Early Days (1854-1892)
1854 - Vuitton opens his first store in Paris on Rue Nueve des Capucines, founding Louis Vuitton Malletier a paris. Before his quality trunks, French philosopher, Denis Diderot & Jean Le Rond d'Alembert makes mention of a Malletier and his techniques about 140 years earlier. (1713-1784)
Vuitton began by selling flat-topped trunks that were lightweight and airtight. All trunks before this had rounded tops for water to run off and thus could not be stacked, it was Vuitton's gray Trianon canvas flat trunk that allowed the ability to stack for ease with voyages.
1860 - Vuitton opens a larger factory in Asnières-sur-Seine to accommodate increased demand.
1867 - Vuitton enters the Universal Exhibition at the World's Fair in Paris, winning the bronze medal.
1872 - Vuitton creates a red and beige striped canvas, which he uses to line the interior of his trunks.
1876 - Vuitton creates the wardrobe trunk, which contains a rail and small drawers for storing clothing.
1880 - Vuitton's son Georges is married and (on the same day) is given control of the business. Georges is credited with developing the unique five-number combination lock found on Vuitton trunks.
1883 - Georges' son Gaston-Louis is born.
1885 - The first Louis Vuitton store in London opens.
1888 - The Damier Canvas pattern is created by Louis Vuitton in collaboration with Georges, and bears a logo that reads "marque L. Vuitton déposée," which translates to "mark L. Vuitton deposited" or, roughly, "L. Vuitton trademark".
1889 - Vuitton wins the gold medal at the World's Fair in Paris.
1892 - Vuitton dies; the Vuitton company begins selling handbags.
Golden Age of Louis Vuitton (1893-1936)
1893 - Georges displays Vuitton products at the World's Fair in Chicago and begins his campaign to make the company into a worldwide corporation.
1894 - Georges publishes his book Le Voyage.
1896 - Georges designs the Monogram Canvas. Its graphic symbols, including quatrefoils and flowers, are based on the trend of using Japanese and Oriental designs in the late Victorian era. This can be considered the first contemporary designer logo, as Georges is driven to create the pattern to prevent counterfeiting, which has already begun. The same year, Georges sails to the United States, where he tours various cities such as New York, Philadelphia, and Chicago. He sells Vuitton products during the visit.
1899 - Georges exhibits Vuitton products at the maiden Paris Auto Show.
1900 - Georges Vuitton is given the honor of setting up the Travel Items and Leather Goods section of the 1900 World's Fair in Paris.
1901 - The Louis Vuitton Company introduces the Steamer Bag, a smaller piece of luggage designed to be kept inside Vuitton luggage trunks.
1904 - Georges chairs the jury for the St. Louis World's Fair. The same year, the Louis Vuitton company introduces a new line of trunks that have special compartments for items such as perfumes, clothing, and other goods.
1906 - Georges' son Gaston-Louis marries Renee Versille, and the company introduces trunks for automobiles.
1914 - The Louis Vuitton Building opens on the Champs-Elysees. This is the largest travel-goods store in the world at the time. Stores also open in New York, Bombay, Washington, London, Alexandria, and Buenos Aires as World War I begins.
1924 - The company introduces its iconic Keepall bag, a forerunner of the duffel bag. The bag is still made by the company today in four sizes; the smallest retails for US$855.
1929 - The company celebrates its seventy-fifth anniversary and expands its offering of custom-made items. It creates a toiletry case specially for opera singer Marthe Chenal, which can hold bottles, brushes, mirrors, powder boxes, and other toiletries.
1931 - Louis Vuitton introduces exotic bags, including handbags made from crocodile skin and elephant hide, and presents them at the Colonial Exhibition.
1932 - Louis Vuitton introduces the Nóe bag. This bag was originally made for champagne vinters to transport bottles, and is currently sold as a handbag. Prices for this bag now begin at US$585.
1933 - The Louis Vuitton Speedy bag is introduced. It is still manufactured today.
1936 - The golden age of Louis Vuitton ends as Georges Vuitton passes away. Estimates credit Georges Vuitton with over 700 new Vuitton designs. Gaston-Louis Vuitton assumes control of the company. The secretary trunk is introduced for Leopold Stokowski, a conductor.
