From Ernest Hemingway’s Library Trunk commissioned in 1923 to the trunks created for artist Damien Hirst and the FIFA World Cup Trophy in recent years, Louis Vuitton trunks have stamped their mark on history and have continued to grace our lives ever since.
In the lifestyle universe, 1896 and 1906 are the twin turning points in the legend of Louis Vuitton. In 1896, Georges Vuitton, son of the founder of the brand, created the iconic monogram canvas, bearing a repeated pattern of shapes regularly interspersed with a monogram that intertwines the letters L and V, the founder’s initials. The motif drew on medieval European and Japanese designs to deliver a product that held an almost heraldic appearance, lending the items made with it an aristocratic air that Louis Vuitton’s customers were only too pleased to adopt.
Then, in 1906, the motif was applied to a trunk designed by Gaston-Louis Vuitton.
Its proportions, beech wood reinforcements, brass corners and rivets, patent lock and monogrammed exterior made the trunk a certificate of savoir faire. As the 20th century brought the world closer together, Louis Vuitton created a range of trunks to assist in reaching far-flung parts in style: flat-top trunks, wardrobe trunks, bed trunks for explorers, secretary trunks, streamer trunks, auto trunks and aero trunks. A library trunk for transporting books and a typewriter became a desk when opened. A trunk for carrying paintings would keep an artist’s canvasses safe. Henri Matisse owned one.