No need to introduce the fashion house Louis Vuitton as the brownish Monogram Canvas embedded with the LV monogram, quatrefoils and flowers is the most recognised pattern in the world!

The first Louis Vuitton shop was founded in 1854 on Rue Neuve des Capucines, a stone throw from the Opera House.

Advertisement for Louis Vuitton July 1898

At the time Louis Vuitton was not selling his iconic, trendy and very expensive ladies bags but flat-bottom trunks made with the grey Trianon Canvas that had the peculiarity of being lightweight and airtight and obviously easy to stack to the delight of the travellers of the time.

Louis Vuitton’s flat-bottom trunk was an instant hit as until then people travelled with trunks that were not only heavy but had a rounded top to allow for the water to run off…but made them impossible to stack!

Louis Vuitton trunk 1923

In 1867 Louis Vuitton participated in the Universal Exhibition in Paris where his trunks made such an impression that in 1876 he decided to change the original grey colour into a brown and beige stripes design to limit imitations.

Many luggage makers kept imitating Louis Vuitton though but none ever really caught up with his productions; however, in 1888 Louis Vuitton created the Damier Canvas pattern which he licensed as a “L. Vuitton registered trademark”.

Louis Vuitton’s son took over the business in 1892 and expanded it overseas.

Louis Vuitton 1923

In 1896 he created the much-celebrated Monogram Canvas inspired by Japanese and Chinese designs that were very trendy in the late 19th century, and licensed it worldwide.

In 1903 he opened the Louis Vuitton Building at No 101 Champs-Elysées, the largest shop of its style in the world at the time.

Many prestigious shops were opened around the world in the decades to follow, turning Louis Vuitton into a real empire.

Louis Vuitton Building at No101 Champs-Elysees

Many new models were invented through the years and in 1959 LV amended the quality of its successful Monogram Canvas to make it more supple in order to produce smaller items such as wallets, purses, keys holders etc.

In 1987 Moet et Chandon and Hennessy champagnes merged with Louis Vuitton to form LVMH, the well-known luxury goods conglomerate and by 1989 Louis Vuitton had 130 shops worldwide.

Many new designs have been released since; they tend to change at each season, difficult to keep up with them.

Source Photos Wikiemdia Commons Public Domain: #1 Advertisement Louis Vuitton 1898 Attribution #2 Malle Louis Vuitton 1923 Attribution #3 Louis Vuitton 1923 Attribution


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About the author

I am French Parisienne and lived in Asia for nearly 20 years before settling in the UK 3 years ago. I have an interest in everything and every culture and am an avid reader. French linguistics is my "specialty" but I have a passion for history and try to mingle them. Humour is very important to me, I love writing, talking, laughing, exchanging ideas, learning more from others... the world is full of fascinating people! I never leave my home without my camera, there is always something unusual, beautiful or strange to capture. I like to pay attention to details, to the world of the "small", a parallel world if you take the time to look for it...And above all, I love my country of birth, France.