The Who2 Blog

A Photo of Louis Vuitton: We Finally Have One

A photo of Louis Vuitton with a graying moustache, old-fashioned black suit and formal bow tie, and brushy hairLouis Vuitton / Wikimedia Commons

Yes that IS a photo of Louis Vuitton, the founder of the luggage and fashion house that now bears his name.

We’ve been lacking a Louis Vuitton photo for some time, and were forced to make do with photos of bored models and B-list celebrities carrying his luggage. Mr. Vuitton lived until 1892, so it’s not like he wasn’t around for the early photography era. There just weren’t many photos of him floating around.

But Wikimedia Commons has come through with the excellent portrait seen above, and we’ve added it to our biography. They also have this charming shot of Louis Vuitton and his team around 1888:

A crowd of employees poses with various Louis Vuitton trunks and bagsWikimedia Commons

Laying down front is Gaston-Louis Vuitton, the grandson of Louis Vuitton, who later took charge of the company. In the larger version you can see that he’s laying on a cot that folds out of a traveling trunk.

Perhaps I’m the only one who didn’t realize that Louis Vuitton made his name not with phony-baloney $3400 purses carried by people like Paris Hilton, but with fabulous fold-out cots and incredibly functional travel trunks that anyone would love to use. Like this one:

Photo of a Louis Vuitton trunk with the door open to show cool drawers and hangersLouis Vuitton / Patrick Gries

Yeah! Now that is awesome. It makes me want to put on my top hat and catch the next steamer to the South Pacific, dressing for dinner and playing bridge with Somerset Maugham all the while.

When we were searching for a Louis Vuitton photo last year, our own Mr. Hehn did some sketches as a backup. Without having any idea what Vuitton really looked like, here’s what he came up with:

Not exactly flattering. But not so far off, either, it turns out. The eyes and the brow are really pretty close.

Mr. Vuitton definitely had a better moustache than we gave him credit for, and much better hair. We apologize to the House of Vuitton for the error. And for not realizing that their 19th-century luggage was so very terrific.

See our biography of Louis Vuitton »

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