Louis Vuitton handbags have achieved an unparalleled status in fashion, captivating the hearts of style enthusiasts worldwide.

With a history of over a century, the brand has become synonymous with luxury, impeccable craftsmanship, and timeless elegance. From its humble beginnings as a trunk-maker in France to its iconic monogram canvas and visionary collaborations, the Louis Vuitton brand has left a permanent mark on the fashion industry.

In this article, we will explore the significance of Louis Vuitton handbags, tracing their journey through time and examining the brand’s influence on contemporary fashion. We will also represent a few pre-owned Louis Vuitton handbags available on our store which is located in United Kingdom.

Who was Louis Vuitton?

Humble beginnings

Born on August 4, 1821, into a working-class family in Anchay, France, Vuitton’s upbringing was marked by simplicity and hard work. His ancestors were carpenters, joiners, milliners, and farmers.

Louis’s mother died when he was just ten years old. His father soon remarried, but as legend has it, Vuitton’s new stepmother was not an easy woman. At fourteen, Louis ran away from home and set off to Paris – the big city almost 300 miles away.   He traveled for over two years, taking odd jobs to support himself and arriving in Paris in 1837.

Suddenly, the 16-year-old found himself in a rapidly changing world. The Industrial Revolution was in full swing, ushering in new modes of transportation and creating a demand for reliable and stylish luggage.

Then Vuitton had a stroke of luck— he became an apprentice to a successful box maker and packer named Monsieur Marechal. Under Marechal’s guidance, Vuitton learned the art of crafting durable containers and how to pack them properly.

Through hard work and dedication, Vuitton honed his skills, gaining valuable expertise in meeting the changing needs of travelers. Little did he know that this apprenticeship would be the start of something extraordinary—a journey leading to creating a brand that would captivate the world.

In 1854, armed with a vision for innovation, Vuitton finally established his own brand at 4 Rue Neuve-des-Capucines. Committed to excellence, he introduced luggage designs that combined functionality and elegance. Vuitton’s creations quickly garnered recognition and acclaim from elite travelers, and Louis Vuitton’s luggage became synonymous with luxury and sophistication.

The Birth of a Legacy

First, travel trunks.

Initially, the Louis Vuitton brand focused on crafting exceptional travel trunks that catered to the needs of discerning travelers.

What set Louis Vuitton trunks apart were their distinctive features and quality. Vuitton’s attention to detail ensured that every aspect of the chest was meticulously designed. From the sturdy construction to the intricate hardware, each element was thoughtfully considered to deliver functionality and beauty.

A flat-topped trunk.

One of the most significant contributions of Louis Vuitton to the luggage industry was his new designs. He introduced the world to the flat-topped trunk, a departure from the traditional curved-top designs of the time. This innovative design revolutionized how luggage was packed and transported, making it more efficient and practical.

Moreover, Louis Vuitton’s commitment to excellence extended to the selection of materials. He utilized high-quality, durable materials that ensured the trunks’ longevity and added luxury to travel.

Flat Topped Trunks – An Industry Revolution.
Flat topped trunks – an industry revolution.

The Iconic Monogram

The famous LV monogram canvas, synonymous with the Louis Vuitton brand, has a rich history that dates to the late 19th century.

Created as a response to counterfeiting issues, Louis Vuitton’s son, Georges Vuitton, designed the monogram in 1896. The interwoven initials ‘LV’ and delicate motifs represented a new era of branding and exclusivity. By 1897, the monogram was a registered design and became a brand in 1905.

The significance of the monogram extends beyond its aesthetic appeal. It became an emblem of the brand’s identity, signifying craftsmanship, luxury, and a commitment to quality. The monogram was a distinctive mark, differentiating genuine Louis Vuitton products from imitations.

Over the years, the monogram has evolved and adapted to changing tastes while maintaining its timeless appeal. Collaborations with renowned artists and designers injected fresh interpretations into the monogram, introducing new patterns and color variations.   

The coated version of the Monogram canvas was introduced in 1906 and was supposed to be stiffer than its predecessor. However, it wasn’t until 1956 that a canvas ideal for hard and soft items could be developed.   The Monogram Canvas became more supple, allowing it to be used for bags, purses, and wallets.

Despite these variations, the monogram’s essence remains intact, continuing to resonate with consumers worldwide.

Designing The Monogram Canvas
Designing the Monogram Canvas

The Expansion into Handbags

Louis Vuitton’s journey from luggage to handbag production marked a pivotal moment in the brand’s history. Recognizing the evolving needs and desires of fashionable individuals, the transition allowed Louis Vuitton to establish itself as a luxury fashion powerhouse further.

A new era.

Let’s summarize a little before going on.   In the previous section, we saw that the canvas material of Louis Vuitton handbags evolved, and with it, it became possible to develop all sorts of new bags. However, it did not happen overnight. It was a gradual progression.

When Louis Vuitton passed away in 1892 at 70, the company was still all about trunks.  

Louis’s son, George, took over as the head of the company. It was him that introduced the signature LV monogram canvas, and he led the company into a new era of handbag production.

It all started when Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel, a fashion icon at the time, commissioned a dome-shaped handbag for her personal use in 1925.   Eventually, in 1934, she allowed the mass production of the bag.

