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    Chapter 1- Introduction

    The Louis Vuitton Company (more commonly known simply as Louis Vuitton) is a luxury

    French fashion and leather goods brand and company, headquartered in Paris, France. It is a

    division of the French holding company, LVMH Louis Vuitton Mot Hennessy S.A. The

    company is named after its founder Louis Vuitton (August 4, 1821-February 27, 1892), who

    designed and manufactured luggage, as a Malletier during the second half of the nineteenth

    century.

    The company manufactures and markets luxury leather goods, fashion accessories, prt--porter,

    and jewelry. Many of the companys products utilize the signature gray Damier and Monogram

    Canvas materials, both of which were first used in the late 19th century. All of the companys

    products utilize the eponymous LV initials.

    The company only markets its product through its own stores throughout the world, which

    allows it to control product quality and pricing, and to prevent counterfeit products entering its

    distribution channels. In addition, the company added a single online retailer to sell some of itsproducts (along with some of its sister companies such as Christian Dior).

    One hundred and fifty years after its eponymous founder began creating and selling trunks in

    Paris, Louis Vuitton's signature leather goods are considered a status symbol around the globe

    and are highly regarded in the fashion world. The company's iconic Monogram Canvas design

    can be considered the first designer label in contemporary history; the design was created in

    1896 by Vuitton's son Georges and was intended to prevent counterfeiting. Ironically, Louis

    Vuitton has become the most counterfeited brand in fashion history, with just over 1% of allitems branded with the Vuitton logo not counterfeit.

    Reputation The Louis Vuitton Company carefully cultivates a celebrity following and has used

    famous models and actresses in its marketing campaigns, most recently Uma Thurman and

    Scarlett Johansson. Other models and actresses who have lent their name to the Louis Vuitton

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    line include Jennifer Lopez, Chloe Sevigny, Christina Ricci, Gisele Bundchen, Kate Moss, and

    Naomi Campbell. Hayden Christensen has also appeared as model for the company's luggage

    and prt--porter lines. The company commonly uses print ads in magazines and billboards in

    cosmopolitan cities.

    Vuitton bags and purses have a considerable list of celebrity adherents who are frequently seen

    in tabloid and magazine photographs carrying the brand. The Vuitton collection has also created

    a cult-like following among male and female consumers throughout the world. Owners of the

    bags and accessories often refer to the products as their Louis. This cult following by both

    celebrities and wealthy consumers has elevated the Vuitton brand to the foremost position in

    accessory design alongside houses such as Gucci, Prada, Fendi, and Herms.

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    History

    Early days (1854-1892)

    Louis Vuitton was born in Jura, France (now part of the commune of Lavans-sur-Valouse), but

    moved to Paris in 1835. The trip from his hometown to Paris was over 400 kilometers, and he

    traveled the distance by foot. On his way there he picked up a series of odd jobs to pay for his

    journey. Two years later, at the age of 16, he apprenticed for the luggage manufacturer Monsieur

    Marechal. In 1854 he founded the company, which is now owned by LVMH, a French holding

    company helmed by Bernard Arnault.

    In 1854, Vuitton opens his first store in Paris on Rue Neuve 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.[3]

    In addition, 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.

    By 1885, the company opens its first store in London, beginning its international growth and

    reputation. Soon thereafter, the Damier Canvas pattern is created by Louis Vuitton and bears a

    logo that reads "marque L. Vuitton depose," which translates to "mark L. Vuitton deposited" or,

    roughly, "L. Vuitton trademark".

    Vuitton introduced a trunk in a beige and red striped canvas in 1872. The design appealed

    to the new Parisian elite and helped secure the brand's position as a luxury offering.

    Golden Age of Louis Vuitton (1893-1936)

    After the death of Louis Vuitton, his son, Georges begins a campaign to build the company into a

    worldwide corporation by exhibiting the companys products at the Chicago Worlds Fair in

    1893. In 1896 the company launches 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

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    sails to the United States, where he tours various cities such as New York, Philadelphia, and

    Chicago. He sells Vuitton products during the visit.

    In 1901, the Louis Vuitton Company introduces the Steamer Bag, a smaller piece of luggage

    designed to be kept inside Vuitton luggage trunks.

    By 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.

    In 1932, Louis Vuitton introduces the No bag. This bag was originally made for champagne

    vintners to transport bottles, and is currently sold as a handbag. Soon thereafter, the Louis

    Vuitton Speedy bag is introduced. Both are still manufactured today. In 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, his son, assumes control of the company.

    Anti-Semitism of Louis Vuitton (World War II)

    The luxury goods company Louis Vuitton collaborated with the Nazis during the German

    occupation of France in the second world war.

    The French book "Louis Vuitton, A French Saga", authored by French journalist StephanieBonvicini and published by Paris-based [4] tells how members of the Vuitton family actively

    aided the puppet government led by Marshal Philippe Ptain and increased their wealth from

    their business affairs with the Germans.

    During the Second World War, a sign at the entrance of the main Louis Vuitton storefront in

    Paris read "No dogs. No Jews."

    The Louis Vuitton building, the largest travel-goods store in world, was opened on the Champs-

    lyses in 1914 and counted Coco Chanel as a patron.

    Bag shapes that remain popular fashion staples today were introduced throughout the 1900s. The

    Steamer bag, a smaller piece designed to be kept inside the luggage trunks, was introduced in

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    1901. The Keepall bag was debuted in 1930 followed by the No bag, which was originally

    designed to carry Champagne, in 1932, and, in 1966, the cylindrical Pappillon bag.

    Thanks to advances in technology and a new coating process, a supple version of the monogram

    canvas was created in 1959. This allowed it to be used for purses, bags and wallets.

    Responding to the book's release in 2004, a spokesman for LVMH said: "This is ancient history.

    The book covers a period when it was family-run and long before it became part of LVMH. We

    are diverse, tolerant and all the things a modern company should be."

    LMVH said that period in the Louis Vuitton history does not warrant 50 pages of the book.

    An LVMH spokesman told the satirical magazine Le Canard Enchain "We don't deny the facts,

    but regrettably the author has exaggerated the Vichy episode, That publication was the onlyFrench periodical to mention the book.

    Modern Age of Louis Vuitton (1937-1996)

    In order to broaden its line, the company revamps its signature Monogram Canvas to make it

    suppler, allowing it to be used for purses, bags, and wallets. Further cementing its celebrity

    cachet, Audrey Hepburn is seen carrying the bag in the film Charade in 1963.

    The company launches, in 1966 the classic Papillion, a cylindrical bag that is said to resemble abutterfly. The design is still popular today.

    By 1978, the company opens its first stores in Japan, in Tokyo and Osaka. Vuitton products were

    popular in Japan, and its sales in Japan would come to account for nearly half of the company's

    total revenue by the 1980s.) Later, the company would expand its presence in Asia by opening its

    first store in Korea, in Seoul in 1985.

    In 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.

    In 1987, Mot et Chandon and Hennessy, leading manufacturers of champagne and of brandy,

    respectively, merge with Louis Vuitton to form the world's largest luxury goo