Louis Vuitton – The man who revolutionized the art of travel

Despite the lockdown remaining in effect at the time of writing, Augustman is happy to take your imagination back in time and give you a glimpse into the inspiring life of Louis Vuitton and his extraordinary journey to become one of the trunk makers. most remarkable in the world. all time.

Born August 4, 1821 in Anchay in the French Jura, Louis Vuitton was only 13 when he left his hometown. Arrived in Paris on foot two years and approximately 470 km later in the midst of the industrial revolution in 1837, he apprenticed with the famous trunk maker and packer Romain Maréchal.

Louis Vuitton was born in 1821 in Anchay, a hamlet in the Jura region surrounded by mountains and forests. His family had been a carpenter, joiner and miller for five generations, while cultivating their land.

After years of perfecting his skills and building his reputation as one of the best craftsmen of his kind, Louis founded his own Maison in 1854 at 4 rue Neuve des Capucines, in the heart of the Place Vendôme district where all the major fashion houses were established. in the second half of the 19th century. Close to Charles Frederick Worth, the founder of Parisian Haute Couture, and having been appointed trunk maker and conditioner of Empress Eugenie, Louis Vuitton quickly understood the revolution that was taking place in transport and foresaw its repercussions on luggage.

Louis Vuitton
The first Louis Vuitton boutique, founded in 1854 at 4 rue Neuve des Capucines, in the heart of Place Vendôme

A visionary artist, he reinvents the packaging of fashion. At the end of the 1850s, he created Gris Trianon, a coated canvas, which made luggage waterproof and radically transformed the shape of the trunk by providing it with a flat cover. This canvas has continued to evolve, not only technically or aesthetically, but also to face its many counterfeiters.

In 1888, the Damier canvas, which for the first time took the name of Vuitton in its exterior signature, replaced the overly imitated striped canvas launched in 1872. A crucial step that led Georges Vuitton in 1896 to mix his father’s initials with those from his father. the famous geometric and floral motifs, creating the legendary Monogram canvas, which is still the Maison’s major icon.

Louis Vuitton was an intelligent inventor able to adapt materials to the function of the object. He filed the patent for each technological or typological innovation designed in the Asnières workshop from 1859.

In the 1890s, canvas was used with leather and even aluminum. At the end of the 19th century, the Maison created the first flexible bags, ancestors of the handbag and precursors of its Icons. By this time, Louis Vuitton had already achieved international fame, paving the way for the opening of the first boutique outside of France, in London, in 1885.

Having accumulated an important heritage of expertise and precious know-how for future generations, Louis Vuitton passed away in 1892, in a spirit of perpetual innovation, constantly at the service of travel.

Here are some of the trunks born from Louis Vuitton’s initial know-how:


Over the next few months, Louis 200 will evoke the life and legacy of the adventurer, entrepreneur, designer and innovator Louis Vuitton – through various media and with collaborators from around the world.

There will be a video game with built-in NFTs; display cases that present the iconic chest as a ship reinvented by 200 exceptional contributors; a large-scale triptych of Louis painted by Alex Katz; a fictionalized novel by French writer Caroline Bongrand on the life and intentions of Louis, published by Gallimard and available in French and English from October, as well as Looking for Louis, an unpublished documentary which traces the history of young pioneer. Available on streaming platforms, the documentary will highlight Louis Vuitton, from its humble beginnings to its enduring heritage. Louis 200 transcends the typical homage. It is the transmission of Louis’ journey as a collective experience in front of the public; a catalyst for endless inspiration.

Louis: The Game can be downloaded through the App Store and Google Play for Android systems. Meanwhile, 200 Louis, the celebratory display cases that will be unveiled throughout the store network, reflect how 200 talents from different backgrounds and disciplines individually interpreted Louis, a man whose name is synonymous with unmatched quality and craftsmanship. . These two initial activations, the novel and the documentary, will be followed by the others until the end of 2021.

“Thanks to Louis’ pioneering spirit, innovation defines the history of Louis Vuitton and keeps us moving forward towards the future. Through the disruptive and dynamic initiatives of Louis 200, we can appreciate how much Louis is a figure of his time – and of ours.

– Michael Burke, Chairman and CEO of Louis Vuitton

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