Louis Vuitton is arguably the world’s most iconic luxury brand. The brand’s beginnings were humble, but nonetheless luxurious and exclusive as a small luggage and packing shop, located in Paris. Founded in 1854, anyone who required such luggage products would have been among the elite of the times.
LOUIS VUITTON ORIGINS
The story of Louis Vuitton began in 1837, when a young Louis Vuitton arrived in Paris and began working for the trunk-making company of Monsieur Marechal. Vuitton quickly became known for his exceptional craftsmanship and innovative designs, and in 1859, he opened his own workshop in Asnières Paris.
Vuitton's trunks were unlike anything that had been seen before. They were lightweight, durable, and featured airtight and waterproof locks. Vuitton's trunks were also designed to be stackable, which made them perfect for travel. These innovations made Vuitton's trunks highly sought after by the wealthy and aristocratic travellers of the time.
Innovations that the brand made include, an unpick-able lock, which was forwarded by Georges Vuitton, Louis son. This utilised a novel closeing system that prevented thievery.
Another key innovation was the tumbler lock which helped protect valuables with two spring buckles. The system was patented and, George's Vuitton famously challenged Harry Houdini to escape a Louis Vuitton trunk. Houdini tellingly ignored the offer.
LOUIS VUITTON EXPLORER TRUNK
In the early days, one of Louis Vuitton's most esteemed releases were their “Explorer Trunks”. Many of these trunks were produced in zinc, copper and brass throughout the 1880s, but a handful of aluminium models were produced in the year of 1892. Today only two examples are known to exist, one being in the Louis Vuitton Foundation in Paris. Whilst canvas and wooden trunks were produced, the “Explorer Trunks” were made to combat the high humidity of the deepest regions of Asia and Africa. Despite Aluminium today being one of the most abundant materials on earth, the craftsmanship on this trunk is something to behold, since mass production techniques would be invented some three decades later.
A NOD TO THE LOUIS VUITTON ORIGINS
As with many brands that are at the forefront of high-fashion today, the beginnings are humble and tend to be based on an ethos on innovation. Louis Vuitton is no different in that sense. Louis Vuitton occasionally references their origins with travel trunks like the Mahjong 'Vanity' Trunk, released in 2022. So called due to the contents it is designed to conceal. Precious objects such as jewellery, champagne and Mahjong, a tile based game heralding from China.