Ever wondered about the origins of your favorite arm candy?
Of all the world’s luxury brands, Louis Vuitton might just have one of the richest histories, a legendary tale of rags to riches. The company was founded by Louis Vuitton in 1854 after he left his home in Anchay, France, age 14 and travelled on foot to Paris – a journey that took him two years. He became the go-to for the elite and royal classes, the foundation for one of the most covetable labels in existence.
Later his grandson, Gaston Louis Vuitton, would shape the company into the brand we know and love today. Much later, Marc Jacobs would push the previously rigid boundaries and evolve LV into a high fashion brand incorporating RTW* in 1997. Each and every bag has its own unique story of conception, most starting as functional rather than decorative pieces.
Take the fabulous Petite Malle which literally means ‘little trunk’. This is one of the most beautiful stories from the LV archive; originally made in 1910 and gifted to Louis Vuitton’s best and most loyal customers. The flower trunk was a tiny wooden trunk with a hand drawn picture of the Paris store inside. It came equipped with little zinc containers designed to hold flowers. Decades later, Nicolas Ghesquière drew inspiration from the flower trunk and designed the Petite Malle.
The artisans at the Asnieres Sur Seine workshop in France still make Flower Trunks to order today. Ghesquiere also included a unique detail to some of the Petite Malle’s: a series of 3 crosses or ‘kisses’ placed on one corner. The origin of those also comes from the LV archives. These three markings were the signature personalization of the French financier and photographer, Albert Kahn. Not wanting to put his initials or name on his trunks, he chose these symbols so he could recognize his belongings easily. The meaning of these symbols remain a secret to this day. So whenever you carry your Petite Malle, remember you are literally carrying a little piece of history!
Another of Louis Vuitton’s icons is the Noé bag (or as it’s commonly referred to as the ‘bucket bag’). This bag also has a most interesting history. It started its life in 1932 when it was made to order by the house as a champagne holder for the upper class to carry their bottles of bubbly to fabulously extravagant picnics. It was designed to hold 5 bottles of champagne – 4 in each corner and one upside down in the center – pulled securely together with the leather drawstring.
The Noé was also the first Vuitton bag ever to be monogrammed. The monogram was ironically designed by Georges Vuitton to ward off counterfitters. The intricate Japanese floral motifs, so familiar to us today, were inspired by decorative antique Japanese writing chests collected by the Vuitton family.
Today, the Louis Vuitton Noé also comes in a petite size. Who could have predicted then that the Noé or the monogram would become so iconic and signal the start of one of the most enduring and recognizable brand monograms to this day?
We’ve curated these collections just for you – shop a little bit of the LV Legend…
SHOP ALL: Louis Vuitton Handbags on Tradesy