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To mark the bicentennial birthday of Louis Vuitton, the Maison is hosting a roster of events as tribute to the founder from a video game to an unprecedented documentary. Ahead of the global celebration, The Next Hour uncovers the visionary spirit of Louis Vuitton and the fabled time behind the renowned monogrammed bags.  

The legacy of Mr. Vuitton started with a trunk. It was 1854 and along the Rue Neuve des Capucines near Place Vendome, the young entrepreneur created a sequence of luggage cases that, little did he realise, would become an international phenomenon. 

Behind the maison’s moniker and the frontrunner of the show before the likes of Virgil Abloh, Nicholas Ghesquiere and Marc Jacobs, comes the legacy of a designer who’s vision remains alive today. Marking the bicentennial birthday of the founder, two hundred years on, the house pays tribute to his dedication and commitment to the fashion industry with the launch of Louis 200. A retrospective series following the life of the innovator, Louis 200 goes beyond the stereotypical panegyric approach; instead it follows the evolution of Louis’ journey through a collective experience.

An unprecedented tribute for the founder

As a catalyst for development in the fashion industry, the perpetual celebrations aim to capture the same sense of awe and inspiration conjured by the founder to viewers and visitors of the forthcoming celebrations. From a video game embedded with NFTs, reimagined trunks in store windows created by 200 contributors feature alongside a triptych of Louis, painted by American artist Alex Katz to a fictional novel on the life of the hallmark figure. Dare it stop there, an unrivalled documentary Looking for Louis  will take to the screen, broadcast on Apple TV, shedding light on the beginning of his story to the tale of genius he leaves behind.

The history behind the handbag 

But where exactly did the iconoclasm of Mr Louis Vuitton begin? Earnestly arriving in the metropolis of the French capital by foot in 1837 – just under twenty years before launching his own empire – Louis began apprenticing for Monsieur Maréchal and soon became a valued craftsman at the atelier. Under this tenure, Vuitton joined a highly specialised trade, creating trunks and cases for an exclusive clientele, who at the time, were conscious of protecting their belongings amidst the horse-drawn carriages, boats and trains where baggage would be handled mercilessly. 

Seventeen years later, Louis took up shop by himself, and the mythic beginnings of his eminent brand began, creating water-repellant canvas trunks with flat tops, rather than the more conventional round-top models at the time which proved more difficult to travel. Carried in the hands of Paul Poiret, Dora Maar, close rapport with the spearheading Charles Frederick Worth – dubbed as the father of Couture – and an appointment as the trunk maker and packer to Empress Eugénie, wife of Napoleon.

The future of Louis Vuitton: a merge of heritage and modernity

While Louis garnered the reputation behind the house, the infamous monogram made its way into the graphic language as a posthumous tribute after the passing of its founder. Four years after Louis’ death, the company introduced the first monogram, the signature overlapping LV paired with alternate geometric shapes which became synonymous with the brand to the present day. 

Heritage undoubtedly remains at the forefront of the Maison today; but staying true to the character of its founder, it boldly paves the way forward, embracing modernity. Building on from the gaming contributions of the brand, who made history with the launch of avatar skins, with the creation of Louis: The Game, a first-person explorer embarking on quests, and journeying through the brand’s history with the main character Vivienne, who also happens to be the French luxury brand’s mascot. A luminary force across generations, the varied entertaining formats extend the Maison’s history to new eyes and in a new context. 

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Scarlett is a writer, editor, and creative consultant specializing in art, fashion, culture and digital strategy. Drawing on her work from previous titles including Dazed, LOVE Magazine, The Perfect Magazine, AnOther and 1 Granary, as the Editor-in-Chief of The Next Hour, Scarlett is leading the editorial vision toward new territories providing an alternative lens of social commentary to recontextualize the world of watchmaking for the next generation.