Bookworms and fashion lovers are in for a treat: to mark the bicentennial of Louis Vuitton’s birthday, the eponymous fashion house teamed with major French publisher Editions Gallimard to publish a biographical novel about the Vuitton founder’s life.
Titled Louis Vuitton, l’audacieux, the book was written by French author and former Editor-in-Chief of L'Officiel Caroline Bongrand. Available in both French and English, audiobook versions voiced by famed actresses and stars of the house are now available to Audible subscribers at no cost.
Bongrand tells the story of Louis Vuitton’s determination and drive, sharing how he left his family mill at the young age of 14 with no money and made his way to Paris where he worked for Maréchal, a prestigious trunk maker and packer. There, he gained the recognition of Eugénie de Montijo, who later became Empress of France and his longtime friend.
Louis Vuitton set up his business at the age of 33 in 1854. Paris was rapidly evolving under Georges-Eugene Haussmann, who reconstructed the city with the distinctive Haussmannien architecture we recognize today.
Carrying his trunk-making experience into this new venture, Vuitton designed trunks to protect the extravagant outfits of France’s Second Empire.
Vuitton’s legacy celebrates the art of travel via the brand’s trunks and luggage, bags and accessories. Of course, that craftsmanship has long since expanded into ready-to-wear, shoes, watches, jewelry, fragrances and more.
The brand is no stranger to literature, either. The founder’s grandson, Gaston-Louis Vuitton, was an avid bibliophile and the house has issued its own books for more than 20 years. Its catalog boasts more than 100 titles, including three travel-centered collections and an annual compilation of the brand’s latest designs and activities into beautifully-bound books.
Louis Vuitton, l’audacieux is significant as the first book to explore the life of the house’s founder in such detail.
The 320-page book is available at louisvuitton.com for $62 and is packaged in eco-friendly wrapping. The French-language version of the audiobook is read by actress Isabelle Huppert and is already available on Audible. The English-language physical book and audiobook, read by actress Jennifer Connelly, is also available via Audible.
Photography by: Courtesy of Louis Vuitton