From Luggage to AIDS


While Louis Vuitton is known for their high end luxurious fashion products, you might be surprised to know the actual history of Louis Vuitton started way beneath the luxury brand that people know and love today.


While they still promote luggage items, they were not the same as the original Vuitton product that was started in 1854 in Paris on Rue Neuve des Capucines. The original product was an innovative trunk that could be stacked one on top of the other for long voyages out to sea.


These trunks introduced a flat bottom trunk that have a trianon canvas. This canvas made them extremely lightweight as well as airtight – something that was an incredibly important feature and benefit for people shipping goods by sea where the ocean water could ruin entire shipments of products if the shippers were not careful. Before this flat bottom trunk was introduced, people usually used rounded top trunks. These rounded top trunks were used as a way to produce water run off so the water would not get into various shipments as easily. Of course, a rounded top trunk also made it impossible for people to stack other trunks on top of them. Louis Vuitton’s flat bottom trunk revolutionized this process and allowed far more shipping trunks to be carried on every boat that utilized his flat bottom trunk design.


When Louis Vuitton created this trunk, it goes without saying that a huge swathe of luggage makers soon started copying his style with the flat bottom trunks.


Louis Vuitton fought against copy cats by changing the Trianon design to a beige and brown stripes design. However, more people kept imitating his look so Louis Vuitton changed the look again by introducing his creation the Damier Canvas pattern. This pattern bore the logo that read, “marque L. Vuitton deposee” which translated into “L. Vuitton registered trademark”.


Their first official store opened up in London on Oxford Street in 1885, and in 1892 Louis Vuitton died, passing the management of his lucrative luggage business into his son’s capable hands.


George Vuitton, Louis’s son, built a campaign that would lead the entire company into a worldwide corporation. It was in 1896 that the company would create worldwide patents on their newest product, the signature Monogram Canvas.  The graphic symbols included the quartrefoils and flowers, as well as the traditional LV monogram most people are familiar with, which were based on Japanese and Oriental designs from the late Victorian era. George Vuitton would also go on to create the Steamer Bag, which was a smaller bag designed to be put into their traditional luggage trunks. They also introduced the Noe bag, a bag originally made for shipping and transporting champagne bottles. In 1936, George Vuitton died, passing the ownership of the compnay to Gaston Louis Vuitton, his son.


Gaston Louis Vuitton would be tasked turning the international corporation into a global powerhouse of luggage and luxury apparel. A store that still exists to this very day as one of the leading brands of luxury and fashion in today’s global market place.

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