and statement design easily heralds the Louis Vuitton On The Go tote bag as a wardrobe must-have.

Authentic, Timeless, Pre-loved Louis Vuitton Gems

What Goes Around Comes Around offers a trusted, world-class luxury vintage experience through assorted and carefully picked pre-owned fashion luxuries. By seeking out top-tier designer pieces examined by authenticity experts, shop pre-owned authentic Louis Vuitton, find your most desired collectible in pristine condition, and meet individuality and sustainability through exclusive, coveted finds.