Angelina Jolie was recently spotted motoring around LA with her eldest son Maddox, carrying a brand new Louis Vuitton Capucines Bag. The bag only comes in leather and is missing 99% of the conspicuous LV logos you’d usually expect to see, which is indicative of Louis Vuitton’s desire to capture more high-dollar customers with comparatively less flashy, more high-end leather products that appeal to a broader range of designer bag fans. The Capucines isn’t an entirely new design from LV of course, simply a reinvigorated one. You can purchase it for the very Angelina Jolie appropriate price tag of $5,150 at Louis Vuitton.

Angelina starred in a Louis Vuitton “Core Values” campaign back in 2011, so she’s definitely a friend of the brand. Now discontinued, the “Core Values” campaigns were meant to emphasize heritage over high fashion, promoting values such as craftsmanship, integrity, and the cosmopolitan nature of the brand. I have a hunch that the campaign mainly exists to help you free your mind of all the brand associations you have with the myriad of LV-lugging celebrities you love to loathe, if only for a moment.

Everyone loves handbags (everyone here, at least) and everyone loves animals (unless you’re a sociopath, in which case, I’m a little creeped out), so it’s not particularly surprising that the animal sculptures that Louis Vuitton commissioned from British artist Billie Achilleos have taken on a life of their own. Achilleos’ work was first intended for display at the brand’s London maison, but since its debut, the collection has traveled among some of Vuitton’s fanciest boutiques. Now that the animals are making a stop in the brand’s Waikiki store, there’s a new dude in town – a Louis Vuitton turtle. (more…)

Here’s NYC socialite/fashionista Olivia Palermo, sans hunky German fiance, carrying a “Jasper” red Louis Vuitton SC Satchel. The SC satchels have been a celeb favorite ever since their debut a few years ago. As Louis Vuitton fans already know, SC stands for Sofia Coppola, and this satchel is part of a capsule collection designed by the director. This much-beloved bag is still available from Louis Vuitton for $4,850. Designing a capsule collection for a high-end designer like Louis Vuitton seems a rather random undertaking for such a highly esteemed film director, but it helped, I suppose, that SC is a good pal of creative director Marc Jacobs.

Olivia’s unique necklace was made by the “The Maasai Project,” a venture from Pikolinos which employs women from the Kenyan Maasai tribe to make hand-crafted bags, shoes, and accessories, with all profits going towards development projects for the tribe. Olivia is an ambassador for the brand. (See, she does do something other than dress impeccably!)

Celebrity casting choices don’t often catch me by surprise – after all, most designer deck out their future ad girls in the brand’s wares for months before their partnerships are formally announced – but here we have Michelle Williams, starring in the ad campaign for two Fall 2013 Louis Vuitton Bags – the Louis Vuitton W Bag and the Louis Vuitton Capucines Bag.

The W Bag will likely remind many of you of the Celine Luggage Tote, with its flared gussets, double top handles and north-south central panel shape. The design chooses to over-emphasize the gussets in a couple of ways; first, by bringing them into the body of the bag itself, and also by outfitting them in contrasting Louis Vuitton monogram canvas on the ad version in particular. The W Bag is also available in versions that have tonal monogram at the gussets, but the contrast of print between the gussets and the body of the bag is ever-present.

The two preview ads we were given don’t depict the Capucines Bag, but longtime LV fans know what it’ll look like – the slim, trim shoulder bag with a long strap has an old Vuitton favorite, and it’s just the latest design to be reinvigorated as the brand looks to capitalize more heavily on its heritage to attract more high-spending customers.

The images, lensed by Peter Lindbergh, are pretty beautiful. I normally prefer actual models to do the work of models, but Williams looks gorgeous and has the kind of face that can do the subtly expressive work that big-campaign still photography requires. What do you think? This bag isn’t my favorite of the brand’s offerings, but I’m looking forward to seeing the images of the Capucines when the full campaign is released.

Michelle Williams Louis Vuitton W Bag 1

The Louis Vuitton Neverfull Bag may be one of the brand’s newest classics, but that doesn’t mean LV is in a rush to flood the market with as many different versions as possible. First, there was only monogram canvas, and then came Damier, both Eben and Azur. Today, we’re excited to bring you the first leather version of the ever-popular tote – the Louis Vuitton Epi Leather Neverfull Bag MM.

For the moment, the Epi Neverfull only comes in the medium MM size, which is probably just fine for most shoppers – it’s the most popular of the three options anyway. The initial run of the bag comes in seven colors, ranging from basic black to brights like yellow and orange, and boasts a microsuede interior. The bag retails for $1,990 and is available now, both at Louis Vuitton stores worldwide and LouisVuitton.com. We’d give you a direct link to the product page, but at present, the company’s website isn’t cooperating with our efforts to locate that page. (Or to open at all.) Luckily, we have a bunch of photos of the new bag, in all its colorful glory, below. (Update: Louis Vuitton has provided a link for the Neverfull that works!)

Designer minis are currently enjoying something of a celeb heydey. Case in point: here’s a very casual Miranda Kerr, carrying both her son Flynn and a Louis Vuitton Monceau BB Bag in NYC. The Monceau BB is a teensy tiny update on the classic LV Monceau design, which originally made its debut in 1986. I love this mini Monceau because of its very subtle branding (something Louis Vuitton certainly isn’t notorious for) and rich, gorgeous color. (You can read Amanda’s full review of the Monceau BB here.) If you’d like to steal a style note from Miranda Kerr, the Louis Vuitton Monceau BB Bag is currently available for $1,720 at Louis Vuitton.

