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Brand Spotlight: Louis Vuitton
From box-maker to luxury powerhouse - A look at the storied legend behind fashion's most-famous monogram

THE MAN BEHIND THE MONOGRAM

Over 150 years ago, Louis Vuitton was born in 1821 in Anchay, France. A rural hamlet in eastern France, Anchay’s provincial way of life was not suited for young Vuitton. At only 13-years old, he ran away from home—taking two years, with odd jobs along the way for food and shelter, to walk the 250+ miles to Paris. Still a teenager, he was quickly taken on as an apprentice for a box-maker and packer, a well-respected craft catering to the upper class.

After working in Paris for over 15 years, Vuitton was hired by Empress of France Eugenie de Montijo, wife of Napoleon Bonaparte after he came to power, in 1852. Now with access and connections to an elite clientele, he opened his first store in 1854 in Paris. With years of innovative craftsmanship and a complete rebuilding of his company after his workshop and equipment were destroyed in the Franco-Prussian War, Louis Vuitton passed away at the age of 70 in 1892 leaving the company to his son Georges. Georges brought the infamy to life by creating the monogram pattern that became synonymous with his father’s ingenious designs.

STAR-STUDDED LEGACY

In the 21st century, Louis Vuitton has remained an always-on-trend brand with its the legendary collaborations that started taking place in 2001, thanks to then-creative-director Marc Jacobs.

  • The first was with Stephen Sprouse (revived in 2009 to celebrate Sprouse’s life) showcasing bold and bright graffiti text and prints against the classic monogram pattern.
  • Perhaps the most recognizable of the collaborations was with Takashi Murakami, creating the Multicolore Monogram (one of the brand’s most-wanted designs in its history) and the Cherry Blossom—redefining the traditionally monochrome patterns with vivid color.
  • For Louis Vuitton’s 160th anniversary in 2014, six of the most world-renowned designers in fashion reinterpreted the Monogram pattern, creating ultra-limited-edition pieces. The powerhouse collaborators were Karl Lagerfeld, Christian Louboutin, Cindy Sherman, Frank Gehry, Marc Newson and Rei Kawakubo.
  • In 2017, modern-art icon Jeff Koons’ collaboration with Louis Vuitton included overlaid prints of infamous paintings (like the Mona Lisa and Van Gogh’s “Wheat Field With Cypresses”). Works of art in their own right, Louis Vuitton’s silhouettes were the perfect canvas for Koons to create true masterpieces for you to carry on your arm.
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    MONOGRAM CANVAS DUFFLE

    What set Louis Vuitton’s pieces apart from the rest in the 1800s was his use of durable canvas and the ability to waterproof the inside of his trunks to protect clothing during travel. When son Georges added the LV-monogram logo in 1896, an iconic status symbol was born. As times changed, the company translated this icon into a duffle—a much more convenient and portable version of the trunk for the modern era.

    THE SPEEDY

    Perhaps its most-famous handbag, Louis Vuitton released the Speedy to the public in the 1930s after only custom-making them for high-profile clients (even years later, it was one of Audrey Hepburn’s favorites that she constantly carried). There are many inventive factors to the Speedy, one being its roomy yet perfectly proportioned shape for easy portability and another being its options: it comes in a variety of sizes and patterns so you can find the perfect style for your needs and your aesthetic. Notably, the best attributes of the Speedy though is its price as it is the brand’s most affordable handbag—giving you a true-luxury option that won’t be a blow to your wallet (and here at Bluefly, we have them for even less).

    THE NOE/PETITE NOE

    An ultra-on-trend silhouette today, the iconic bucket bag was first created by the storied French fashion house. Named the Noe, it was developed 85 years ago by Gaston-Louis Vuitton. And its inspiration may just be our favorite inspo-story yet: Vuitton came up with the shape after being asked by a champagne producer for a luxe bag that could securely transport five bottles of champagne at once. The outside drawstring, a feature you see on many bucket bags today, was added to tightly secure the bottles together to keep them from rattling around.

    THE NEVERFULL

    If you’re a person who tends to carry their life around with them in their handbag, the Neverfull is your dream come true. Named after its roomy interior, the style was engineered to fit as much as possible—so no matter how much you put in the bag it, quite literally, never seems full.

    At Bluefly, we work closely with trusted partners to continually collect and create one of the biggest, most-exclusive selections of vintage and pre-owned Louis Vuitton bags available—and for prices you won’t believe.