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Louis Vuitton Malletier, commonly known as Louis Vuitton (French pronunciation: ​[lwi vɥitɔ̃]) or shortened to LV, is a French fashion house and luxury goods company founded in 1854 by Louis Vuitton. The label's LV monogram appears on most of its products, ranging from luxury trunks and leather goods to ready-to-wear, shoes, watches, jewelry, accessories, sunglasses and books. Louis Vuitton is one of the world's leading international fashion houses; it sells its products through standalone boutiques, lease departments in high-end department stores, and through the e-commerce section of its website.

For six consecutive years (2006–2012), Louis Vuitton was named the world's most valuable luxury brand. Its 2012 valuation was US$25.9 billion. The 2013 valuation of the brand was US$28.4 billion with revenue of US$9.4 billion. The company operates in 50 countries with more than 460 stores worldwide.


History[edit][]

Founding to World War II[edit][]

See also: Louis Vuitton (designer)

The Louis Vuitton label was founded by Vuitton in 1854 on Rue Neuve des Capucines in Paris, France. Louis Vuitton started at $10,567 as a sales price. Louis Vuitton had observed that the HJ Cave Osilite trunk could be easily stacked. In 1858, Vuitton introduced his flat-topped trunks with trianon canvas, making them lightweight and airtight. Before the introduction of Vuitton's trunks, rounded-top trunks were used, generally to promote water runoff, and thus could not be stacked. It was Vuitton's gray Trianon canvas flat trunk that allowed the ability to stack them on top of another with ease for voyages. Many other luggage makers later imitated Vuitton's style and design.

The company participated in the 1867 Universal Exhibition in Paris. In 1871, Ōyama Iwao became the first recorded Japanese customer, ordering a set of luggage while in Paris as a military observer during the Franco-Prussian War. To protect against the duplication of his look, Vuitton changed the Trianon design to a beige and brown stripes design in 1876. By 1885, the company opened its first store in London on Oxford Street. Soon thereafter, due to the continuing imitation of his look, in 1888, Vuitton created the Damier Canvas pattern, which bore a logo that reads "marque L. Vuitton déposée", which translates into "L. Vuitton registered trademark". In 1892, Louis Vuitton died, and the company's management passed to his son. Ad for Louis Vuitton luggage, 1898 After the death of his father, Georges Vuitton began a campaign to build the company into a worldwide corporation, exhibiting the company's products at the Chicago World's Fair in 1893. In 1896, the company launched the signature Monogram Canvas and made the worldwide patents on it. Its graphic symbols, including quatrefoils and flowers (as well as the LV monogram), were based on the trend of using Japanese Mon designs in the late Victorian era. The patents later proved to be successful in stopping counterfeiting. In this same year, Georges travelled to the United States, where he toured cities such as New York, Philadelphia, and Chicago, selling Vuitton products. In 1901, the Louis Vuitton Company introduced the Steamer Bag, a smaller piece of luggage designed to be kept inside Vuitton luggage trunks.

By 1913, the Louis Vuitton Building opened on the Champs-Elysees. It was the largest travel-goods store in the world at the time. Stores also opened in New York, Bombay, Washington, London, Alexandria, and Buenos Aires as World War I began. Afterwards, in 1930, the Keepall bag was introduced. During 1932, LV introduced the Noé bag. This bag was originally made for champagne vintners to transport bottles. Soon thereafter, the Louis Vuitton Speedy bag was introduced (both are still manufactured today). In 1936 Georges Vuitton died, and his son, Gaston-Louis Vuitton, assumed control of the company.

Collaboration[]

During World War II, Louis Vuitton collaborated with the Nazis during the German occupation of France. The French book Louis Vuitton, A French Saga, authored by French journalist Stephanie Bonvicini and published by Paris-based Editions Fayard tells how members of the Vuitton family actively aided the puppet government led by Marshal Philippe Pétain and increased their wealth from their business affairs with the Germans. The family set up a factory dedicated to producing artefacts glorifying Pétain, including more than 2,500 busts.

Caroline Babulle, a spokeswoman for the publisher, Fayard, said: "They have not contested anything in the book, but they are trying to bury it by pretending it doesn't exist." Responding to the book's release in 2004, a spokesman for LVMH said: "This is ancient history. The book covers a period when it was family-run and long before it became part of LVMH. We are diverse, tolerant and all the things a modern company should be." An LVMH spokesman told the satirical magazine Le Canard Enchaîné: "We don't deny the facts, but regrettably the author has exaggerated the Vichy episode. We haven't put any pressure on anyone. If the journalists want to censor themselves, then that suits us fine." That publication was the only French periodical to mention the book, LVMH is the country's biggest advertiser in the press.

