A famous brand, a famous monogram: Louis Vuitton
Louis Vuitton is one of the world’s leading international fashion houses; it sells its products through standalone boutiques, lease departments in high-end department stores, and through the e-commerce section of its website. Get to know more about this top luxury brand!
Louis Vuitton Malletier, commonly referred to as Louis Vuitton, or shortened to LV, is a French fashion house founded in 1854 by Louis Vuitton. The label’s LV monogram appears on most of its products, ranging from luxury trunks and leather goods to ready-to-wear, shoes, watches, jewelery, accessories, sunglasses and books.
For six consecutive years (2006–2012), Louis Vuitton was named the world’s most valuable luxury brand. 2012 valuation was US$25.9 billion. Year 2013 valuation of the brand was US$28.4 billion with a sales of US$9.4 billion. The company operates in 50 countries with more than 460 stores worldwide.
The Louis Vuitton label was founded by Vuitton in 1854 on Rue Neuve des Capucines in Paris, France. Louis Vuitton had observed that the HJ Cave Osilite trunk could be easily stacked and in 1858, Vuitton introduced his flat-bottom trunks with trianon canvas, making them lightweight and airtight. Before the introduction of Vuitton’s trunks, rounded-top trunks were used, generally to promote water run off, and thus could not be stacked. It was Vuitton’s gray Trianon canvas flat trunk that allowed the ability to stack with ease for voyages. Many other luggagemakers imitated LV’s style and design.
In 1857, the company participated in the universal exhibition in Paris. To protect against the duplication of his look, Vuitton changed the Trianon design to a beige and brown stripes design in 1876. By 1885, the company opened its first store in London on Oxford Street. Soon thereafter, due to the continuing imitation of his look, in 1888, Vuitton created the Damier Canvas pattern, which bore a logo that reads “marque L. Vuitton déposée“, which translates into “L. Vuitton registered trademark”. In 1892, Louis Vuitton died, and the company’s management passed to his son.
After the death of his father, Georges Vuitton began a campaign to build the company into a worldwide corporation, exhibiting the company’s products at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893. In 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. In this same year, Georges traveled to the United States, where he toured cities such as New York, Philadelphia, and Chicago, selling Vuitton products. In 1901, the Louis Vuitton Company introduced the Steamer Bag, a smaller piece of luggage designed to be kept inside Vuitton luggage trunks.
By 1913, the Louis Vuitton Building opened on the Champs-Elysees. It was the largest travel-goods store in the world at the time. Stores also opened in New York, Bombay, Washington, London, Alexandria, and Buenos Airesas World War I began. Afterwards, in 1930, the Keepall bag was introduced. During 1932, LV introduced the Noé bag. This bag was originally made for champagne vintners to transport bottles. Soon thereafter, the Speedy bag was introduced (both are still manufactured today). In 1936 Georges Vuitton died, and his son, Gaston-Louis Vuitton, assumed control of the company.
The Louis Vuitton brand and the LV monogram are among the world’s most valuable brands. According to a Millward Brown 2010 study, Louis Vuitton is the world’s 29th most valuable brand, right after Gillette and before Wells Fargo. The brand itself is estimated to be worth over US$19 billion. For six consecutive years, Louis Vuitton was number one of the ten most powerful brands list published by the Millward Brown Optimor’s 2011 BrandZ study with value of $24.3 billion. It was more than double the value of the second ranking brand.
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