The bag was named the ‘Squire’ (and later renamed the ‘Alma’ in 1955.)   With the Squire’s success, Louis Vuitton expanded the product line to include the Speedy and the Keepall (1930) and the Noë (1932). The demand for handbags soared.

Audrey Hepburn With ‘The Speedy’
Audrey Hepburn with ‘The Speedy’

When George Vuitton died in 1936, his son Gaston-Louis Vuitton took over.   Now the Louis Vuitton brand started to incorporate leather into its products and revamped its canvas to be used across multiple handbag styles.

The early designs of Louis Vuitton handbags seamlessly blended practicality with elegance. Drawing inspiration from the brand’s expertise in crafting durable luggage, the bags featured sturdy structures, reinforced corners, and meticulous stitching.

Excellent craftmanship.

The brand’s unwavering commitment to craftsmanship set Louis Vuitton handbags apart. Skilled artisans meticulously crafted each piece, ensuring impeccable quality and attention to detail. From selecting the finest materials to the precision in construction, Louis Vuitton upheld its reputation for excellence.

The brand’s dedication to high-quality materials extended to the hardware and finishing touches. Solid brass hardware, gleaming gold or silver-tone accents, and meticulously crafted handles and closures added luxury and ensured longevity.

In 1987, Louis Vuitton was acquired by LVMH (Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton) in a significant merger deal. The acquisition was led by Bernard Arnault, the Chairman and CEO of LVMH, who recognized the tremendous potential of Louis Vuitton’s iconic brand and its global appeal.

Under LVMH’s ownership, Louis Vuitton underwent a significant global expansion and benefited from increased resources and distribution networks.

This strategic move solidified Louis Vuitton’s position as a leading luxury brand and contributed to its sustained popularity and global influence. The integration into the LVMH group allowed Louis Vuitton to diversify its product offerings while preserving its legacy of craftsmanship and exclusivity, ultimately enhancing its appeal to a broader range of consumers worldwide.

The 90s.

Yves Carcelle, appointed in 1990, was the first Louis Vuitton head that was not family. However, under his leadership, the brand did even better with state-of-the-art renditions of staple pieces and collaborations with other fashion icons.  

Detachable pouches became a thing at Louis Vuitton with the introduction of the Pochette Accessoires in 1992. While the brand’s bags in the 80s were known for their glamour, luxury, and innovative design, the Pochette Accessoires offered a contrasting style.

Originally released as part of a line of accessories to complement Louis Vuitton’s larger bags, the Pochette Accessoires gained significant popularity on its own. It swiftly became the must-have bag of the 90s and early 2000s, solidifying its status as an iconic fashion staple. With its detachable nature, the Pochette Accessoires offered versatility and practicality.

In 1997, Marc Jacobs became the creative director of Louis Vuitton.   He introduced the ‘Venis’ range of handbags and collaborated with Stephen Sprouse to design a neon graffiti range that became an instant hit. Louis Vuitton increasingly aligned the brand with popular designers and other artists after this success.

Collaboration with Artists and Designers

Louis Vuitton’s collaborations with renowned artists and designers have become integral to the brand’s DNA, infusing its handbag collections with innovation and a distinct artistic perspective.

One notable collaboration that left a lasting mark on Louis Vuitton’s handbag collections was with the legendary Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama. The partnership in 2012 brought Kusama’s iconic polka dot motifs and vibrant colors to Louis Vuitton’s designs, resulting in a whimsical and playful collection.

Another groundbreaking collaboration was with the streetwear pioneer and founder of Off-White, Virgil Abloh, in 2018. Known for his bold and disruptive approach to fashion, Abloh brought a fresh look to Louis Vuitton. His reinterpretation of classic handbag styles, such as the Keepall and the Neverfull, infused them with modernity and streetwear-inspired elements, and made them resonate with a new generation.

Louis Vuitton’s collaboration with the renowned contemporary artist Jeff Koons gave birth to the ‘Masters’ collection in 2017. This unique collection featured iconic artworks by Da Vinci, Van Gogh, and Monet, juxtaposed with the signature Louis Vuitton monogram.

By merging the worlds of luxury and artistic expression, these partnerships have allowed the brand to explore new creative territories and continually redefine the boundaries of style.

Conclusion – The Legacy Continues

The enduring appeal of Louis Vuitton handbags lies in their timeless style, meticulous craftsmanship, and the brand’s dedication to excellence.

Louis Vuitton’s influence extends beyond its handbag offerings. The company’s commitment to craftsmanship, high-quality materials, and artistic collaborations has set a standard of excellence that continues influencing and inspiring fashion houses worldwide.

As we reflect on the history of Louis Vuitton handbags, we recognize a legacy built on passion, artistry and a relentless pursuit of perfection. Its legacy remains relevant, captivating generations with its iconic designs and leaving a fixed imprint on the fashion world. By buying used Louis Vuitton handbag from our shop you can also be the part of history!

Louis Vuitton Building
Photo by Rasmus Kärkkäinen on Unsplash



Modern Louis Vuitton Shop front – Photo by Rasmus Kärkkäinen on Unsplash

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