1945 through 2000[]

During this period, Louis Vuitton began to incorporate leather into most of its products, which ranged from small purses and wallets to larger pieces of luggage. In order to broaden its line, the company revamped its signature Monogram Canvas in 1959 to make it more supple, allowing it to be used for purses, bags, and wallets. It is believed that in the 1920s, counterfeiting returned as a greater issue to continue on into the 21st century. In 1966, the Papillon was launched (a cylindrical bag that is still popular today). By 1977 with annual revenue up to 70 million Francs (US$14.27 million). A year later, the label opened its first stores in Japan: in Tokyo and Osaka. In 1983, the company joined with America's Cup to form the Louis Vuitton Cup, a preliminary competition (known as an eliminatory regatta) for the yacht race. Louis Vuitton later expanded its presence in Asia with the opening of a store in Taipei, Taiwan in 1983 and Seoul, South Korea in 1984. In the following year, 1985, the Epi leather line was introduced.

1987 saw the creation of LVMH. Moët et Chandon and Hennessy, leading manufacturers of champagne and cognac, merged respectively with Louis Vuitton to form the luxury goods conglomerate. Profits for 1988 were reported to have been up by 49% more than in 1987. By 1989, Louis Vuitton came to operate 130 stores worldwide. Entering the 1990s, Yves Carcelle was named president of LV, and in 1992, his brand opened its first Chinese location at the Palace Hotel in Beijing. Further products became introduced such as the Taiga leather line in 1993, and the literature collection of Voyager Avec... in 1994. In 1996, the celebration of the Centennial of the Monogram Canvas was held in seven cities worldwide.

In 1997, Louis Vuitton made Marc Jacobs its Artistic Director. In March of the following year, he designed and introduced the company's first "prêt-à-porter" line of clothing for men and women. Also in this year products introduced included the Monogram Vernis line, the LV scrapbooks, and the Louis Vuitton City Guide.

The last events in the 20th century were the release of the mini monogram line in 1999, the opening of the first store in Africa in Marrakech, Morocco, in 2000, and finally, the auction at the International Film Festival in Venice, Italy, where the vanity case "amfAR" designed by Sharon Stone was sold, with the proceeds going to the Foundation for AIDS Research (also in 2000).

2001 to 2011[]

By 2001, Stephen Sprouse, in collaboration with Marc Jacobs, designed a limited-edition line of Vuitton bags that featured graffiti written over the monogram pattern. The graffiti read Louis Vuitton and, on certain bags, the name of the bag (such as Keepall and Speedy). Certain pieces, which featured the graffiti without the Monogram Canvas background, were only available on Louis Vuitton's V.I.P. customer list. Jacobs also created the charm bracelet, the first-ever piece of jewellery from LV, within the same year.

In 2002, the Tambour watch collection was introduced. During this year, the LV building in Tokyo's Ginza district was opened, and the brand collaborated with Bob Wilson for its Christmas windows scenography. In 2003, Takashi Murakami, in collaboration with Marc Jacobs, masterminded the new Monogram Multicolore canvas range of handbags and accessories. This range included the monograms of the standard Monogram Canvas but in 33 different colors on either a white or black background. (The classic canvas features gold monograms on a brown background.) Murakami also created the Cherry Blossom pattern, in which smiling cartoon faces in the middle of pink and yellow flowers were sporadically placed atop the Monogram Canvas. This pattern appeared on a limited number of pieces. The production of this limited-edition run was discontinued in June 2003. Within 2003, the stores in Moscow, Russia and in New Delhi, India were opened, the Utah and Suhali leather lines were released, and the 20th anniversary of the LV Cup was held. Louis Vuitton situated on the Champs-Elysées The store in Yekaterinburg, Russia Louis Vuitton on Briggate, Leeds In 2004, Louis Vuitton celebrated its 150th anniversary. The brand also inaugurated stores in New York City (on Fifth Avenue), São Paulo, Mexico City, Cancun and Johannesburg. It also opened its first global store in Shanghai. By 2005, Louis Vuitton reopened its Champs-Élysées store in Paris designed by the American Architect Eric Carlson and released the Speedy watch collection. In 2006, LV held the inauguration of the Espace Louis Vuitton on its 7th floor. In 2008, Louis Vuitton released the Damier Graphite canvas. The canvas features the classic Damier pattern but in black and grey, giving it a masculine look and urban feel. Also in 2008, Pharrell Williams co-designed a series of jewellery ("Blason") and glasses for Louis Vuitton.

