Louis Vuitton is easily one of the most recognized luxury brands in the world, known for their trademark monogrammed handbags and luggage. Since its founding in 1854, the brand has skyrocketed to success and in 2017, it was estimated to be worth an astonishing $29 billion dollars. So, you may ask, what makes Louis Vuitton so special? Aside from a long list of legendary clientele like Coco Chanel, Audrey Hepburn, Jackie Kennedy, and plenty of others, the brand’s products are unrivaled in style and quality. Want to know more about this renowned luxury brand? Here are 5 fascinating things you should know about the history of Louis Vuitton, the origins of its signature monogram, and the old-world craftsmanship that is paramount to the brand’s image.

Humble Origins

Louis Vuitton left his home when he was only 13 years old, embarking on a two-year journey to Paris where he became a box making and packing apprentice. He worked alongside the most renowned malletier in France, learning the trade from the best. After his apprenticeship, Vuitton ventured out to set up shop on his own. The first travel trunk that Vuitton designed was named the Trianon Trunk. It was the first of its kind to have a flat top and bottom which made them easy to stack and transport. These travel trunks were revolutionary, and their popularity spurred such demand that Vuitton had to expand to a larger workshop just outside of Paris. One of Vuitton’s most loyal clients was Empress Eugenie of France, wife to Napoleon III. She shared her affinity for Louis Vuitton with everyone she met, spreading the word among the Parisian elite. Word eventually made its way throughout Europe, and Vuitton’s client list grew to include more famous faces like J.P. Morgan and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.

The Famous Monogram

image of vintage louis vuitton luggage

In response to the popularity of Louis Vuitton’s travel trunks, other companies began producing cheap replicas. This prompted Vuitton to create the beloved two-toned, checkered design that is still used today. After Vuitton passed away, his son Georges further sought to solve this problem by introducing an interlocking “L” and “V” pattern that would later become the brand’s hallmark. It was Georges who also patented the tumbler lock with a numbered key, deemed to be theft proof. He felt so confident in the lock’s effectiveness, he went as far as to publicly challenge Harry Houdini to escape from a Louis Vuitton trunk. Georges worked to develop the brand overseas, arranging an exhibition at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893. His attempts were successful, and shortly after Louis Vuitton products were sold at one of America’s first department stores, Wanamakers.

From Travel Bags to Handbags

image of louis vuitton handbag

After bringing his business stateside, Georges Vuitton expanded his collections to include travel bags of different shapes and sizes. Many of the brand’s signature handbags were originally created as custom designs for famous clientele. A custom order from Coco Chanel resulted in the creation of the beloved Alma bag, while the Speedy bag was born from a request made by Audrey Hepburn. Vuitton is also credited with designing the first bucket bag, a uniquely shaped sack designed for carrying several bottles of champagne at once.

The Rise of a Luxury Fashion Empire

In the late 1980’s, the brand merged with Moët et Chandon and Hennessy to form a luxury goods conglomerate known as LVMH. They soon recruited a young rising designer, Marc Jacobs, to be their new artistic director. During his tenure, Jacobs helped breathe new life into the company, creating the brand’s first ready-to-wear clothing lines for both men and women. A series of fresh, contemporary collections and groundbreaking collaborations set a new course for the brand that would lead to even greater success.

It’s All in the Bag

image of louis vuitton handbag

Though the brand now carries everything from jewelry to fragrances and even home décor, they’ll always be best known for their luggage and handbags. There are few brands that can compete with the exceptional quality and style of an authentic Louis Vuitton handbag. Each bag is meticulously crafted by hand, a process that can take up to a week. They’re designed to be waterproof, and are even rumored to be fireproof, though we don’t recommend testing this theory at home. You’ll never see a Louis Vuitton handbag on sale, as they refuse to mark down their products. In fact, leftover handbags that have not sold are said to be shipped back to the Louis Vuitton factory and destroyed in order to maintain the brand’s image of exclusivity.

Discover Amazing Deals on All Things Designer at Leo’s

If you’ve been searching high and low for the perfect Louis Vuitton handbag, you have to check out Leo Hamel Boutique & Consignment Shop. We carry a selection of like-new Louis Vuitton handbags in all shapes, sizes, and price ranges. Searching for something from a specific designer? Our store boasts an impressive inventory of items from brands like Prada, Gucci, Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, and plenty of others. Discover designer handbags, shoes, clothing, and so much more—all at unbeatable prices. Don’t spend a fortune trying to look like a million bucks; come to Leo Hamel Boutique instead!