History of the Louis Vuitton Monogram

History of the Louis Vuitton Monogram

15th Oct 2019

We all have a mental library of brands and logos we can recognize easily, but it’s hard to think of any two letters that capture more than the iconic, interlocking L and V of the Louis Vuitton monogram. For hundreds of years, this signature monogram has set apart the items it marks with a powerful association of quality, luxury, and status. Reinvented and reinterpreted many times over, the Louis Vuitton logo is still one of the most recognized emblems around the world.

Louis Vuitton the person did not actually ever see his initials as the signature print for his creations. As Architectural Digest reports, the design debuted after his death. His son, Georges Vuitton, started marking his family’s trunks with the patented, italicized letters and “quatrefoils and flowers” in 1896. 

Louis Vuitton Bag Charm Puzzle

Louis Vuitton Bag Charm Key Holder

Fake Louis Vuittons were an issue even then, and, as Kajal Makija writes in her history of the brand, this monogram was an effective means of distinguishing the real, quality items that were already synonymous with luxury protection of travelers’ precious belongings.

The symbols followed the brand as it evolved with people’s needs. What started as a trunk and luggage business soon placed its mark on women’s handbags. Vogue gives a beautiful retrospective through time with photos of “actresses on the go” carrying monogrammed Louis Vuitton classics we still love today.

Louis Vuitton Petit Bucket Bag

Louis Vuitton Speedy 25

Louis Vuitton Keepall

As Lifestyle Asia details, the evolution of the monogram itself took off under the creative leadership of Marc Jacobs, who took the helm as Louis Vuitton’s Creative Director in 1997—100 years after the monogram was first introduced. Jacobs brought the monogram deeper into handbags—literally—imprinting the letters and floral signatures into the Monogram Vernis and, years later, into Empreinte Leather.

Louis Vuitton Brea Vernis

Louis Vuitton Pochette Metis Empreinte

Louis Vuitton Citadine Empreinte

Jacobs went on to partner with artists to reimagine the brand’s signature look. Stephen Sprouse’s graffiti letters were some of the most popular, along with the renovations by Takashi Murakami, who helped to bring this luxury into the eye of a whole new generation with the rainbow monogram.

Louis Vuitton Speedy Multicolor

Louis Vuitton Sarah Wallet Multicolor

Louis Vuitton Alma Multicolor

Other innovations saw the monogram in prints like the charm-inspired editions, and collaboration with Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama brought her undulating waves of polka dots over the classic canvas.

Louis Vuitton Limited Edition Charms Pochette

Louis Vuitton Yayoi Kusama Neverfull White

Louis Vuitton Speedy Kusama Yellow

After 16 years, Marc Jacobs left his Louis Vuitton post and was replaced by Balenciaga’s Nicolas Ghesquière, who literally put a new twist on the tried and true L and V.

Louis Vuitton Twist MM Epi

Louis Vuitton Twist Wallet Flower

Just like the original Louis Vuitton trunk will continue to appear in fresh and exciting ways through this design journey…

Louis Vuitton Cotteville

Louis vuitton Petite Malle Epi

…It’s safe to assume that the classic Louis Vuitton monogram will also endure even as new creative partnerships and explorations show up within it and alongside its steady presence.

Louis Vuitton Speedy Kabuki Cruise

Speedy Monogram Perforated

Louis Vuitton Neverfull Roses Monogram