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Birth of a Legend: Louis Vuitton celebrates founder’s 200th birthday

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Vuitton’s iconic monogram trunks reinvented luxury luggage.

In 1835, a 14-year old boy left his small hometown of Anchay, France, and set out on foot for the long journey to Paris. Once there, he apprenticed with renowned Parisian trunk maker Romain Maréchal, learning and refining the craft. In 1854, armed with a vision of transforming luggage-making into a sophisticated new art form, he opened the doors of his own Parisian shop on the fashionable rue Neuve-des-Capucines. This man was, of course, none other than Louis Vuitton, whose name is now synonymous with the crème de la crème of luxury leather goods.

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This hard-sided trunk was created as part of Vuitton’s Masterpieces Travel collection to transport Johannes Vermeer’s The Milkmaid.

This year will mark a milestone for his company—the 200th anniversary of Vuitton’s birth in 1821. To commemorate the occasion, Louis Vuitton is rolling out the Louis 200 campaign, a movement that honours and celebrates the life and ongoing legacy of its visionary creator. On August 4, 2021, the fashion house unveiled 200 Louis, a series of window displays showcasing Vuitton’s classic trunk, reimagined by 200 people—ranging from artists to scientists—from across the globe.

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Louis, a new book by French writer Caroline Bongrand, documents the life and work of Louis Vuitton.

Other projects in the campaign include Louis: The Game, a video game featuring an adventure-filled global hunt for 200 collectible candles; a large-scale triptych of Vuitton, painted by artist Alex Katz; a book about the entrepreneur’s life by French writer Caroline Bongrand; and Looking for Louis, a documentary that traces Vuitton’s story from humble roots to lasting legacy. More than a tribute, Louis 200 aims to create a bridge between the pioneering trunk maker and the dreamers of today, carrying on his spirit of travel and adventure to empower and inspire the visionaries of tomorrow.

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Vuitton’s iconic trunk is reimagined by contributors around the world as part of the 200 Louis series.

This story is from Magnifissance Issue 109

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