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 The Monceau BB is a teensy tiny update on the classic LV Monceau design, which originally made its debut in 1986.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!

New York-area Louis Vuitton lovers (or any of you planning a visit to the city) are in luck. The brand has just unveiled the Atelier at Louis Vuitton Soho, a customization and artistry shop that celebrates the savoir faire of the brand, as well as performing a few more practical functions. It’s also, as you might imagine, a totally gorgeous space, and I was lucky enough to preview it last week.

Inside Vuitton’s Greene Street flagship, you’ll find a room fill of the Louis Vuitton store experience you know and love, a room dedicated entirely to the art and science of traveling glamorously, and finally a room dedicated to the Atelier, the first space of its kind in the US (as well as, I’m told, the only one so elaborately appointed anywhere in the world). In addition to displaying a selection of Vuitton artwork and archival trunks, including one covered in a painting of a penguin, the Atelier will feature a daily in-house artisan, available to hand-paint customizations on hard-sided luggage, heat stamp monograms onto things like luggage tags and perform minor repairs on customers’ existing Vuitton pieces. For some examples of that work, check out the gallery below.

Even if you don’t have a Louis Vuitton trunk that you’d like to emblazon with your family’s crest (yes, the Soho Atelier is one of only a couple in the world that will do crests!), it’s simply a joy to watch the artist work and inspect the beautifully customized trunks, both historic and contemporary, that line the space’s shelves. An emphasis on personalization and brand history also goes along well with Vuitton’s strategy shift to focusing on a more rarified clientele; I got a luggage tag heat-stamped with my initials on Thursday night at the opening, and having something personalized is a unique luxury shopping experience indeed.

We’ve talked about Louis Vuitton, the business, quite a bit lately, so we thought it might be a nice change of pace to consider, for a moment, Louis Vuitton, the bags. Although the company is in the middle of a strategy change, the bags that are beloved by millions are still there, still being updated and embellished in clever ways to satisfying the ceaseless churn of fashion. For Pre-Fall 2013, that willingness to play on classics has yielded the Louis Vuitton Speedy Damier Paillettes.

The bag comes in a black-and-brown version, below, that mimics the traditional Damier Ebene fabric, but I’m feeling particularly partial to the navy embellishment that you see above. Navy is going to be a huge trend for fall, but it’s slightly under the radar now, and this kind of slightly sparkly nod to the look is a perfect way to experiment. The navy leather handles and clochette are also a nice touch, and as always, a big advantage Damier is that the trim isn’t vachetta and won’t wear as obviously as it does on the monogram bags. (I personally like how the vachetta wears, but my opinion on that subject is far from universally held.)

These bags likely won’t inspire love from people who think Vuitton’s signature moves are getting old, but the brand has a wide, ardent base of customers who love designs exactly like this one. Personally, I think all bag lovers need at least one Speedy in their collections, and for some of you, this one might be it. When Pre-Fall 2013 bags hit stores soon, you’ll be able to pick this one up for $2,360 via Louis Vuitton. For now, you can shop the brand via its official website.

Louis Vuitton Damier Sequin Speedy Bag Black

Do not adjust your television set. There is nothing wrong with your web browser. Your eyes do not deceive you, today’s featured bag-loving celeb is…a man. And what a man! Here’s Hugh Jackman in full-on Wolverine mode, tossing his Louis Vuitton Damier Graphite Keepall Bandouliere 55 Bag into a taxi in NYC. A hot man with a hot designer bag…ladies, don’t be alarmed if your panties suddenly burst into flames. You can get this versatile Louis Vuitton piece for $1,600 at Louis Vuitton.

I far prefer this LV bag to the traditional monogrammed pieces we’ve seen on PB in recent weeks. While all Vuitton’s travel pieces are unisex (in theory), this bag is certainly masculine enough to compete with Hugh’s rippling biceps. The checkered Damier Graphite pattern is far more unassuming, and the print doesn’t even scream Louis Vuitton quite so loudly (though the full LV name is certainly on there). It looks less like a flashy status symbol, and more like a high-end gym bag. And what could be manlier than that?

The last time we mentioned Louis Vuitton’s exclusivity problem, you guys had a lot to say, and much of it was demonstrative of the challenges that Vuitton faces going forward – how does a company whose incredibly recognizable logo bags have become ubiquitous maintain its air of exclusivity for top-tier customers? And if those top-tier customers leave, will customers at the lower tiers go looking for their little slice of luxury elsewhere? Is this a problem that Louis Vuitton has waited too long to fix? Based on the double-digit dip that the company’s value took last year, things could be better at LVMH’s flagship brand. (more…)

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