In 2010, Louis Vuitton opened what is described as their most luxurious store in London.

In early 2011, Louis Vuitton hired Kim Jones as its "Men Ready-to-Wear Studio and Style Director". He became the lead designer of menswear while working under the company-wide artistic directorship of Marc Jacobs.

On 17 September 2011, the company opened its Louis Vuitton Island Maison at Marina Bay Sands, Singapore.

2012 to present[]

As of September 2013, the company hired Darren Spaziani to lead its accessory collection.

On 4 November 2013, the company confirmed that Nicolas Ghesquière had been hired to replace Marc Jacobs as artistic director of women's collections. Ghesquière's first line for the company was shown in Paris in March 2014.

On 7 April 2014, Edouard Schneider became the head of press and public relations at Louis Vuitton under Frédéric Winckler, who is Vuitton's communications and events director.

On 26 March 2018, Virgil Abloh was named artistic director of men's wear, replacing Kim Jones who had departed for Dior—he is the label's first African-American artistic director and one of few black designers of a major European fashion house. His debut show was held at the 2018 Paris Men's Fashion Week and staged in the historical Palais-Royal gardens' courtyard. LV was in the first place in the BrandZ’s top 10 most valuable luxury brands in 2019, with a worth of $47.2 billion. On 15 January 2020, the company acquired the Sewelô diamond, which is the second-largest rough diamond ever found in history, from Lucara Diamond who mined it from their mine in Botswana.

Brand[]

The Louis Vuitton brand and the LV monogram are among the world's most valuable brands. According to a Millward Brown 2010 study, Louis Vuitton was then the world's 19th most valuable brand, and was estimated to be worth over US$19 billion. For six consecutive years, Louis Vuitton was number one of the 10 most powerful brands list published by the Millward Brown Optimor's 2011 BrandZ study with value of $24.3 billion. It was more than double the value of the second ranking brand. A Louis Vuitton "Sarah Wallet" Louis Vuitton is one of the most counterfeited brands in the fashion world due to its image as a status symbol. Ironically, the signature Monogram Canvas was created to prevent counterfeiting. In 2004, Louis Vuitton fakes accounted for 18% of counterfeit accessories seized in the European Union.

The company actively seeks to eradicate counterfeiting, and employs a team of lawyers and special investigation agencies to pursue offenders through the courts worldwide. The company allocates approximately half of its communications budget to counteract counterfeiting of its goods. LVMH, Vuitton's parent company, has described "Some 60 people at various levels of responsibility working full-time on anti-counterfeiting in collaboration with a wide network of outside investigators and a team of lawyers." The company closely controls the distribution of its products. Until the 1980s, Vuitton products were widely sold in department stores, such as Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue. Today, Vuitton products are primarily available at company-owned Louis Vuitton boutiques, with a small number of exceptions noted in upscale shopping districts or inside luxury department stores. Company boutiques within department stores operate independently, and are operated by company managers and employees. LV has an official online store, through its main website.

In 2006, the company filed a lawsuit against Colorado-based Manifest Information Services Ltd. (aka Manifest Hostmaster and Manifest.com), through WIPO, in order to compel Manifest transfer the domain name LV.com to Louis Vuitton; the legal action failed and the domain was subsequently acquired by Liverpool Victoria (LV=), England's largest fraternal insurance company.

Several high-profile rap music artists have mentioned the company in song lyrics, most notably: Bohemia, Kanye West, Juicy J, and Wiz Khalifa.

Products[]

Since the 19th century, Louis Vuitton trunks have been made by hand. Contemporary Fashion gives a preview of the creation of the LV trunks:

Iconic bags of Louis Vuitton include the Speedy bag and Neverfull bags. Each season Louis Vuitton produces rare, limited edition bags that are generally only available by reservation through larger Louis Vuitton stores.

Many of the company's products utilize the brown Damier and Monogram Canvas materials, both of which were first used in the late 19th century. All of the company's products exhibit the eponymous LV initials. The company markets its product through its own stores located throughout the world, which allows it to control product quality and pricing. It also allows LV to prevent counterfeit products entering its distribution channels. In addition, the company distributes its products through the company's own website, LouisVuitton.com.

