Louis Vuitton: That classic, elegant logo seen on the tote bags or clutch purses of many a Toronto fashionista. Iconic, right? Stylish, yet whimsical, LV accessories are a must for the man or woman who knows how to give their look an edge.
Ever wonder about the story behind the label? Turns out Louis Vuitton, the French designer who founded the label back in the 1800’s – yes, it’s been around that long – started a brand from scratch in the midst of poverty-stricken Paris. Today, the company is a luxury culture mainstay and worth billions of dollars.
Here’s what you might not know about the eponymous Louis Vuitton brand.
Louis Vuitton – the original – was born into a working class family in the wooded, mountainous region of Anchay in Eastern France. At 16, he traveled alone to Paris, which was then a city struggling with widespread poverty, in the midst of the industrial revolution.
To make ends meet, Vuitton took an apprenticeship as a box-maker and packer, which he unexpectedly excelled at. What we think of today as classic luggage wasn’t something most people had access to at that point in time, so when travelling, people packed their belongings in trunks or crates. At the time, it was a specialized field and Vuitton – a skilled and precise packer – gained a reputation among Paris’s more stylish and upper-class citizens.
The birth of the brand
In his early thirties, Vuitton married a young woman and decided to strike out on his own. He opened up his own shop, specializing in both making crates and boxes for packing, as well as packing the boxes themselves. In an early version of “branding,” he advertised as being a specialist in packing high-fashion items. Eventually he designed his own line of storage trunks, which were stackable, waterproof and had signature flat tops.
With his keen eye for both style and practicality, the demand for his boxes grew so much that Vuitton soon had no choice but to move his operations to a larger warehouse, which is where he developed the signature monogram logo that became so iconic.
Vuitton saw many ups and downs throughout his career. At one point, he designed boxes for members of the European royalty, including the Empress of France. Later, however, he was forced to move his workshop from war-torn Paris and lay off all his staff. Through it all, he continued his craft until his death at the age of 70 in 1892. His son, Georges, then took over the brand and shaped it into what we know today as the luxury purse brand.
Louis Vuitton – the luxury brand – today
The junior Louis Vuitton quickly expanded, opening up stores in places like New York, Osaka and Bogota.
It gained a strong following from the A-list crowd after a vanity case designed in collaboration with actress Sharon Stone was sold, with the proceeds going to the Foundation for AIDS Research in 2000. The line was a favourite with the Hilton sisters during the prime early millennium years, and is still widely anticipated on the runways every season.
The line – which has always been helmed by a member of the family – increasingly introduced more luxury items into its collection, including wallets, shoes and watches. This was heavily influenced by the introduction of designer Marc Jacobs as the brand’s Artistic Director, who held that role from 1997 to 2013. In 2004, the company celebrated its 150th anniversary, which is no small feat.
The brand today
Today the company is estimated to be worth $19 billion USD, and is consistently ranked as one of the world’s most valuable brands. It’s flagship stores can be found in most of the world’s luxury hotspots, including New York, London, Morocco and Madrid.
With a bit of luck and the right ambassador, almost any brand can gain status for a limited period of time. Peoples’ tastes change, however, and so do their needs. This makes it challenging for brands to consistently stay valuable and relevant among newer generations, who may not only have different needs, but different expectations for what they want their brands to stand for. In this sense, it’s remarkable that Louis Vuitton, once a small time trunk maker working out of war-torn Paris, has grown into a luxury label and managed to stay at the top of their game for so long.
So that sleek monogrammed clutch you saw someone waving around at the hotel bar last night? Much more than just a prhttps://www.loveyourpurse.ca/purse-repair.htmletty face. If you need designer name purse cleaning or require any handbag repair, contact Love Your Purse today.