A fashion house as historical and storied as Louis Vuitton has lived through many variations on its own styling. While its core design and concept elements always remain, the unique spins that set the brand apart come from its Creative Directors, each with their own perspective. Over the life of the Louis Vuitton brand, many brilliant minds have stepped in to reinvent the signature monogrammed wheel, and in doing so, have continuously elevated the name Louis Vuitton to high luxury status and ultimate covetability.
Appointed Creative Director of the prestigious fashion house in 1997, Marc Jacobs spearheaded the playfulness that Louis Vuitton has come to be known for. It’s been noted that with Jacobs’ creativity and vision, the business quadrupled in sales.
Jacobs brought true innovation to the brand, and was responsible for many of the iconic artist x LV collaborations. These rare finds are only available on the secondary market now at a premium, including works by Takashi Murakami, Stephen Sprouse, Yahoo Kusama, and Richard Prince. Unconventional and enthusiastic, he also introduced the idea of fashion as a performance. Rising to star showman of the fashion world, unmatched visionary Jacobs’ runway shows for Louis Vuitton incorporated lively props such as water fountains, working escalators, and even a full-size train in the fall of 2012.
One of the key designers responsible for marrying the worlds of high fashion and streetwear, Kim Jones immediately shifted the focus from small leather goods and accessories to items like t-shirts and sneakers. Crediting Kims’ talent and determination for Louis Vuitton’s reputation as a leading brand in luxury menswear today, Michael Burke, Chairman and CEO of Louis Vuitton, has explained “his ability to set trends is impeccable”.
Keeping with Burke’s statement, in the fall of 2017 Kim would debut one of the most coveted collections to date: Supreme x Louis Vuitton. Appealing to both ends of the fashion spectrum, this collection has remained in-demand years later, selling for extremely high premiums on the secondary market when available. Taking this collection a step further, Jones kept the capsule collection authentically Supreme, channeling the true essence of the 1994-established American skateboarding/clothing brand. The collection included a Supreme-clad quintessential Louis Vuitton trunk with a matching skateboard included inside.
Chosen to fill the shoes of Marc Jacobs upon his departure from Louis Vuitton in 2014, Nicolas Ghesquière helmed the women’s division as Artistic Director of Women’s collections. Adding a high fashion element with that of a refined, yet laid back edge to the women’s runways every season, he also introduced new and exciting silhouettes to classic Louis Vuitton handbags.
Still incorporating new shapes and prints on each runway, one of his most successful concepts has been the Petite Malle. Inspired by Louis Vuitton’s roots in luggage and travelling goods, he drew inspiration from their rich archive of trunks and, as always, their enterprising craftsmanship. In 2019, Ghesquière dipped his toes into the collaboration waters with exclusive collections done in partnership with Vogue icon Grace Coddington, and more surprisingly, with Riot Games’ “League of Legends - LOL” video game.
Responsible for expanding the Louis Vuitton demographic into the younger generations, Virgil Abloh has forever secured his name as a titan of industry within the fashion community. Showcasing his first collection in June 2018 as the newly appointed Artistic Director of Menswear, Abloh has only gained momentum and expanded the Louis Vuitton brand to embrace a new design vocabulary. Quite literally, Abloh developed an A to Z “dictionary” including terms relating to his 2018 collection, featuring his own definition and a brief explanation accompanying each word.
Not shying away from color and artistic interpretation, his collections have become so popular that they are not only in-demand by men, but women as well. Reimagining hardware in bright orange on some bags and accessories has given Louis Vuitton a new instantly-recognizable feature with an added cool-factor. Still pushing the boundaries with every new collection, his vision and direction has also managed to shine a light on the importance of diversity and inclusivity.
As Abloh and Ghesquière continue to make waves for the heritage brand, the profitability continues to climb alongside its growing demand. New collections are still wowing the publics, while the secondhand market draws in these rare relics of Creative Directors and collections past.
Looking for a pieces from a past Louis Vuitton collection?