Advertising campaigns[]

The Louis Vuitton company cultivates a celebrity following and has featured famous models, musicians and actors, such as Jennifer Lopez, Keith Richards, Madonna, Sean Connery, Matthias Schoenaerts, Angelina Jolie, Gisele Bündchen, Mikhail Gorbachev, Oh Sehun, JO1 and David Bowie in its marketing campaigns.

The company commonly uses print ads in magazines and billboards in cosmopolitan cities. Louis Vuitton Posters by Razzia were popular in the 1980s. It previously relied on selected press for its advertising campaigns (frequently involving prestigious stars like Steffi Graf, Andre Agassi and Catherine Deneuve) shot by Annie Leibovitz. However, Antoine Arnault, director of the communication department, has recently decided to enter the world of television and cinema: The commercial (90 seconds) is exploring the theme "Where will life take you?" and is translated into 13 different languages. This is the first Vuitton commercial ad ever and was directed by renowned French ad director Bruno Aveillan.

In 2002, president and CEO of LVMH Watches Daniel Lalonde (later, global CEO for LVMH brands Moët and Dom Pérignon) recruited celebrities, such as Maria Sharapova, Brad Pitt, Tiger Woods, and Uma Thurman, for advertising campaigns photographed by Patrick Demarchelier. Ads featuring Woods reportedly led to a 30% boost in sales, resulting in TAG Heuer being rated as the No. 2 luxury watch brand in America by 2005.

Special collaborations[]

Louis Vuitton has had many collaborations with prominent artists and designers.

  • Takashi Murakami created special edition collections, such as the Monogramouflage Collection, which debuted in 2008, and a previous collection, released in 2002, which featured some of his artwork. The creations were "painted" over the traditional monogram canvas, which brought a radical new twist to the timeless design.
  • Marc Jacobs also commemorated a previous collaboration, designed by Stephen Sprouse. This collection, originally released in 2001, featured bold print that looked like graffiti, over the traditional canvas. The recreation of the collab used the same idea, but gave it a new twist using bold colors, like hot pink, neon green, and orange, that also glow in the dark. This recreated version of the graffiti collection was finally released in 2009 to much fanfare.
  • Louis Vuitton also collaborated with Kanye West in 2009, designing his own limited run of shoes.
  • In July 2012, Jacobs teamed up with Yayoi Kusama to create the "Infinitely Kusama" Collection, which features bold colors of dots over the vernis leather or the monogram canvas. These pieces come in black with white dots, red with white dots, and yellow with black dots.
  • Louis Vuitton collaborated in their Spring–Summer 2016 collection advertising campaign with the highly popular Japanese video game franchise Final Fantasy and their Games Main Heroin called Lighting from Final Fantasy 13.
  • In 2017 Louis Vuitton collaborated with American streetwear brand Supreme (brand), releasing products in various pop-up stores in major cities around the world. Items feature the Louis Vuitton monogram canvas mixed with the Supreme box-logo design.
  • Also in 2017, Louis Vuitton collaborated with artist Jeff Koons for two collections in an effort to "further [explore] the intersection of fashion and art."
  • Nicolas Ghesquiere collaborated with Vogue creative director Grace Coddington on a cat-themed "Catogram" collection in 2018.
  • In June 2019, the brand collaborated with six contemporary artists Sam Falls, Urs Fischer, Nicholas Hlobo, Alex Israel, Tschabalala Self and Jonas Wood on "Artycapucines." Each artist designed their version of the Capucine bag which were sold in numbered, limited quantities.
  • In July 2019, Louis Vuitton opened a temporary exhibition titled "Louis Vuitton X" in Los Angeles, showcasing items from its various collaborations over the years.
  • In October 2019, Louis Vuitton partnered with Riot Games to create digital assets for new skin line named "True Damage", where you can clearly see the LV logo on Qiyana in League of Legends, along with a specialty trophy case for the 2019 League of Legends World Championship.
  • In June 2020, the brand collaborated with Japanese designer Nigo x Virgil Abloh capsule collection.
  • In October 2020, Nicolas Ghesquière reportedly revamped the La Samaritaine department store for the Women’s Spring-Summer 2021 fashion show by providing a virtual runway with 360-degree views and social-distanced seating for guests.

see also[]

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