Through his 16-year tenure at Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs has always had his women. Some designers keep their muses private, but Jacobs has always placed front and center the women who he finds inspirational, from American filmmaker Sofia Coppola, to Brazilian model Gisele Bundchen, to French acting legend Catherine Deneuve and beyond. For the Louis Vuitton Spring 2014 ad campaign, his final for the brand, Jacobs has put those women front and center (more…)

Despite the fact that plenty of people do it and plenty of brands want you to give it a shot, traveling with expensive luggage or carry-on bags makes me nervous. The airport is…just so disgusting. It makes me want to hand-sanitize my entire body, and as difficult as that might be, it’s even less possible when it comes to your bags. So far, the best compromise I’ve come up with for traveling in style is with a vintage bag, like this Louis Vuitton Vintage Epi Leather Travel Bag. [UPDATE: Our commenters have identified the bag as a Louis Vuitton Taiga Kendall!] (more…)

Not long ago, we took a closer look at why, exactly, designer handbags cost as much as they do. Materials and labor play a part, of course, but a lot of money goes into convincing consumers that the ultra-pricey pieces have the aura of glamour and luxury that makes sky-high price tags seem appropriate. There’s no more direct way to create that image than advertising; brands can perfectly orchestrate a scene around a purse or pair of shoes to give the a product just the right high-end context and then present that image to consumers without the middle-man of a magazine stylist or a department store window dresser. Case in point: Louis Vuitton’s new ad campaign with David Bowie and Arizona Muse. (more…)

The rumors have finally been confirmed: Nicolas Ghesquiere, formerly of Balenciaga, will replace Marc Jacobs as the creative head behind Louis Vuitton’s women’s division, according to an announcement made by the brand on its official Twitter account this morning. Women’s Wear Daily reports that the first collection in Ghesquiere’s tenure at Vuitton will be the Fall 2014 show in March. (more…)

Kanye West is a man with many thoughts. Thoughts about art, thoughts about Kim Kardashian, thoughts about his own brilliance and, as it turns out, thoughts about Louis Vuitton. West once regularly referred to himself as the “Louis Vuitton Don” in his lyrics, but those days have passed us by. These days, Kanye thinks about Vuitton what many of you seem to think: that the brand could use a little price adjustment. (more…)

We’ve thoroughly discussed Louis Vuitton’s plans to target more up-market customers and discourage entry-level luxury shoppers from flocking to the brand like they have in the past, and now that more and more of the brand’s Fall 2013 handbag collection is becoming available via its website, the ways that those plans will shape the brand’s leather goods going forward are coming into stark relief. Not only does Vuitton’s repositioning mean more all-leather bags, but it means the iconic monogram canvas will be used in more high-end ways. Among the first of those attempts are the Louis Vuitton Monogram Exotique Bags. (more…)

We’ve been following along with the story of Louis Vuitton’s very publicly shifting accessories strategy very closely, and each time we update you on it, you guys have a lot to say. The story and Vuitton’s attitudes toward its customers bring out a lot of opinions, both for and against the brand’s attempts to shift its focus to a more leather-centric, higher-dollar customer, but we’ve never asked you guys straight-up whether or not the shift has affected your own purchasing behavior. Today, we want to find out.

First, we figure that you guys fit into two groups: people who consider themselves current Vuitton customers and those who do not. For those who consider them customers, especially those of you who buy primarily from the canvas lines (monogram or otherwise), do you feel slighted by LV’s attitude toward its entry-level customers? Do you consider yourself an entry-level costumer of the brand? Do you feel less likely to shop with Vuitton because of its attitude, and if you do, where will you be spending your handbag dollars in the future?

If you’re not currently a Louis Vuitton customer but shop from other high-end handbag lines, this shift in Vuitton’s strategy is targeted toward you. Do you find the idea of more discreet, logo-absent Vuitton leather goods interesting? Would you be willing to spend $4,000 or more on a leather bag from the brand if you liked the design and thought the materials merited the price, or do visions of teenagers carrying monogram Neverfulls dance in your head no matter what? Will the upcoming change in creative leadership, rumored to be focused on former Balenciaga designer Nicolas Ghesquiere, affect your opinion, or do you feel like your perceptions of Louis Vuitton are already set in stone, for better or for worse?

Much has been made, both by us and by our commenters, over Louis Vuitton’s highly publicized strategy shift toward higher prices in hopes of discouraging entry-level luxury consumers and appealing more to customers in the Hermes income bracket. The strategy includes both price-increases on existing products and the production of more top-tier bags in leather and exotics instead of Vuitton’s signature coated canvas (often with its attendant monogram), and the latest bag to show up as a result of those plans is the Louis Vuitton Alma Bag in Taurillon Leather. (more…)

According to the Telegraph, third quarter growth for LVMH weakened to just two percent, an outcome which the conglomerate’s recent shift in strategy probably predicted. Although that’s still growth, it’s certainly a marked shift from what the world’s largest luxury company is used to and the kind of growth its counted on in the past. In LVMH’s heyday, quarterly grown was often as high as ten percent, and it had fallen to five to six percent earlier this year.

Although LVMH, which owns Louis Vuitton in addition to noted handbag purveyors like Celine, Dior and Givenchy, doesn’t break results down by brand, it does indicate which product categories have been weakest, and apparently this decline in growth is a result of decreased sales in the formerly cash-flush categories of fashion and leather goods, perfume and cosmetics and watches and jewelry. Those are the “Big Three” categories that luxury companies can usually rely on to bring in the steadiest cash flow.

Louis Vuitton has long been LVMH’s biggest cash cow, and perception problems with its monogram bags have begun to haunt the brand. Namely, customers at the highest end of the market, those who shop the most frequently and spend the most money, perceive Vuitton to be a brand that caters to a less sophisticated segment of the market, to put it delicately. When you pair that with a market that no longer makes Celine Luggage Totes and Trapeze Bags disappear off the shelves instantly (and with no super-buzzy replacement in sight from Celine), LVMH’s shift in strategy seems well-timed.

As we told you when the story first broke, LVMH’s strategy is to go after those big-fish customers that are now somewhat leery of its marquee brand. That means raising prices overall to discourage low-end customers and renewing the company’s focus on leather instead of monogram canvas. The first indicators of that strategy have already reached the public, including producing the entry-level Neverfull bag in pricey leather and introducing several all-leather bags with more limited use of the company’s logo.

Considering all of that, Marc Jacobs’ recent exodus from the brand comes at what may, in fact, be an opportune time. Even though Jacobs was generally an enormous boon to Louis Vuitton’s handbag business, it appears that his particular brand of magic was beginning to wear off. Fashion is almost always willing to reconsider a historic name with a new creative talent at the helm (hello, Celine), so if LVMH ever gets Nicolas Ghesquiere to sign on the dotted line, we might be in for some fun.

Wednesday’s news that Marc Jacobs would make his Louis Vuitton Spring 2014 show his last as the creative leader of the brand was a lot of things, but it wasn’t exactly surprising. Rumors had been swirling for months that talks to extend Jacobs’ 16-year tenure at the brand weren’t going anywhere, and in the days before the show, news outlets like Women’s Wear Daily reported that the decision had been made that Jacobs would leave to focus on expanding his own brand, in which LVMH is a major investor. It’s a major move that has a lot of implications across the fashion industry, starting with the rumors about who will take over at Louis Vuitton and what it means for the brand’s bags. (more…)

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