Louis Vuitton is a world renowned designer that most if not all of us know of. Starting out designing luxury luggage he branched out and has created a line of clothing, bags, purses, wallets, shoes, scarfs, keychains, the list goes on and on. But where did Louis Vuitton get his beginnings and how did this iconic designer acquire his fame, fortune, and reputation?
Louis Vuitton Working Class Beginnings
Louis Vuitton was born on August 4, 1821 in a little mountain town in Anchay, France. His family was of working class having origins in farming, carpentry, & milling. When his mother died at a young age, his father remarried giving him his vicious and mean stepmother. Louis despised her so much that in 1835 at the age of 13 he set out on foot to get to Paris, a far 300 miles away! He knew there was more in life for him then this small town, evil stepmother and had a fierce determination to do great things! It took him a little over 2 years but at the age of 16 he finally reached Paris.
Box Making Apprentice
Once in Paris he met a box maker with his own shop by the name of Monsieur Marechal who took him under his wing as an apprentice. In this era box making was considered a highly reputable professional and Louis Vuitton quickly made a name for himself among the elite upper class of Europe. Box Makers were not only responsible for making the boxes they also packed, shipped and unloaded the expensive clothing and such that the rich stored & traveled with.
The Beginning Of Louis Vuittons Legacy
In 1854 Louis Vuitton married his first love and decided to leave Monsieur Marechal Box Shop to start his own in Paris. Four years later in 1858 he designed his own trunk luggage making it rectangular and made of canvas instead of leather so that it was more durable, odor & water resistant. The elite fashion clientele of Paris fell in love with Vuitton’s new design and his trunks were highly sought after making him a huge success. In fact just a year later he had to move to a bigger shop because of the high demand for his luggage pieces.
A Short Downfall
In 1870 with the beginning of the Franco-Prussian War much of the French Empire was destroyed in and around Paris forcing Louis and his family to flee their town and his beloved shop. A year later he returned to the city that was now left in destruction, a shop that had been vandalized and all of his equipment stolen. He did not take this set back laying down however! He rebuilt his shop in a new city in the “new” Paris and was among an even higher class and elite clientele. He again became greatly successful and continued making sought after luxury luggage for the next 20 years.
A Legend Passes But His legacy Lives On
On February 27, 1892 at the age of 70 Louis Vuitton passed away leaving his business to his son Georges. His son continued to build his father’s legacy and is even responsible for creating the famous LV monogram that is all over Louis Vuitton luggage, purses, wallets, and apparel today. The family business continues to be handed down each generation and will live on for eternity. It just goes to show that with an amazing drive and spirit like Louis Vuitton you can come from humble beginnings and succeed at anything you choose. To the 13 year old boy who walked 300 miles to get to Paris and realize his dreams!