Aficionados of Louis Vuitton celebrate the 200th birthday of the French malletier and the brand he founded.
Louis Vuitton was born in 1821 to a family of artisans and carpenters living in eastern France. Moving to Paris in his early teens, he apprenticed as a trunk-maker before making a reputation as one of the best craftsmen of his kind in the French capital. His appointment as a trunk maker to the Empress of France in the 1850s brought him a string of elite clients, who provided him with work for the rest of his life and helped build a legacy that endures today. To mark the bicentenary of his birth, we talked to three fans of Louis Vuitton about their personal association with the brand.
The first item I ever bought from a Louis Vuitton store was a monogram belt when I was in high school. I needed something to match my school uniform. Back then, I couldn’t afford a full look or trunk – but I could buy a belt. That was in 1999, I think. I was strongly influenced by Japanese fashion magazines, so when I went to Tokyo with my family, the first shop I went to was the Louis
Vuitton store. It was a wonderland. My alltime favourite piece was a limited edition bomber jacket, which I still wear. What I like about the brand, of course, is its history. There’s a reason why it’s survived and succeeded so well – it’s the enduring quality of its products. You know, I’ve had some trunks and cases for years and years. I’ve travelled a lot in my business and the trunks put up with some wear and tear, but when I send them to the Lee Garden store they’re fixed up for me as good as new, even though some of the pieces have
been in my family for decades.
My favourite part is the personalised engraving. Travel is a big part of my life, but when I haven’t been able to go, I’ve sent gifts to clients with my initials on them, so that people would remember me. Gifts are nothing but a token of appreciation – and LV does it so beautifully.
My first Louis Vuitton bag, a vintage Monceau in monogram canvas, was given to me by my godmother, as its original release coincided with my birth year, 1986. Two years ago, I had the interior restored and the strap replaced at the Lee Garden Store. What I love about a bag like this is how timeless, versatile and wearable it is. It fully encapsulates a multi-dimensional woman on the go – what Louis Vuitton believes a modern woman would need.
My family travels a lot – well, we did before the pandemic. I like cities and my husband Ben likes beaches, but we can both agree on our love of safaris. Louis Vuitton is the only brand that fully encompasses the spirit of travel: that image of a lone woman on a mountain of trunks in the middle of the Sahara is one I’ll remember forever. It may not be reality, but it sure leaves an impression and that’s what’s wonderful about the trunks, not the whisper of luxury but the allure of adventure.
I like everything about Louis Vuitton – I’ve been shopping there since I was young. Soon after we bought our house, we bought trunks as decorative pieces – and we have the clothes and accessories too. When I was younger I wore LV head-to-toe – I was more fashionable then – but after becoming a dad I’m into more comfortable clothes, simple and straightforward, though I do have many of its signature accessories, such as shoes, belts, wallets. And we keep on buying trunks!
The original attraction to Louis Vuitton was its history – it’s a storied brand whose quality has been impeccable for decades, well, centuries. Each time I go to an LV store in Paris or London is dangerous – I always end up buying many, many things. My favourite pieces? I have two in my collection: the Titanium Trunk and the Supreme Trunk. My wife and I have been married for 10 years but we’ve known each other much longer. Fortunately, we share similar tastes, so she’s OK with my Louis Vuitton obsession.
PHOTOGRAPHY SAMANTHA SIN ASSISTANT ELLA WONG
MAKE-UP AND GROOMING ELIZA CHAN LOCATION THE HARI HONG KONG
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