Tailor-made orders and wildly practical innovations, the Louis Vuitton trunk exceeded expectations making the wildest dreams come true since 1854.
The history of Louis Vuitton is undoubtedly linked to that of the boom in transport at the turn of the 20th century. The young Louis Vuitton had the eye, and the right one. During his apprenticeship, the founder of the most luxurious house in the galaxy observed the sudden changes of his time. In 1854, leaving curved trunks, Louis Vuitton innovated and invented a flat, practical and ideal trunk to stack in boats, fledgling cars and trains. But not just any. Orient Express travel then reached its peak.
The maharajahs and the kings of the East then became the unofficial ambassadors of the Vuitton house. The end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century were also and above all those of great explorations – archaeologists and adventurers were quick to place special orders at home. Who took them up brilliantly!
In 1868, Louis Vuitton created the Lit trunk for the Universal Exhibition in Paris. Shortly after, explorer Pierre Savorgant de Brazza made it iconic. In 1872, it was the sultan of the Ottoman Empire Abdulhamid II who ordered a trunk at home for his little underwear. In 1886, Georges Vuitton revolutionized travel comfort a little more by inventing the hook lock. Vuitton travel trunks became real treasure chests.
Paul Poiret fell under the spell, and had trunks made for both his pieces and his personal use. Jeanne Lanvin did the same for her toiletries. Fashion embraced innovation, but in 1911, explorer Albert Kahn revived his adventurous dimension.
He ordered travel trunks from Louis Vuitton to transport his photo, video and personal effects. Thanks to these trunks, he was able to create and bring back to Europe the largest collection of autochromes, on glass plates dedicated to the diversity of peoples and cultures. From five continents and more than 60 countries!
The traveling soul of Ernest Hemingway also found in the Louis Vuitton trunk the ideal companion to his dreams. A foreign correspondent living in Paris in the mid-1920s ordered an arranged version of his library trunks from the trunk maker. It housed not only books, but also a typewriter. This trunk followed him all his life, before disappearing. Found in the basement of the Ritz, it contained the lost manuscript of Paris est une fête – his posthumous masterpiece!
Little wonder then to know that painters of the caliber of Matisse and Picabia trusted Louis Vuitton to make picture boxes. A guarantee of eternal security – as chic as it is practical! A heritage that today finds a more mischievous echo in the work of Nicolas Ghesquière. He who, in 2019, imagines the mini-trunk for Apple AirPods. Each era had its desires and priorities. Louis Vuitton is only there to make them happen.