Looking at legends: Louis Vuitton

by HULA , May 23, 2019
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Did you know that Louis Vuitton Malletier was the son of a carpenter and at the age of 13, he became an apprentice at a successful box-making and packing workshop, where he would begin to learn how to make the most sturdy and well-finished boxes ?  20 years later, he founded Louis Vuitton, creating travel bags and luggage, which was to become one of the world’s most iconic and historical luxury fashion brands of today.


1854 – The business was founded by Louis Vuitton Malletier and the first flat trunk with a grey Trianon canvas was created in his workshop.

1858 – Louis Vuitton had observed that the HJ Cave Osilite trunk could be easily stacked. Vuitton introduced his flat-topped trunks with Trianon canvas, making them lightweight and airtight. Before the introduction of Vuitton’s trunks, rounded-top trunks were used, generally to promote water runoff, and thus could not be stacked. It was Vuitton’s grey Trianon canvas flat trunk that allowed the ability to stack with ease for voyages.

1885 – The first Louis Vuitton store in London opened on Oxford Street in 1885 alongside the creation of a beige and Damier canvas,  which bore a logo that reads “marque L. Vuitton déposée“, which translates into “L. Vuitton registered trademark”

1892 – Louis Vuitton Malletier passed away and his son Georges Vuitton took over the business.

1896 –  The monogram label was then officially introduced by Georges on the bags later in 1896, in honour of his late father.  He later launched the signature Monogram Canvas and made worldwide patents on it; graphic symbols, including quatrefoils and flowers (as well as the LV monogram), were based on the trend of using Japanese Mon designs in the late Victorian era. The patents later proved to be successful in stopping counterfeiting.

1901 – Louis Vuitton introduced the Steamer Bag, a smaller piece of luggage designed to be kept inside Vuitton luggage trunks.

1913 – Louis Vuitton opened another store in Paris on the Champs-Élysées. 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.

1914 – The first Louis Vuitton store in Paris was opened on Rue Neuve des Capucines.

1930 – The Keepall bag was introduced followed by the Noé bag in 1932.  This bag was originally made for champagne vintners to transport bottles. Soon thereafter, the Louis Vuitton Speedy bag was created (both of which are still manufactured today).

1936 – Georges Vuitton died, and his son, Gaston-Louis Vuitton, assumed control of the company.

1978 – The first Louis Vuitton stores in Japan was opened in Tokyo and Osaka.

1983 – The first year of the Louis Vuitton Regattas Cup, a yachting competition connected with the America’s Cup, was launched. 

1984 – The business furthered its expansion into Asia with the opening of the Seoul, Korea store.

1987 – Louis Vuitton merged with Moët Hennessy, a leading manufacturer of champagne and cognac,  to form the luxury goods conglomerate LVMH.

1992 – Establishment of the first Louis Vuitton store in Beijing, China.

1997 – Marc Jacobs was appointed creative director of the brand.

2001 – Stephen Sprouse, in collaboration with Marc Jacobs, designed a limited edition line of Vuitton bags which featured graffiti written over the monogram pattern on bags such as the Keepall and Speedy.

2003 – The artist collaborations continued with Japanese artist Takashi Murakami, and the first store in Russia was opened in Moscow, and in India in New Delhi.

2004 -Louis Vuitton hosted a 150th Anniversary with an amazing event space in various cities around the world.

2005 – A Speedy watch collection was launched.

2007 – Marc Jacobs and Richard Prince collaborated on an iconic collaboration and also the opening of a temporary museum.

2008 – Maison Louis Vuitton opened in Hong Kong.

2011 – Louis Vuitton hired Kim Jones as its “Mens Ready-to-Wear Studio and Style Director”. He became the lead designer of menswear while working under the company-wide artistic directorship of Marc Jacobs.

2013 – the company confirmed that Nicolas Ghesquière had been hired to replace Marc Jacobs as artistic director of women’s collections. Ghesquière’s first line for the company was shown in Paris in March 2014.

2018 – Virgil Abloh was named artistic director of menswear — he is the label’s first African-American artistic director and one of few black designers of a major European fashion house. His debut show was held at the 2018 Paris Men’s Fashion Week staged in the historical Palais-Royal gardens’ courtyard.