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, jewelry, accessories, sunglasses and books. 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. 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.
Louis Vuitton (designer)
Louis Vuitton (4 August 1821 – 27 February 1892) was a French businessman. He was the founder of the Louis Vuitton brand of leather goods now owned by LVMH. Prior to this, he had been appointed as trunk-maker to Empress Eugénie de Montijo, wife of Napoleon III.
Vuitton was born on 4 August 1821 in Anchay in the Jura region in Eastern France. Descended from a long-established working-class family, Vuitton's ancestors were joiners, carpenters, farmers and milliners. His father, Xavier Vuitton, was a farmer, and his mother, Corinne Gaillard, was a milliner. Vuitton's mother died when he was only 10 years old, and his father soon followed.
Work and career
On the first day of tolerable weather in the spring of 1835, at the age of 13, Vuitton left home alone and on foot, bound for Paris. He traveled for more than two years, taking odd jobs to feed himself along the way and staying wherever he could find shelter, as he walked the 292-mile trek from his native Anchay to Paris. He arrived in 1837, at the age of 16. While there was widespread poverty in Paris the city was also being transformed by the Industrial revolution. Vuitton was taken on as an apprentice in the workshop of a successful box-maker and packer named Monsieur Marechal. In 19th-century Europe, box-making and packing was a highly respectable and urbane craft. A box-maker and packer custom-made all boxes to fit the goods they stored and personally loaded and unloaded the boxes. It took Vuitton only a few years to stake out a reputation amongst Paris's fashionable class as one of the city's premier practitioners of his new craft.
In 1854, Vuitton married 17-year-old Clemence-Emilie Parriaux. Shortly after he left Marechal's shop and opened his own box-making and packing workshop in Paris. Outside the shop a sign hung reading "Securely packs the most fragile objects. Specializing in packing fashions."
In 1858, four years after opening his own shop, Vuitton debuted an entirely new trunk. Instead of leather, it was made of a gray canvas that was lighter, more durable and more impervious to water and odors. However, the key selling point was that unlike all previous trunks, which were dome-shaped, Vuitton's trunks were rectangular—making them stackable and far more convenient for shipping via new means of transport like the railroad and steamship. Most commentators consider Vuitton's trunk the birth of modern luggage.
The trunks proved an immediate commercial success, and advances in transportation and the expansion of travel placed an increasing demand for Vuitton's trunks. In 1859, to fulfill the requests placed for his luggage, he expanded into a larger workshop in Asnieres, a village outside Paris. Business was booming, and Vuitton received personal orders not only from French royalty but also from Isma'il Pasha, the Khedive of Egypt.
After the re-establishment of the French Empire under Napoleon III, Vuitton was hired as personal box maker and packer to the Empress of France, Spanish countess Eugenie de Montijo. She charged him with "packing the most beautiful clothes in an exquisite way." De Montijo provided Vuitton with a gateway other elite and royal clients who provided him with work for the rest of his career.
He continued to work until his death at the age of 70 on 27 February 1892. After his death, his son Georges Vuitton took over control of the company.