New book tells the story of Louis Vuitton's “city bags”

The book traces how the French fashion house has evolved through the years and covers famous Louis Vuitton bags like the Speedy, Neverfull, Alma and more

Published in English by Rizzoli on October 15, "Louis Vuitton City Bags: A Natural History" will also be released in a French edition on October 24, published by Editions de La Martinière.
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Since establishing its reputation as a purveyor of fine monogrammed luggage over a century ago, the Louis Vuitton brand has evolved to meet the demands of modern women, both in terms of fashion trends and lifestyle. This evolution is explored with an almost scientific rigor in Louis Vuitton City Bags: A Natural History, a new illustrated book published by Rizzoli.

Fashion historian Florence Müller, the main author of this ambitious work, collaborated with sociologist Jean-Claude Kaufmann, author Ian Luna and journalists Colombe Pringle and Mariko Nishitani for a multidisciplinary approach. The result is an in-depth history and impressively complete taxonomy of the French brand's famous bags, which have come to symbolise the essence of modern fashion.

Family trees and family portraits

A family portrait: From the trunk to the city bag
©Patrick Gries, 2013

From trunks and suitcases to the Steamer bag - a soft-sided tote that was a step along the road to today's city bags - the authors trace the roots of each line of Louis Vuitton's iconic luggage and handbags. Readers can discover the genealogy of the "Neverfull" and the iconic "Sac Plat," for example, which descended from a laundry bag and a rigid clothing case.  

The work also includes a selection of "family portraits," illustrating various lines and styles of Louis Vuitton bags through the ages. One photograph, taken by Patrick Gries, brings together around 30 prestigious pieces, ranging from early trunks to modern handbags.

The authors also cover some of the brand's most notable collections, including the Speedy, Papillon, Alma, Lockit, Noé, Bucket and Pochette lines, providing a sweeping overview of the luxury brand's bags across the generations.

Campaigns and brand ambassadors

Left: Twiggy, the famous 1960s icon, poses with a miniature "Papillon" bag in Monogram canvas, photographed by Bert Stern for Vogue UK in 1967. Right: Twiggy posing with a Louis Vuitton pouch in Monogram canvas, photographed by Bert Stern for Vogue UK in 1967. ©Bert Stern

Collectors and loyal fans will also get a look at the brand's campaigns through the years, illustrated with archival images of early Louis Vuitton advertisements and more modern fashion photographs. The book includes images from Bert Stern's 1967 shoot for Vogue UK, for example, featuring the British model Twiggy posing with the Papillon bag and the Toilette pouch. - AFP RELAXNEWS