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Hit the Road with Louis Vuitton

From traveling desks to classic cycles, Louis Vuitton’s road-ready creations are a testament to the fashion house’s unparalleled savoir-faire

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Since its inception in 1854, Louis Vuitton has been dedicated to preserving the legacy of its exceptional travel accessories, crafted with the workmanship and techniques passed on through generations. From design to manufacturing, each Vuitton product speaks to its founder’s original vision. With its adventurous “Art of Travel” spirit, it was only natural that the fashion house would eventually showcase its tradition of excellence through a mode of transportation. In a novel collaboration, Louis Vuitton geared up with another adventure guru, Maison Tamboite Paris, an artisanal bike-maker established in 1912. Their shared mission was to create a Louis Vuitton bike, that puts true luxury on two wheels.

Louis Vuitton boasts a longstanding tradition of elevating road essentials to an art form.

In a new take on a classic Maison Tamboite model, the first-ever Louis Vuitton Bike is a fine example of the uncompromising standards and know-how of both companies when it comes to woodwork and leather craftsmanship. The LV Bike is handcrafted in Paris and comes in four models, each with its own colourful character: the Monogram, featuring a red saddle in iconic Louis Vuitton perforated Mahina leather; the Damier Graphite, in shades of black, grey, and bright yellow leather; the Lime Yellow; and the “Since 1854” Monogram, designed by Nicolas Ghesquière.

Construction of each bike begins with a framework of enamelled and chromed steel, stretched and lightened to allow for a smoother ride. All models are also equipped with a two-speed drivetrain. Beech wood is used in the tire rims and mudguard, while carefully selected fine leather wraps the shock-absorbing saddle, handlebars, and cables. In a nod to Louis Vuitton’s heritage, the company’s key elements feature throughout, including a Monogram flower chainset and an interlocking LV-shaped frame, cut precisely with a jeweller’s fretsaw. Each detailed step, from brazing the frame to polishing the fixing plate of the shoe protector, is carried out with the meticulous precision worthy of the two legendary makers. The result is a truly one-of-a-kind ride for beginner and proficient cyclists alike. 

The LV Bike’s Monogram model boasts a cherry-red enamelled steel frame and a saddle in Louis Vuitton perforated Mahina leather, with classic Monogram leather wrapping the handlebars and cables.

Stokowski desk trunk

In yet another example of its on-the-road ingenuity, Louis Vuitton looks to its classic beginnings—the Monogram canvas trunks that started it all in 1930. Even then, the company used its extensive know-how to think outside the basic trunk, turning the concept on its head to open up new facets—literally. The Stokowski desk trunk was an original piece conceived and designed especially for its namesake, Leopold Stokowski, a British conductor of Polish descent, to accommodate his working habits while travelling. The trunk’s Monogram canvas and Vuittonite lining concealed an unexpectedly multifunctional interior, which was made to open up and extend into a folding workstation, complete with a desk, book shelves, a typewriter recess, and drawers for the conductor’s scores, files, and manuscript papers. The one-of-a-kind design soon gained legendary status, later entering production for the public. 

Today this classic trunk is returning with a newly launched 2021 version. Louis Vuitton has adapted Secrétaire Bureau 2.0 to the needs of today’s lifestyle, while remaining true to its functional nomadic heritage. The secretary features drawers and large storage spaces, alongside a collapsible table and folding stool, which provide comfortable seating when unfolded. The top compartment also offers room for holding a phone, notepads, or other accessories, while a smart cable-passage allows the traveller to charge electronic devices.

The Secrétaire Bureau 2.0 has two unique possibilities for interior finishes. One is varnished wood, which offers a sleek appearance. The other is straw marquetry, a special technique that uses strands of straw to cover objects. Handmade in France, straw marquetry is a craft mastered by a limited number of artisans. Both interior finishes also feature the Louis Vuitton initials, with an L on the on the interior door and a V across the secretary’s main body. With its 2021 redesign, the Secrétaire Bureau 2.0 offers the traveller an opportunity to reconnect with an old heritage, while enjoying the conveniences of today.

Whether hitting the pavement or burning the midnight oil, Louis Vuitton continues to forge forward in its relentless quest for travel, adventure, and superior craftsmanship. 

LV 6 Secretaire-bureau modele Stokowski en toile Monogram, 1930.
The vintage Stokowski trunk conceals a folding workspace inside.

This story is from Magnifissance Issue 107

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