By Laura Brown
What makes something a design classic? Well, the fact that something created hundreds of years ago can still look modern is a pretty good sign, and this is certainly the case for any Louis Vuitton vintage bag. Their classic lines and incredible durability make these some of the most sought after vintage pieces around the world.
Given how modern we perceive LV bags to be, it seems almost incredible that the brand was born in the 1800s, when Louis Vuitton revolutionised travelling for the wealthy elite. After moving to Paris in 1834, Vuitton became famous for his canvas flat bottomed trunk, which could be easily stacked on railway carriages. At the time, luggage was (strangely!) round and could not easily be stacked, so this new, flat, lightweight and airtight luggage was something of a revolution and quickly rose in popularity; arguably it’s the first piece of modern luggage. It was launched during the dawn of global travel, and the timing couldn’t have been more perfect.
Imitation of his designs later led to the creation of Louis Vuitton’s famous distinctive stripes and checkerboard patterns. The Damier Canvas design debuted in 1888. In 1896, the monogram design was introduced, consisting of intersecting LV initials, curved beige diamonds, and a four point star inset. This is now one of the most recognisable–and counterfeited– logos in the world. It’s somewhat ironic that it was initially created as an attempt to avoid further copying!
Here are some of the most popular designs that are still valued by vintage hunters everywhere. No matter what your needs, Louis Vuitton has a vintage bag for you! Search flea markets in your area, or go online to Couture Boutique, Designer Vintage or Vestaire Collective–they’ll all deliver internationally.
The iconic Keepall made its debut in 1924. Designed as an overnight stay bag, the Keepall modernized travel luggage and its design features continue to influence weekend bags sold today. Features of the Keepall include a leather ID tag, and the bag is available in 3 sizes – 45, 55, 60 (measure in cm). The Keepall is a unisex bag, and is often used today as a hardy carry on luggage for aeroplanes.
Best for: Frequent Fliers
In 1965 the Speedy 30 was introduced following the success of the Keepall overnight bag. As the name suggests, this was a 30 cm sized version. It was designed due to a special order placed by Audrey Hepburn, who became the unofficial face of Louis Vuitton after being photographed continuously with the Speedy 25. Today the Speedy is available in 4 sizes – 25, 30, 35, 40cm, and in a wide range of different leathers, and patterns. The Speedy was the first everyday travel handbag created by Louis Vuitton, and was originally called the ‘Express’ due to the era’s passion for new and quicker means of transportation.
Best for: Anyone not living with their boyfriend–there’s just enough room here for your overnight stuff.
In 1932, the ‘Noe’ design made its debut, due to a request by a producer of champagne for a bag that could carry 5 bottles of champagne! The Noe bag fits four bottles of champagne upright, and one bottle the middle upside down. Today the drawstring bag is a popular everyday bag, worn by women all over the globe and comes in 2 sizes – the ‘Noe’ & ‘Petite Noe’.
Best for: Picnic lovers, of course! And anyone who prefers their handbags to be held in their hand.
In 1958, the ‘Lockit’ bag was created as part of a light luggage line. The name refers to the design elements of how the bag closes – a leather patch with a padlock on the side of the bag, allowing you to ‘lock it’. Louis Vuitton’s padlocks were favoured amongst the elite & wealthy due to the ‘non pick lock’ design, helping them protect their goods from thieves.
Best for: Anyone living in a big, dangerous city. Or who just has a snoopy partner or kids!
Created in 1934, the Alma bag is one of Louis Vuitton’s most iconic bags, available in a range of different leathers and prints. The Alma was originally called the ‘Squire bag’ but was renamed after ‘Place de L’Alma’ – the pretty tree-lined square in Paris where the Avenue Montaigne meets the Seine. Made with functionality in mind, the Alma is extremely spacious wide opening bag. With double zips, it also features two inside compartments. It’s the perfect work to evening bag, and is one of Louis Vuitton’s most popular design,s second to the Speedy.
Best for: Ladylike Chic
Designed to store beauty products, the ‘Deauville’ inside features pockets and four elastic holders for bottles & cosmetics, to keep your most cherished products organised. The Deauville features a leather ID tag, double zipper and is designed as the perfect ladies weekend bag–after all, popular vacation spot Deauville is just a short jaunt from Paris, and this bag provides just enough space for an overnight excursion.
Best for: Anyone who’s out all day. Just enough room here for a change of shoes to take your outfit from office to evening
Louis Vuitton bags are a great investment buy, as their designs are classic and timeless. Some styles, such as the Speedy, are over 50 years old and are very popular amongst a wide age range. As Louis Vuitton never change the design of these classic styles they are seen as heirloom investments, bought to stand the test of time, and to be passed down through the generations.
Unfortunately Louis Vuitton remains one of the most counterfeited brands worldwide. When purchasing Louis Vuitton always buy from trusted websites, and if purchasing from Ebay always take a look at the seller’s feedback. Louis Vuitton will never sell seconds, and their monogram & damier canvas patterned bags never go on sale in store.
Just remember: when a price is too good to be true, it usually is! But it’s still well worth hunting for a vintage LV treasure–this is what slow fashion is all about: being able to recycle timeless, quality pieces for generations to come.
Main image: Louis Vuitton. Audrey image: Audrey1.com