Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Fashion Icons Vol. 2... Louis Vuitton Malletier

Louis Vuitton (born, August 4, 1821; died, February 27, 1892), future founder of his eponymous company, was born in Jura, France (now part of the commune of Lavans-sur-Valouse). In 1835, he moved to Paris. The trip from his hometown to Paris was over 400 kilometers (249 mi), and he travelled 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 field, Napoleon III of France appointed Vuitton as Layetier to his wife, Empress Eugénie de Montijo. Through his experience with the French aristocracy, he developed expert knowledge of what made a good travelling case. It was then that he began to design his own luggage, setting the foundations for LV Co.


Louis Vuitton: Malletier à Paris was founded by Monsieur Vuitton in 1853 on Rue Neuve des Capucines in Paris. In 1858, Monsieur Vuitton introduced his flat-bottom trunks with trianon canvas (they were 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 for ease with 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 déposée," 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.

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