Louis Vuitton’s Iconic Retrospective

Designs by Marc Jacobs for Louis Vuitton

‘It’s important to understand the heritage, in order to be able to look forward’ Marc Jacobs said once. The 15 years retrospective exhibition which opens today on the 9th of March is a deep historical navigation on how Marc Jacobs, the creative director of the company, made Louis Vuitton the most well recognized symbol in the world, throughout the fashion history. The exhibition is a must see but before that, it is interesting to discover the first steps and the historical background of what we call today ‘Louis Vuitton’!

1854 – the iconic French fashion house ‘Louis Vuitton’ was founded by Louis Vuitton, on Rue Neuve des Capucines in Paris, France.

1858 – Vuitton introduced his flat-bottom trunks with trianon canvas, making them lightweight and airtight. Becoming successful and prestigious, many other luggagemakers began to imitate LV’s style and design. Is seems that counterfeit products were always in fashion.

1876 – Louis Vuitton changed the Trianon design to a beige and brown stripes design.

1885 – the company opened its first store in London on Oxford Street.

1888 – due to continuous imitations,  the Damier Canvas pattern was created by Louis Vuitton, bearing a logo that reads “L. Vuitton registered trademark”.

1892 – the Founder Louis Vuitton died, and the company’s management passed to his son.

1893 – Georges Vuitton began a campaign to build the company into a worldwide corporation, exhibiting the company’s products at the Chicago World’s Fair

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 and Oriental designs in the late Victorian era. The patents later proved to be successful in stopping counterfeiting.

1913 – the Louis Vuitton Building opened on the Champs-Elysees. It was the largest travel-goods store in the world at the time.

1914- 1930 Stores also opened in New York, Bombay, Washington, London, Alexandria, and Buenos Aires as World War I began.

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 This bag was originally made for champagne vintners to transport bottles.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).

1936 – Georges Vuitton died, and his son, Gaston-Louis Vuitton, assumed control of the company.

1959 – the company revamped its signature Monogram Canvas in 1959 to make it more supple, allowing it to be used for purses, bags, and wallets.

1966 – the Papillon was launched (a cylindrical bag that is still popular today).

1977 – the company’s annual revenue exceed 70 million Francs ($14.27 million US$).

1978 – first stores open in Japan, both in Tokyo and Osaka.

1983 – Louis Vuitton expanded its presence in Asia with the opening of a store in Taipei, Taiwan and Seoul, South Korea (1984).

1985 – the Epi leather line was introduced.

1987 – saw the creation of LVMH to form the luxury goods conglomerate. By 1989, Louis Vuitton came to operate 130 stores worldwide.

1990’s – 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.

1997, Louis Vuitton made Marc Jacobs the Art Directors

1998 –  Jacobs designed and introduced the company’s first prêt-à-porter line of clothing for men and women.

Marc Jacobs brought his avant garde aesthetics along his professionalism to establish the Louis Vuitton trademark as the most well recognized in the world. Apart from designing the whole range of products for the brand, Jacobs has collaborated with many popular artists for his Louis Vuitton collections, including Stephen Sprouse, Takashi Murakami and most recently American artist Richard Prince and rapper Kanye West. Below you can admire the results of these collaborations together with some cornerstone-products of Louis Vuitton from the previous centuries.

Louis Vuitton & Marc Jacobs will be on display at the Musée de la Mode et du Textile in Paris, from March 9 to September 16, 2012. 

The “Louis Vuitton–Marc Jacobs” exhibit

The “Louis Vuitton–Marc Jacobs” exhibit

The “Louis Vuitton–Marc Jacobs” exhibit

Bag in Cherries Monogram Canvas, S/S 2005 by Takashi Murakami

Louis Vuitton Pulp canvas Weekender Handbag

Keepall 50 in silver graffiti monogram canvas, S/S 2011 collection by Stephen Sprouse

Multicolored monogram for the S/S 2003 collection by Takashi Murakami

Polaroid sequence from the Spring/Summer 2008 collection depicting nurses inspired by Richard Prince

Doll and her wardrobe, c. 1865

Mail trunk in striped canvas, c.1885

Louis Vuitton trunk, c. 1869-1871

Louis Vuitton bed-trunk in Damier canvas, c. 1891

The Complete Wardrobe made for Sacha Guitry, c.

Monogram Bookcase Trunk, 45 x 35 x 75 cm, 1923

Details Secretary Trunk to hold 36 pairs of shoes, Monogram Canvas 58 x 38 x116 cm, 1925

The Tea Case made for the Maharaja of Baroda from Grained leather, 1926

Karl Lagerfeld’s commission of a trunk to hold 40 iPods and JBL speakers

Vanity case designed by Sharon Stone – All profits going to The Foundation for AIDS Research

The Vuitton family. Louis, George and Gaston Vuitton together with employees.

Marc Jacobs, creative director of Louis Vuitton

A Jacques Henri Lartigue fantasy, 1978


Photo Credits: Another Magazine, Vogue, The Inspiration Room, Luxury Insider, Zoot Magazine, La Promenade Magazine.

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