The Louis Vuitton Malle – An Icon Made Ideal By Its Versatility

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The Louis Vuitton Malle – An Icon Made Ideal By Its Versatility

Made to measure orders and insanely practical innovations – the Louis Vuitton trunk goes beyond expectations to reach the wildest dreams. Since 1854. 

The history of Louis Vuitton is incontestably linked to that of the rise of transport at the turn of the 20th century. It is because Louis Vuitton had an eye, and a good one at that. During his apprenticeship, the founder of the most luxurious house in the galaxy knew how to observe the movements of the time. In 1854 curved trunks are out – Louis Vuitton invents a flat trunk, practical and ideal for stacking in boats, emerging cars and trains. But not any! The voyages on the Orient Express were at their prime. 

The Maharajas and Kings of the Orient became unofficial ambassadors for the Vuitton house. But at the end of the 19th century, and the beginning of the 20th century were also times of great explorations – archaeologists and explorers make no wait to make special orders at the house. And the house undertakes them with brilliance!

In 1868, Louis Vuitton created the Lit trunk for the Exposition Universelle in Paris. A short time after, the explorer Pierre Savorgant de Brazza made it iconic. In 1872 it is the sultan of the Ottoman Empire Abdulhamid II that ordered a trunk for his undergarments. In 1886 Georges Vuitton revolutionises the comfort of travel by inventing an unlockable lock. The Vuitton trunks become well and truly treasure trunks. 

Paul Poiret is charmed and ordered trunks to be made both for his plays and for his personal use. Jeanne Lanvin does the same for her toiletries. The fashion world truly embraced the innovation but in 1911 the explorer Albert Kahn brings in the dimension of adventure. 

He orders at Louis Vuitton a travel trunk to transport his photography and video kit and personal belongings. Thanks to these trunks, he was able to bring to Europe one of the largest collections of autochromes in glass consecrated to the diversity of peoples and cultures…coming from five continents and more than sixty countries!

The traveling spirit of Ernest Hemingway found in the Louis Vuitton trunk an ideal companion for his dreams. Foreign correspondent settled in Paris in the middle of the 20s, he orders a version of the trunk for his library where he keeps not only books but also a typewriter. This trunk would follow him his entire life before disappearing. Found again in the basement of the Ritz, it contained the manuscript of A Moveable feast  – his posthumous masterpiece!

It is then not surprising to learn that painters such as Matisse and Picabio trusted Louis Vuitton for their painting trunks. Promise of eternal security – at once chic and practical! Louis Vuitton, who, in 2019 imagined a mini-trunk for Apple AirPods. To each century its desires and priorities. Louis Vuitton is there to create them.