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In 1896, George Vuitton, son of Louis Vuitton, created the iconic LV monogram pattern and applied it to his luggage company's coveted flat-top trunk as an anti-counterfeiting measure. More than a century later and the design continues to be one of the most recognizable motifs in fashion, and, alongside Goyard's chevron print, has become the ultimate status symbol for the world's wealthiest. For many, luggage remains the most insouciant way to stunt it.
In recent years, the monogram has undergone several manifestations as artistic directors have bid to put their own stamp on the house. First came Marc Jacobs, who enlisted the help of Stephen Sprouse and applied roses to the beloved Keepall bag in 2001. Jacobs followed that up with a Takashi Murakami collaboration, yielding the Multicolore handbag that soon became an "it" item among the Hollywood elite.
It might have been nearly two decades ago, but Jacobs laid a street foundation that would change the course of the house's modern history.
If Jacobs' partnerships deviated from tradition, it was merely an hors d'oeuvre ahead of his successor, the streetwear-obsessed Kim Jones, whose game-changing work with Supreme for FW17 notably saw a red and white Malle Courrier Trunk eventually sell for upwards of $100,000 at auction.
Now, at Louis Vuitton's Paris Fashion Week menswear show yesterday, Virgil Abloh put his own unmissable spin on the monogram.
As the show reached its close, models clad in black took to the runway clutching what appeared to be a glow-in-the-dark Keepall. Immediately, the internet was abuzz, with the likes of Bella Hadid quick to flag the bags up on Instagram. Celebrities were no doubt already thinking about how their Instagram like count would explode as they strike a pose while clutching this luminous embodiment of clout. With logomania already running riot, setting the already-uber-covetable LV monogram aglow is a siren song for the world's most influential.
After some cursory research post-show, it appears that — rather than lume — the holdalls are actually powered by a battery. While it's unclear whether the bags will ever go on sale, or whether they're even functional for day-to-day use, Abloh has created a piece that will generate hype for his new collection — hype that can be parlayed into cold, hard sales. As Louis Vuitton CEO Michael Burke revealed last week, Abloh's first collection is already outselling the brand's Supreme collab, with a “particularly strong demand for tailored ready-to-wear, mini trunks in white leather, and transparent and iridescent weekend bags.”
As someone who spends a quite ridiculous amount of time at airports, it should come as no surprise that Abloh knows how to get people talking about something as essentially mundane as luggage. Recall how his transparent case collection with RIMOWA last year completely sold out. Abloh's first season with Louis Vuitton was popular, but season two, sparked by its glowing bags, promises to be even bigger.
Now, read our full review of Louis Vuitton's FW19 show at Paris Fashion Week.