Interviews with Patrick-Louis Vuitton


Aug 20, 2006
I found them in web... They may be old but I hope You will enjoy them.;)
Patrick Louis Vuitton

"I am quiet as a grave"

Interview: Katharina Zilkowski

A cult luggage firm based in Paris celebrates its 150th birthday and really lives it up. Like no other trend label in the world, Louis Vuitton stands for luxury and glamour, for finest quality and magic in leather.

Lord over the empire of bags and suitcases is Patrick Louis Vuitton (52), great-grandson of company founder Louis Vuitton. As director for custom-made designs he is not only chief ambassador, but also master craftsman of the house.
With his pipe and his Schanuzer dog (family tradition), he seems like a sort of Hercule Poirot of the suitcase closet. BUNTE visited him at his company.

BUNTE: We are sitting here in Asnières, near Paris, at the Louis-Vuitton factory which is also the place where you were raised.

Patrick Louis Vuitton: Yes, I was born here more than 50 years ago and I have lived here for 35 years, just like the entire Vuitton family. As kids we played in the factory and in the vegetable garden. And we built shacks on the lawn, where the cottonwood was dried for the suitcases.

At first, you denied the family tradition and wanted to become a veterinarian.

That was just an idea [I had] back then. I wanted to live on the countryside to take care of animals. My grandfather, who died in 1970, told me every day I should come to the factory with him which, in the end, I did.
I have learned all Louis-Vuitton crafts, first I did an apprenticeship as a carpenter, then I became a furrier and then I learned how to make a suitcase. I can build a suitcase from A to Z.

You take care of Haute Couture, i.e. special orders. What do the great eccentrics of the world demand?

The tradition of special orders goes back to the first Louis Vuitton, today we’re the only house worldwide. We can build a photograher’s material into a bag, we pack the flute of a musician up to the centimeter, or the favorite material of a businessman who is travelling a lot.

You have also made the changing bag for style icon Sarah Jessica Parker.

Yes, yes. But I cannot say much about that, she is a customer like all the others. That means, I am silent as a grave, but neither do I take a special bow before Hollywood.

Then there was the beauty case of Sharon Stone...

She had three copies made. It was a pleasure to work with such an elegant lady. The other things we do for stars must remain secret. People like that develop real spleens that say a lot about them. There are customers who want the lining of their bag made out of the material of their favorite boxer shorts.

Tell us more, you don’t have to give us names.

There is a singer who is horribly fussy. Inside her suitcase, she has a letter case that is laid out in such a way that all products, from make-up to vitamins, and the talismans, are in the right order and in the corresponding format. I then had to sit with her in the backstage area for two evenings as a craftsman in order to propose a design to her.

What does Luxury mean to you?

To return from a trip and to be greeted by my dogs. To be alone on my sailboat. Luxury is a lot of small moments that you enjoy intensely and when you don’t have to look at the watch.

("Read the entire interview with Patrick Louis Vuitton in the current issue #4 of BUNTE.")


We met with Patrick Vuitton representing the Louis Vuitton House in the 5th generation. He kindly agreed to give an exclusive interview to our magazine.

- Where does the legendary history of the Louis Vuitton House begin?
- It began in 1821 when my great-great-grandfather Louis Vuitton was born in a joiner's family in a small village of Anchay in Franche-Comte, France. When 14, he left home and within a year reached Paris having covered the distance on foot. In 1837 he got a job with Marechal where he upholstered chests with crinoline. Soon he became the favorite master of Empress Eugenia. In 1854 he decided to create his House and invented a flat suitcase to get adjusted to the new conditions of travel. Short time after he opened his atelier near the Paris Opera House. Currently "Louis Vuitton" owns 314 shops all over the world.

- What hasn't changed with time?
- Our constant concern about the quality, the desire to bring about novelties, produce items for travel by the technology of the past epoch with the use of the same materials (poplar, aucumea) which have a long service period.

- Does your House have any products that never fall out of fashion?
- Of course, we do. These are travel coffers and grip-sacks, as well as soft bags as "Kepall" created as far back as in 1924 being the predecessor of all modern bolster-shaped bags. "Noah" was designed in 1932 for a champagne producer who needed a bag holding 5 bottles. These 2 things have been our bestsellers for already more than 75 years. The "Stokowski" secretaire-case was elaborated in 1936 for Leopold Stokowski, one of the most celebrated conductors of the century. This coffer is still being produced in our atelier in Asnieres, a suburb of Paris, and is enjoying a great demand.

- You've been at the helm of the Asnieres atelier for 30 years. Can you remember any special requirements of the indulged clients?
- We initially offer a wide range of goods; however, to meet special demands we have the "Special Orders" service under my supervision. Such an order can be made in any of our shops. E.g., in 1875 Pierre Savorgnan de Brazza, a Congo explorer, came to the Asnieres atelier to explain to Louis Vuitton his demands for the expedition. As a result there appeared a series of water- and dust-proof chests of zinc and leather and a bed-case of camphor tree the smell of which rids you of mosquitoes. Quite recently one of our clients ordered a small travel trunk with 2 crystal glasses to have champagne on board the plane from his own goblets. By the way, I draw many models (e.g., of a purse, a picnic-bag or grip-sacks) and make them myself from beginning to end. I designed the first case for 1000 cigars and now it's part of our collection.

- Where else is your produce manufactured?
- We have 11 ateliers all over France, one - in California, and one - in Spain, the country having old traditions of leather processing. Each atelier has the staff of 200-220 people.

- Which "Louis Vuitton" product is the most expensive?
- For example, the alligator-leather secretaire-case. It took us a year to find suitable leather for it. Unfortunately, we don't have the right to make the prices and our clients' names public.

- What's the secret of a genuine "Louis Vuitton" bag? Is it the lock?
- It's rather a special lock which makes our luggage the symbol of inviolability and allows to reproduce the same key to all the baggage purchased by the client during his/her lifetime. This method was invented and implemented by George Vuitton in 1890 on the basis of a 5-flute lock. Each lock was numbered and one key opened the entire luggage. Recently we've launched a 6-flute lock.

- The "Vuitton" brand is a proof that A1 products are always in fashion. Are your goods meant for a wide range of customers?
- Our clientele embraces different social layers. In our shops one can find a trunk at the price of several thousands euros along with a pocket accessory made of fabric with our monogram for 170 euros.

- Your produce demonstrates obvious signs of evolution. What are your further plans?
- To perform successfully another 150 years!


Dec 26, 2006
I read this same interview on another forum and loved it!
I also wondered about some of the bags I think are fake that the stars carry could possible be special orders for them and just not available for the public, i.e. Paris Hilton's multicolor papillon.
Jun 29, 2006
^^ the thing that's been said about Paris' pap, tho, is that the MC canvas is doesn't have the right pattern of colors on it. If it were a special order, it should have the right canvas.

And awesome interviews, thanks for posting! I wish I had the money to special order something really cool...or buy a luggage piece...was in LV today and looked at the catalog, they have cool trunks! one had a desk that could fold out!
Feb 8, 2006
Thank you for posting!! My goal is to own a travel trunk from LV. I love hearing from him. I love the way he never says his product is just for the super rich, I read an interview once that said he was really touched once when he was in the Paris store and saw a young girl hand over a years worth of savings to buy her speedy 25.