Designers

Fashion Biography

Louis Vuitton, Fashion Designer

Louis Vuitton (August 4,1821 February 27, 1892), eponymous founder of the company, was born in the department of Jura, France. In 1835, he moved to Paris. The trip from his hometown to Paris was over 400 kilometers (249 mi), and he traveled the distance by foot. On his way there, he picked up a series of odd jobs to pay for his journey. There, he became an apprentice Layetier to prominent households. Because of his well established reputation in his fields, Napoleon III of France appointed Vuitton as Layetier to his wife, Empress Eugenie de Montijo. Through his experience with French royalty, he developed advanced knowledge of what made a good traveling case. It was then that he began to design his own luggage, setting the foundations for LV Co. 1854 through 1892

The Louis Vuitton label was founded by Monsieur Vuitton in 1854 on Rue Neuve des Capucines in Paris. In 1858, Monsieur Vuitton introduced his flat bottom 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 run off, and thus could not be stacked. It was Vuitton"s gray Trianon canvas flat trunk that allowed the ability to stack with ease for voyages. Becoming successful and prestigious, many other luggagemakers began to imitate LV"s style and design.

In 1867, the company participated in the universal exhibition in Paris. To protect against the duplication of his look, he changed the Trianon design to a beige and brown stripes design in 1876. By 1885, the company opened its first store in London, England on Oxford Street. Soon thereafter, due to the continuing imitation of his look, in 1888, the Damier Canvas pattern was created by Louis Vuitton, bearing a logo that reads marque L. Vuitton deposee, which translates to mark L. Vuitton deposited or, roughly, L. Vuitton trademark. In 1892, Louis Vuitton died, and the company"s management passed to his son. 1893 through 1939

After the death of his father, Georges Vuitton began a campaign to build the company into a worldwide corporation, exhibiting the company"s products at the Chicago World"s Fair in 1893. In 1896, the company launched the signature Monogram Canvas and made the worldwide patents on it. Its graphic symbols, including quatrefoils and flowers (as well as the LV monogram), were based on the trend of using Japanese and Oriental designs in the late Victorian era. The patents later proved to be successful in stopping counterfeiting. In this same year, Georges traveled to the United States, where he toured various cities (such as New York, Philadelphia, and Chicago), selling Vuitton products during the visit. In 1901, the Louis Vuitton Company introduced the Steamer Bag, a smaller piece of luggage designed to be kept inside Vuitton luggage trunks.

By 1913, the Louis Vuitton Building opened on the Champs Elysees. 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. Afterwards, in 1930, the Keepall bag was introduced. During 1932, LV introduced the Noe bag. This bag was originally made for champagne vintners to transport bottles. Soon thereafter, the Louis Vuitton Speedy bag was introduced (both are still manufactured today). In 1936 Georges Vuitton died, and his son, Gaston Louis Vuitton, assumed control of the company.

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