Louis Vuitton: From Vaunted Travel Trunks to Delectable Handbags
With an array of vaunted leather luggage, delectable designer bags and other accoutrements sold only through its own stores and boutiques, Louis Vuitton epitomizes luxury. No surprise, then, that it's a finalist for a Readers' Choice Award in the Best Leather Goods Category.
Founded in 1854 by a Frenchman of the same name, Louis Vuitton started out specializing in travel trunks. The sturdy luggage was favored by legendary explorers such as Pierre Paul François Camille Savorgnan de Brazza, in whose honor the Congolose capital of Brazzaville is named.
Georges Vuitton carried his father's tradition into the 20th Century, peddling his wares around the world as international travel became accessible to more and more people. But it wasn't until its merger with Moet and Hennessey in 1987 that Louis Vuitton became a true global luxury powerhouse. The resulting conglomerate, LVMH, now pulls down billions in revenue even amid the worst economic downturn in a generation, thanks in part to handbags that often fetch five figure prices.
Chaired by billionaire Bernard Arnault, LVMH has continued its historical trend as outfitter to the stars. Recent ad campaigns for Louis Vuitton have featured celebrities from Gisele Bundchen to Andre Agassi; others -- like the self-styled "Louis Vuiton Don" Kanye West -- have provided publicity for free. Even former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev has been featured in Louis Vuitton ads, proof of the brand's incredible power.
Cast your vote for the Readers' Choice Awards at http://www.luxist.com/awards-vote/accessories-awards.
Gallery: More from Louis Vuitton