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5 Reasons Why the GO-14 is a Louis Vuitton Staple

Let's break it down...

In the wide world of fashion, it comes as a surprise to exactly no one that the heritage houses of today aren’t just trying to sell us a bag, a shoe, or a $2,000 neck brace. More often than not, what they’re trying to sell is an entire lifestyle, a piece of their centuries’ old brand DNA, condensed into said bag, shoe, or neck brace.

So, of course, amid the Russian roulette of Creative Director hirings that places a design genius on the pedestal one day, only to axe them the next, the more effectively you’re able to translate the label’s legacy into a substantially sellable, distinctive (but heaven forbid if it’s easily replicable) product, the longer you get to stay. 

It is also for this exact reason that the singular monsieur Nicolas Ghesquière has had one of the most celebrated creative runs in recent fashion history, commemorating the tenth anniversary of his tenure at Louis Vuitton earlier this year. 

His secret? Why, a star handbag, of course! 

In fact, perhaps nobody has had as much success in encapsulating a brand within a single purse as Ghesquière. So today, it is one of his most emblematic designs for the house of Vuitton that we take a deeper look at: the Louis Vuitton GO-14.

1. In Keeping with His Lucky Streak

From the early-aughts days of his era-defining Motorcycle bag (that, in a moment of peak Y2K nostalgia, recently returned to the fashion scene in the arms of Kate Moss), purses have been integral to Nicholas Ghesquière’s career trajectory.

Unlike Balenciaga, however, Louis Vuitton has always relied on the sale of luxury carryalls, its monogram-emblazoned Alma, Speedy, and Neverfulls undergoing countless kitschy makeovers and pop-artist collabs under predecessor Marc Jacobs. When taking over the creative reigns, therefore, Ghesquière took Vuitton leatherware into overdrive with a smattering of fresh pieces that, instead of playing into the nostalgia of the monogram, adopted a more streamlined, contemporary aesthetic that still paid homage to longstanding house codes.

And almost as a direct manifestation of Vuitton’s origins as a luggage label in 1854, the most prominent among Ghesquière’s debut offerings for Spring 2015 was the GO-14 bag, an acronym of Ghesquière October 2014, the date of its unveiling.

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An early rendition of the GO-14 courtesy of TPF member vinbenphon1

2. Malletage, the Art of Invisible Luxury

The runway lineup was as expansive as it was refreshing, with models strutting boldly down the catwalk; new styles, like the Twist and the Petit Malle in tow. But what remained the most striking of the lot was a never-before-seen range of quilted pieces, which, alongside the GO-14, also comprised the Alma and the Speedy.

In fact, upon first glance, the quilting felt rather reminiscent of Chanel, and indeed, eager netizens were quick to point out the resemblances. Soon, however, it became clear that this was no ordinary quilting, but instead, the Malletage, a detail once hidden in the depths of Vuitton’s historic trunk. 

Previously reduced to its sole capacity of providing padding and security to documents, the GO-14, along with the Malletage Speedy, Alma, and Petit Malle, now prominently featured this pillowy, crisscross overstitched lambskin pattern. And when paired with the new LV twist lock, the Malletage formed an entirely new graphic signature in clear contrast to the original monogram print.

Louis Vuitton Fall 2014 Handbags 26
A Malletage Alma from Ghesquière’s debut collection

Thus, by bringing forth a hitherto invisible element to the forefront of fashion, Ghesquière noted, “There are certain universal codes unique to Louis Vuitton, It was about reappropriating and transposing them into a new setting.”

3. Going Back to the GO-14, Yet Again

But despite its initial successes, much of the Malletage lineup, including the GO-14, had been discontinued by 2019, in favor of the burgeoning trend towards maximalist logomania that had slid into the zeitgeist, apace with the archival revival movement.

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Léa Seydoux with the Pico GO-14

Later for Fall 2023, the GO-14 was revived, this time in a slew of new colorways, both neutral and monochrome, and in three sizing options – the GM, MM, and the mini Pico. And with its resurgence right at the peak of the shift towards quiet luxuries, nearly a decade after its original inception, its popularity seemed like a no-brainer, popping up across Vuitton’s marketing pushes, perched gracefully atop the arms of celebrities such as Emma Stone, Chloë Grace Moretz, Léa Seydoux, Gemma Chan and Cate Blanchett, and across Instagram FYPs everywhere.

Plus, with only a year to go for Ghesquière’s decennial celebrations, the revival of the GO-14 seemed like a fitting homage to one of the longest tenures of a creative director in recent fashion history!

4. Mastery of Magnificence

Dubbed “a commencement and a culmination” in Vuitton’s savoir-faire video, the GO-14 demands a hefty creative process, with over 20 different steps required in the bag’s assemblage, extreme precision in the application of the 17-metre long gallon trim (which ultimately renders it much more difficult to perfect compared to traditional quilting), and a toasted, patinated satin finish resulting in subtle gradations of color and an almost iridescent shimmer all throughout.

But it’s not just that; with the reintroduction of the GO-14 into its lineup, and by extensively highlighting its behind-the-scenes creative process via marketing efforts, Vuitton underscored its renewed emphasis on leatherware as a means to elevating its status from the monogram canvas-peddling luggage-maker of the past, and ultimately aligned with its strategy of – you guessed it – exclusivity.

Louis Vuitton GO 14 Bag Review
The colorways of the new GO-14

5. Prices Only Continue to Rise

In true Vuitton fashion, therefore, it comes as a no-brainer that the relaunched GO-14 is priced at a significant premium over its original prices from 2014. In fact, where the original PM and MM sizes had retailed for $3,950 and $4,300, respectively in 2023, the mini new Pico variant was marked at a substantial $4,450, with the MM and the GM at $6,750 and $7,450 concurrently.

But with purse prices reaching for the stars, it’s likely that the GO-14 shall only continue to rise in price in the coming years (if not months). And this has divided buyers into two distinct camps – some attributing Chanel’s Flap (now having reached $10,000) to possess greater staying power, while others have cited Chanel’s quality issues in favor of the higher level of craftsmanship that goes into the GO-14.

Either way, it’s clear that if the GO-14 is for you, there’s no better time to buy it than now. And at the end of the day, be it through outlandish, dreamlike runway presentations or a commercially savvy purse repertoire, Ghesquière’s genius in melding the past and the present of a heritage house remains unmatched.  

It is, after all, Ghesquière’s world. We’re only living in it.

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Passerine
Passerine
20 days ago

The GO-14 is a nice bag and from the ones I’ve handled, well made. But I just don’t like the LV closure, a little too gaudy for my taste. I think my black Alma PM Malletage is a more elegant choice (and yes, more conservative — I prefer that, but I get why some might call it staid/old-fashioned).

Kim
Kim
14 days ago
Reply to  Passerine

I’m with you–that closure makes it a no-deal for me.

Georgina S
Georgina S
15 days ago

I’m sorry but the tan brown one looks like a Christmas ham!!

Anastasia
Anastasia
15 days ago
Reply to  Georgina S

Exactly! String ham.

Nyp0022
Nyp0022
20 days ago

This looks tacky and trashy – Pharrell has excellent style himself but his designs are hideous

Robyn
Robyn
15 days ago
Reply to  Nyp0022

Pharrell is CD for LV men. This isn’t his design 🙄

Laurie kucic
Laurie kucic
17 days ago

I have two 14s, and they are stunning. I couldnt be happier. Ive moved into lv after so many chanels. See the bag in person before making decisions.

Adangerousbeauti
Adangerousbeauti
13 days ago

LV is running out of ideas