Travel Trunks of the mansion
Hello, Fellow History Lovers!
The Barker family enjoyed traveling to Europe – their home is full of the furniture, artwork and mementos they brought back from their trips. Spending months overseas required a full wardrobe for every occasion, and the Mansion collection has several steamer trunks the family used. Monogrammed, with country stickers and definitely travel worn, what stories could these trunks tell? One particular trunk caught my attention, and its story dates back decades before Katherine Fitzgerald Barker acquired it for those European getaways.
The name Louis Vuitton is synonymous with the world’s premium luxury brands. I’m familiar with Louis Vuitton bags and purses (although I do not personally own one), but until discovering this piece, I had no idea that Louis Vuitton designed trunks!
Louis Vuitton was a trunk maker before there was an LV company as we know it today. He started as an apprentice for a trunk designer at the age of 16. He stayed there for 17 years before founding the Louis Vuitton label at Rue Neuve des Capucines in Paris in 1854.
In the 1800s, trunks were used for traveling, especially abroad. They were heavy and sturdy and often made with a rounded top, which promoted water runoff but made them not very good for stacking. This is where Louis Vuitton came in! In 1858, Vuitton introduced his flat-topped trunks with Trianon canvas. His innovative design made the trunks lightweight, airtight, and stackable. This made a lot of sense when overseas travel was by steamship.
By 1885, the company had opened its first store outside of France on Oxford Street in London. In 1888, due to the imitation of his look by competitors, Vuitton created the Damier Canvas pattern, which bore the registered trademark logo “marque L. Vuitton déposée.” In 1892, Louis Vuitton died, and the company’s management passed to his son, who passed it on to his son…
And the rest, as they say, my friends, is histoire!