Louis Vuitton (designer)
Louis Vuitton, founder of the House of Louis Vuitton
|Born||4 August 1821|
Anchay, Jura, France
|Died||27 February 1892 (aged 70)|
|Known for||The founder of Louis Vuitton|
Louis Vuitton (French: [lwi vɥitɔ̃]; 4 August 1821 – 27 February 1892) was a French fashion designer and 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.
Work and career
In the spring of 1835, Vuitton, then aged 13, left his home in Anchay and traveled by foot to Paris, approximately 292 miles (470 km) away. Taking odd jobs along the way and seeking shelter wherever he could, Vuitton arrived in 1837, at the age of 16, in the midst of the Industrial Revolution. He worked under the apprenticeship of a successful box-maker and packer named Monsieur Marechal. Such a craft specialized in custom-making all boxes to fit the goods they stored, in addition to personally loading and unloading said boxes. Within a few years, Vuitton gained a reputation amongst Paris' more fashionable class as one of the city's premier practitioners of the craft.
In 1854, at age 33, Vuitton married 17-year-old Clemence-Emilie Parriaux. Soon after the marriage, he left Marechal's shop and opened his own box-making and packing workshop in Paris. Outside the shop hung a sign stating "Securely packs the most fragile objects. Specializing in packing fashions." In 1858, Vuitton introduced his revolutionary stackable and waterproof rectangular shaped trunks at a time when the market had only rounded-top trunks. This demand spurred his expansion into a larger workshop outside of Paris. The original pattern of the shellac embedded canvas was named "Damier".
He designed the current "monogram" pattern because to copy a monogram was illegal.
Vuitton also designed the world's first pick-proof lock. All lock patterns were safely kept at Vuitton's workrooms and registered with the owner's name in case another key was needed.
After the re-establishment of the French Empire under Napoleon III, Vuitton was hired as a personal box-maker and packer for 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 to other elite and royal clients who provided him with work for the rest of his career.
In 1871, as a result of the Franco-Prussian War, Vuitton's workshop in Asnières was in shambles. Many of his tools were stolen and his staff was gone. Vuitton rebuilt immediately, erecting a new shop at 1 Rue Scribe, next to a prestigious jockey club in the heart of Paris. In 1872, Vuitton introduced a new line in which - in addition to the print - was a red stripe that would become a signature of the brand for centuries to come.