Modern Age of Louis Vuitton (1937-1996)
1959 - The company revamps its signature Monogram Canvas to make it more supple, allowing it to be used for purses, bags, and wallets.
1963 - Audrey Hepburn is seen carrying the bag in the film Charade.
1966 - The company launches the classic Papillon, a cylindrical bag that is said to resemble a butterfly .
1978 - Vuitton opens its first stores in Japan, in Tokyo and Osaka. (Sales in Japan would come to account for nearly half of the company's total revenue by the 1980s.)
1983 - The company joins with America's Cup to form the Louis Vuitton Cup, a preliminary competition (known as an eliminatory regatta) for the world's most prestigious yacht race.
1984 - Vuitton expands its presence in Asia by opening its first store in Korea, in Seoul.
1986 - The company introduces its Epi leather line.
1987 - Moët et Chandon and Hennessy, leading manufacturers of champagne and of brandy, respectively, merge with Louis Vuitton to form the world's largest luxury goods conglomerate, LVMH. The group is partly owned by the Christian Dior group, and Bernard Arnault is chairman and CEO of both companies.
1988 - Vuitton reports profits up 49% from the prior year.
1988 - The company hosts its first Louis Vuitton Classic car show in Paris.
1989 - The company's stores total 130 worldwide.
1990 - Yves Carcelle is named president of the company.
1992 - The first store in China is opened at the Palace Hotel in Beijing.
1993 - The Taiga leather line is introduced.
1996 - The centennial of the Monogram Canvas is celebrated in seven cites across the world, marked by parties at stores and the release of limited-edition items bearing the signature design.
Millennium Age of Louis Vuitton (1997-present)
1997 - The company hires designer Marc Jacobs to be the label's artistic director. In March of the following year, he designs and introduces the company's first prêt-à-porter line of clothing.
2001 - Stephen Sprouse, in collaboration with Marc Jacobs, designs a limited-edition line of Vuitton bags that feature graffiti written over the monogram pattern. The graffiti says Louis Vuitton and, on certain bags, the name of the bag (such as 'Keepall' and 'Speedy'). Certain pieces, which feature the graffiti without the Monogram Canvas background, are created and only available to the customers on Vuitton's V.I.P. customer list.
2003 - Takashi Murakami, in collaboration with Marc Jacobs, masterminds the new Monogram Multicolore canvas range of handbags and accessories. This range includes the monograms of the standard Monogram Canvas, but in 33 different colors on either a white or black background. (The classic canvas features gold monograms on a brown background.)
2003 - Takashi Murakami creates the "Cherry Blossom" pattern, in which smiling cartoon faces in the middle of pink and yellow flowers are sporadically placed atop the Monogram Canvas. This pattern appeared on a limited number of pieces, which sold out quickly; the production of this limited-edition run was discontinued in June 2003.
2005 - Takashi Murakami creates the Monogram Cerises pattern, in which cherries with faces on them are placed over Monogram Canvas on select pieces.
2006 - The company launches a new line, called Damier Azur, a reinvention of the oldest pattern created by Louis Vuitton (the original Damier).
2006 - Louis Vuitton launches the Winter 2006 show collection, which includes styles called "Monogram Miroir", giving new life to the classic Speedy 30, Keepall, Alma, and Papillon in a flashy, reflective silver and gold bag. Also included is the "Monogram LV-Inyl", "Monogram Embossed Leather", "Monogram Mink" (Multicolor Monogram canvas on Mink) and "Monogram Léopard" (Monogram canvas with leopard print done by Stephen Sprouse in 1989 and introduced by Marc Jacobs).
2006 - The Monogram Mini line is discontinued throughout the world except for the United States. The Monogram Mini Lin will assume its position.
2006 - Louis Vuitton opens its first store in Norway, located in Akersgaten in Oslo.
2006 - Louis Vuitton opens its tenth UK store in the upmarket Leeds Victoria Quarter. The store is the first UK Louis Vuitton store outside London that has its own VIP area. The store sells most of Louis Vuitton's lines except its prêt-à-porter lines.
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