The Classicist: Inside a Hundred Legendary Louis Vuitton Trunks
Since 1854, when Monsieur Louis Vuitton opened his first store in Paris, his name has been synonymous with the ultimate in luxurious luggage. His incredible trunks with their now iconic canvas coverings, introduced that same year, combined pragmatism and elegance and were "perfectly adapted to the current means of transport and changes in the lives of his clients." That's the basis of the best luxury book of the year, Louis Vuitton: 100 Legendary Trunks, just published by Abrams, Illustrated with 600 images taken from the Louis Vuitton archives in France and new, specially-commissioned photographs. From trains and ocean liners to the earliest automobiles and even hot air balloons, on journeys to all corners of the globe, the Vuitton trunk has crossed time and borders and remains an icon of the golden age of travel, epitomizing the glamour and elegant decadence of an era when journeying to a foreign land involved adventure, romance and style.
The trunks featured in the incredible book are "extraordinary in every way, for a hundred reasons," writes Patrick-Louis Vuitton, the fifth-generation descendant of Monsieur Vuitton who is now in charge of bespoke orders for the firm, "as much for what they carried as for the work, the care, the inventiveness and the ingenuity required to make them." The 100 featured trunks are divided into five sections according to the people who owned them: Explorers & Adventurers, Crowned Heads & Aristocrats, Dandies & Fashionable Ladies, Artists & Scholars, and Hedonists & Eccentrics. Many a Maharaja, actors from Douglas Fairbanks to Sharon Stone, couturiers from Jeanne Lanvin to Karl Lagerfeld, as well as the likes of Ernest Hemingway, Leopold Stokowski, and Damien Hirst have all traveled with Louis Vuitton trunks, often customized in various ways.
Gallery: Louis Vuitton: 100 Legendary Trunks
Vuitton trunks have been designed to hold everything from camp beds to bicycles, desks to toiletries, cigars to caviar, portable libraries to tea services, and cocktail sets to stereos – even in one instance a fully-functioning shower – demonstrating Vuitton's credo that there is literally nothing that cannot be accommodated within the confines of a well-designed trunk. Included are several of the great contemporary Vuitton trunks we've written about on occasion, including Karl Lagerfeld's iPod trunk, the fully fitted out Casino trunk, and the 1,000-cigar humidor trunk which was offered for sale at $68,000. Also included are appendices on the materials (ranging from metal to exotic leather), tools and labels used in creating the trunks and their specifications, along with a glossary and chronology. Check out the gallery for a preview.