Without a doubt, the Louis Vuitton name and “LV” logo are among the most recognisable brands in the world.
Louis Vuitton Malletier opened his French fashion house in 1854, initially building large rectangular stackable trunks in an era where travel storage was generally rounded to allow for water run-off.
The first Louis Vuitton retail store was opened in London’s Oxford St in 1885.
It wasn’t long before knock-offs were being created, prompting the designer to append the phrase “marque L. Vuitton déposée” (“L. Vuitton registered trademark”) to his moniker.
Vuitton passed away in 1892, and control of the business was handed to his son, Georges. It was Georges who took the brand to the world, starting with the Chicago World Fair in 1893 and 1896.
Within 20 years stores had opened up in New York, Washington, Bombay, Buenos Aires, and the Egyptian port city of Alexandria.
It’s suggested that members of the Vuitton family collaborated with the Nazi’s during the German occupation of France, which provided the business with lucrative opportunity and increased wealth.
Today the Louis Vuitton brand is worth around $25b, owns more than 460 retail stores worldwide, and is one of the most imitated products sold around the world.
Vuitton is understandably heavily protective of their unique designs, including successfully suing Sony BMG for their role in using the “Cherry Blossom” pattern in the Britney Spears video of “Do Somethin”.