Tucked away deep in the winding streets of Paris, set discreetly amongst lush leafy gardens, between rows of quintessentially historic Parisian abodes, lies the heart and home of Louis Vuitton. It’s not surprising that the atelier and private residence, fundamental to the very DNA of the brand, sit so humbly amidst the hustle of Paris, notably one of Europe’s most iconic and busiest destinations. From the exterior this landmark may appear understatedly elegant but it’s within the garden walls that one is able to fully appreciate the technically innovative and creative way that all within residence operate. In tune with the Ready To Wear collections that Louis Vuitton are so well celebrated, style and function are at the essence of everything Louis Vuitton luggage stand for, packaged so nicely in the most beautiful bags and trunks in the world.
As you can see, recently I had the honour and privilege of flying to Paris to visit one of the world’s most esteemed luxury ateliers alongside the intimate family home of the Louis Vuitton family. In 1859 Mr Louis Vuitton himself set up residence in Asnières, close enough to the banks of the River Seine so that timber suppliers were able to transport their materials by boat, with the easiest of convenience. Practicality and foresight were always engrained in the way Louis Vuitton thought, and meeting the need of a discerning clientele who spent most of their time travelling… the Louis Vuitton brand began.
That clientele today still very much celebrate the need for travel and adventure, along with a few modern-day tweaks that come with progress thanks to technology. From the early beginnings where trunks were customised to house perfume collections or first aid kits, to Nicolas Ghesquière’s more recent technical cases, designed to fulfill the modern girl’s need to house an iPad without scratching it (at the top of my wishlist by the way!). The Louis Vuitton trunk has proven itself throughout the past and now present, we can only imagine the journey ahead of us leading into the future.
The Louis Vuitton Asnières atelier is one of the most fascinating and inspiring workshops that one could possibly imagine. A mixture of old school techniques where one might view an artisan meticulously hand crafting leather strips to be wrapped around the iconic LV logo, to high tech machinery laser-cutting exotic skins with the utmost of precision. A partition in one of the artisan rooms is clad with a poster covered in photographs of some of the most interesting and unique custom requests over time, a symbol of achievement and a benchmark for what can only be imagined and created next. We pause in another area where 3 separate craftsmen are working on the same bag… at once, taking the term ‘surgical precision’ to a whole new level. One cannot help but feel like Charlie entering Willy Wonkers chocolate factory, the sense of awe and wonderment is enough to stir the kind of emotions akin to giving birth to something beautiful, although this analogy could not be closer to the truth.
I have always felt that to own a Louis Vuitton bag was possibly one of the most personal of luxuries, however it is not until you appreciate the history and real craftsmanship that goes into what it takes to create such a piece that you can truly understand what luxury is. This being said, none of this would have been possible without Mr Louis Vuitton himself and a forever adaptable team with an incredible imagination and a dream. In the words of Willy Wonker ..”There is no life I know, that can compare with pure imagination, living there you’ll be free if you truly wish to be”
Part of a very special project with Louis Vuitton. A very special thank you so the Louis Vuitton team.. xx