Published in: April 2009 Features > Original Packing: Louis Vuitton Bespoke Luggage (Page 1 / 3)
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Original Packing: Louis Vuitton Bespoke Luggage

For an exclusive group of travelers the only Louis Vuitton case or trunk carried is a special-order item. Nicholas Rushworth joins Patrick-Louis Vuitton in the malletier's Paris workshop for a journey down memory lane - and a view of some up-to-the-minute creations

Louis Vuitton workshop beside the old family mansion at Asnieres, Paris

A veritable treasure trove where the booty is in the trunk: this is 16 rue Louis Vuitton in the Paris suburb of Asnieres, Louis Vuitton's original workshop and a shrine to the art of travel. It's also a former family home to the suavely avuncular pipe-smoking Patrick-Louis Vuitton, great-great grandson of the malletier's founder. We meet in the log-fired art nouveau drawing room, where Patrick-Louis designs some of the company's special orders.

“One of my biggest challenges recently came from a Chinese client,” he says. “He wanted to be able to watch television and offer coffee to his friends wherever he travelled in the world, including the remotest desert. We sat at the dining table here for an hour and sketched the trunk of his dreams. We agreed to put two solar panels linked to a battery for the flat-screenTV and DVD player, two-way radio, tuner and coffee machine. But in the production stage we encountered a technical problem. While there was enough electricity for the TV, there wasn't enough to heat the water. This is something we had to sort out. A year on, our client is delighted.”

Loius Vuitton Bespoke Luggage 1 1

(Left) Patrick-Louis Vuitton, great-great grandson of the malletier's founder, designs special orders in the Paris workshop; (Right) Trunk with radio created by Gaston L Vuitton in 1937