The Louis Vuitton brand is a product of the lasting efforts of three generations of Vuitton men - Louis Vuitton, Georges Vuitton, and Gaston-Louis Vuitton masterfully partnered with a new age of global commerce under LVMH and the leadership of Bernard Arnault.
LVMH was the result of a 1987 merger with Moët Hennessy (already a 1971 merger between famed champagne Moët & Chandon and the legendary cognacer Hennessy).
The Most Valuable Brand In The World
Valued at over $16 billion in 2020, Louis Vuitton is the most valuable brand in the world.
The LVMH merger was historic, later inspiring other luxury brand groups, most notably the French conglomerate Kering and the Swiss-based Richemont group.
The LVHM Blueprint
Now part of the multinational conglomerate, the Louis Vuitton brand made a course-altering decision in its choice of Artistic Director.
Louis Vuitton hired Marc Jacobs, a young designer out of New York in 1997, whose knack for dramatic combinations matched with LVMH's global mindset would leave the luxury world forever changed.
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As Artistic Director, he opened Louis Vuitton to the world of fashion, introducing the first ready-to-wear collections for men and women.
This step into standard sizing attracted an entirely new Louis Vuitton customer, whose custom designs had previously admired been out of reach.
In 2001, Marc Jacobs launched the brand's first venture into jewelry, a charm bracelet.
The same year, the Marc Jacobs x Stephen Sprouse graffiti-on-monogram collaboration set the world ablaze with a limited line of handbags.
Different initiatives still kept the brand exclusive; only VIP customers had access to handbags from the collection with a slightly different design that was just graffiti, no monogram print.
A year later, the Tambour watch collection was introduced and an ambitious decades-long new retail strategy was well underway.
The Louis Vuitton building opened in Tokyo's Ginza shopping district, known for its upscale shopping as one of the most expensive, elegant, and luxurious streets in the world.
In 2003, the Marc Jacobs x Takashi Murakami collection, playful and colorful monogram printed handbags saturated popular culture.
In 2004, it commemorated its 150th anniversary by inaugurating stores on New York's Fifth Avenue and its first global store in Shanghai.
Fifth Avenue is home to Millionaire's Row, one of the most expensive shopping streets in the world *since the 1950s*.
More stores opened in São Paulo, Mexico City, Cancun, and Johannesburg.
By 2005, Louis Vuitton paid homage to was once the world's travel goods store by reopening a flagship on the Champs-Élysées in Paris.
After sixteen years, in 2014, the era of Marc Jacobs was over.
The Future of Louis Vuitton
This LVMH blueprint focused on growing the brand while remaining rare, a concept first introduced by Georges Vuitton, fueled a narrow focus on creativity and retail expansion, propelling the luxury brand to new heights.
Collaborations with artists like Pharrell, Kanye West, Jeff Koons, and global streetwear sensation Supreme helped further the bond between Louis Vuitton, culture, and art.
In 2018, Virgil Abloh, an American designer and entrepreneur, CEO of the Milan-based label Off-White, made history as the first African American artistic director at a major European fashion house.
He debuted his first men's wear collection, heavily inspired by casual clothing and streetwear, in the historic Palais-Royal gardens' courtyard.
A masterful brand, Louis Vuitton holds the title of the most valuable brand in the world, valued at over $16 billion in 2020.