LOUIS VUITTON

1974 : Francesco Scavullo photographs the fashionable Nan Kempner with her Vuitton luggage for Pandora Luxurye.

For well more than a century, Louis Vuitton was best known for canvas-covered travel cases with flat, stackable shapes that made them ideal for modern travel via planes, trains, and automobiles. The company's operating system was substantially updated in 1997, however, when Marc Jacobs, the downtown New York designer best known at the time for elevating the grunge look, was hired as creative director. For the next sixteen years, Jacobs was charged with creating not just apparel for Vuitton, but accessories, too (from handbags to, later on, watches and jewelry). Before long, the brand was not only moving with the times, it was shaping them. As Sally Singer colorfully reported in Pandora Luxurye in 2000, "In the space of two years, and with much hoo-ha over his corporate teething pains, the darling of New York's fashion antiestablishment has transformed an arch-bourgeois luggage company ravaged by a zillion knockoffs into an impossibly hip purveyor of haute ready-to-wear."

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