Do whip out those credit cards fast ladies, because 3 out of 4 colors are already sold out online, including Miranda’s fuchsia pink “Indian Rose” version. (Let us all pray for a swift online restock!) Regular PB readers already know that Miranda has an unrivaled designer bag collection – you can get the full tour in “The Many Bags of Miranda Kerr”, and “The Many Bags of Miranda Kerr, Part Two”. Yes, it’s a two parter, and rightfully so!

Louis Vuitton knows just how we like to commemorate an occasion: with a new bag. To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Louis Vuitton Cup serving as a qualifier to the America’s Cup yacht race, the brand has opened a pop-up shop on the San Francisco Bay and stocked it with all of the Vuitton sports gear you could want. That includes one very special, limited edition bag: the Louis Vuitton San Francisco Neverfull Tote Bag.

The store also has limited-run San Francisco beach towels and sandals, but the bag, the latest in the Articles de Voyage Neverfull series, is naturally where our curiosity lies. If you’re a San Francisco native or resident with a lot of pride in your city and a love for Louis Vuitton, this piece is a total must-have. If Vuitton ever made one for Atlanta, I’d snatch it up in a second, so I can imagine that the SF version will be gone before you know it. The bag, which retails for $1,430, is only available at the SF pop-up until the America’s Cup concludes on September 21, so head down to Pier 27/29 while you still can.

Below, check out some photos of the temporary shop, which focuses on LV’s sportier products, plus some of the chic non-handbag items that will fill it.

Here’s a very sporty Reese Witherspoon, carrying a cheerful cherry red Louis Vuitton Epi Noe Bag. Louis Vuitton is putting special emphasis (or re-emphasis, as the case may be) on this classic design for 2013 – they’ve even rolled out a miniaturized Noe BB version, but it appears as though Reese is carrying the full size version here. As of this posting, there’s only an empty holding page for the Petit Noe BB, but you can purchase the Louis Vuitton Petite Noe (which is in between the regular and BB Noe, size-wise) for $1,530 at Louis Vuitton.

A fun fact that many of you hardcore Louis Vuitton afficionados might already be aware of: the Noe was first designed to fit a bottle of champagne! (When the free paper bag from the liquor store simply won’t suffice.) I seriously doubt the Petit Noe can make that same claim, but maybe it’s big enough for a piccolo or two?

Men’s luxury bags and accessories used to be a woefully underserved market, but you wouldn’t know that based on all the beautiful things that have graced the runways during the current men’s show season. We’ve got some exclusive images on the way from several Italian shows, but for right now, we’d like to take you into the American road trip-inspired world of Louis Vuitton Spring 2014 Men’s Bags and Accessories. Now this is a vacation we’d like to take.

These official images from Vuitton show a collection of accessories that are, in several ways, traditional. Not only do they recall the satchels, backpacks and duffel bags that men have been using on road trips for years, but they combine those familiar silhouettes with classic Vuitton signatures, like several plays on the well-known Damier check pattern. Those include perforations both exaggerated and infinitely small, plus a number of different scale options rendered in beautiful tan and sage green leathers. Oh, and those wildflower pins that the models are wearing? Those are all hand-made out of feathers. Check out all the photos below.

Unless you became a Louis Vuitton collector literally decades ago, you probably can’t imagine the brand without Marc Jacobs, Vuitton’s creative director of 16 years, who revolutionized the brand’s handbag business, started an industry-wide trend of artist collaborations and positioned the company firmly at the nexus of fashion and pop culture. Yesterday morning, though, Fashionista reported that industry rumors and its own anonymous sources indicate that Jacobs’ long tenure as head of the brand may be coming to an end when his contract runs out in 2014.

Vuitton and Jacobs are currently still in negotiations to renew the contract, and if Jacobs left, it would be of his own volition. After all, he’s presided over a decade and a half of record sales and profits for the leather goods company, and despite LVMH’s recent desire to take Vuitton in a direction that’s more appealing to the highest end of the market, the brand seems to be comfortable with the idea that Jacobs is still the man for the job. He may have other ideas, though, and in his absence, rumors indicate former Balenciaga chief Nicolas Ghesquiere might be the heir to the throne at the world’s most important luxury brand.

Jacobs recently appointed two high-profile names, Kate Hillier and Luella Bartley, to revamp his Marc by Marc Jacobs brand, admitting that it had fallen behind the burgeoning contemporary market. With the pressure of overseeing four full collections a year for three distinct brands, perhaps Jacobs thinks its time to scale back his responsibilities and focus on the lines that bear his name. In recent years, the Marc Jacobs brand has also fallen behind some of its competitors, especially in the uber-profitable accessories and shoe businesses, even though Jacobs’ shows are still among the most influential in the world. It’s been since the Stam Bag, in the mid-2000s, that Jacobs’ flare for accessories brought his own brand an overwhelming hit.

Although all of this is just gossip, it makes a certain amount of sense, considering the timing and strategies of all the brands and designers involved. The only real question I see involves Ghesquiere; although his motorcycle bags sold well at Balenciaga, his designs, no matter how beloved by fashion people, were generally not retail gold. For a company like Vuitton, that just won’t fly, even though he is unquestionably the most gifted free agent on the design market right now. With the devoted Vuitton fanbase and Ghesquiere’s artistic talent, though, commerce might not prove to be a problem, should these rumors turn into reality.

If you’re a fan of Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs or Nicolas Ghesquiere (which might be all of you, actually), let us known your thoughts on these prospective moves in the comments!

Follow Closely