Louis Vuitton Alma and Coco Chanel

shinymagpie

vintage bag lady
Mar 29, 2008
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Although all these stories are very interesting I would love to have a source to refer to for these facts. I can't seem to find any reputable source online that states Chanel carried or designed the Alma.
Chanel did not design the Alma and I don't think anyone is claiming that she did. I did find a reference specifically to an Alma being made for Chanel in 1925. That reference was a Japanese brand magazine for collectors of LV, written in Japanese. These magazine have very long detailed articles about various points of history and brand specific features. The Japanese are a huge market for LV, so I doubt someone would run the risk of going to print on an article without checking their facts. The magazine was about 10 years old when I found it. It looks reputable enough for me to think it was an interesting thing to share. I am cautious about what I quote and I have been studying the correlations between hardware used on a variety of European designers from about the 50s era onwards for several years now.

Given that these are 2 distinct brands we are discussing here, it is not surprising that they are not cross-promoting a historic event from nearly 100 years ago. LV wants to sell to their market and Chanel want to sell to theirs.
 
Aug 5, 2011
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Ok, for the purpose of this topic I think we can consider the following version as the official since it appears in the wonderful book "Louis Vuitton City Bags: A Natural History".
In page 124 and paraphrasing since I don't have the permission of the publishers to reproduce in any way the contents of this little (metaphorically since is actually big and slightly heavy)piece of heaven:
"Then, in 1934, the grandson of Louis Vuitton, Gaston-Louis made a triangular shaped bag which he called the squire. The legend says that the bag is inspired by a bag made for a famous fashion designer in 1925, a bag fully made in canvas, 45 cm long with a base similar to the Steamer, on which the interlaced CC was visible.
This travel bag was found in the archives and was redesigned to create the Alma now bearing the signatures of the Louis Vuitton brand"
In the printed version there's no mention of Mlle. Chanel in this chapter although her name does appear in page 74 alluding to her fall in 1966.
The bag that Gaston-Louis Vuitton made in 1934, the"Squire Bag" was redesigned in 1950 under the name of "Sac Marceau" and again five years later now with the name "Sac Champs-Elysées" which in 1992 became the "Alma".
I think is worthy to know that both the "Alma" and the "Marceau" reappeared in the first collection of M. Ghesquiere for Vuitton: the Alma in "Malletage" (which is basically "Matelassage" or quilting) in beige, red, black all easily recognised as Chanel signatures; and the "Marceau" redesigned and renamed "Dora" in red, black and navy, also another Chanel colour and incidentally the colors on the Gaston-Louis Vuitton insignia and the french flag except for the beige and black:smartass:
 
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ccmj

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Does anyone know what Chanel's original Louis Vuitton Alma BB looked like? If you have photos of a super vintage one (or one of her actually carrying the bag) that would help too.

I read the story about her being the original designer of sorts. Like a LV x Chanel collab.

Here's the blurb from PurseBlog. It's #3
https://www.purseblog.com/louis-vuitton/louis-vuitton-handbag-history/

Curious to know whether the original Alma BB was in the Monogram or the Damier print?

Thank you in advance for any clues to figuring out this mystery! [emoji173]

IMG_0705.jpg
 
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fabuleux

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Does anyone know what Chanel's original Louis Vuitton Alma BB looked like? If you have photos of a super vintage one (or one of her actually carrying the bag) that would help too.

I read the story about her being the original designer of sorts. Like a LV x Chanel collab.

Here's the blurb from PurseBlog. It's #3
https://www.purseblog.com/louis-vuitton/louis-vuitton-handbag-history/

Curious to know whether the original Alma BB was in the Monogram or the Damier print?

Thank you in advance for any clues to figuring out this mystery! [emoji173]

View attachment 3954961
It was neither in Monogram nor Damier canvas, and looked quite different from the modern version of the Alma (relaunched in 1992). Also it wasn't a "BB", which stands for French "Bébé" as in "Baby size", a version that was launched even more recently.
It looked closer to these:
Screen Shot 2018-02-02 at 12.59.19 PM.png Screen Shot 2018-02-02 at 12.59.24 PM.png
 

ccmj

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Jan 30, 2018
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It was neither in Monogram nor Damier canvas, and looked quite different from the modern version of the Alma (relaunched in 1992). Also it wasn't a "BB", which stands for French "Bébé" as in "Baby size", a version that was launched even more recently.
It looked closer to these:
View attachment 3954975 View attachment 3954976
You're an absolute angel. Where did you find this information? I'd love to read more. Thank you so much!
 

fabuleux

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You're an absolute angel. Where did you find this information? I'd love to read more. Thank you so much!
You can find information about the history of the Alma bag on the LV website. Handbags were not really a thing for Louis Vuitton before WWII and the Alma bag went through a series of transformations (and names). But in the end, it comes from the same tradition of bags that gave birth to the Hermès Bolide. These were dome-shaped bags that slowly evolved from travel bags to handbags. Same with other shapes like the Steamer bag and the Kelly... they share the same lineage.
 

ccmj

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Jan 30, 2018
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You can find information about the history of the Alma bag on the LV website. Handbags were not really a thing for Louis Vuitton before WWII and the Alma bag went through a series of transformation (and names). But in the end, it comes from the same tradition of bags that gave birth to the Hermès Bolide. These were dome-shaped bags that slowly evolved from travel bags to handbags. Same with other shapes like the Steamer bag and the Kelly... they share the same lineage.
Fascinating! I shall follow the lineage then. Thanks again. [emoji177]
 
Aug 5, 2011
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Fascinating! I shall follow the lineage then. Thanks again. [emoji177]
I actually have written about this in both the blog post posted at the beginning of this thread and elsewhere on the forum, there are some pictures from the older bags in the City Bags Natural History book.
Sorry for the quality, I just asked my mom to take this since I don't have the book with me right now.
Also the bags pictured here are more recent than the original commissioned by Gabrielle for her personal use, the oldest one being the Squire.
The entire text pertaining to the Alma is already paraphrased in order to comply with copyrights on another thread
IMG-20180206-WA0000.jpg IMG-20180206-WA0008.jpg IMG-20180206-WA0004.jpg IMG-20180206-WA0003.jpg
 
Aug 5, 2011
62
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I actually have written about this in both the blog post posted at the beginning of this thread and elsewhere on the forum, there are some pictures from the older bags in the City Bags Natural History book.
Sorry for the quality, I just asked my mom to take this since I don't have the book with me right now.
Also the bags pictured here are more recent than the original commissioned by Gabrielle for her personal use, the oldest one being the Squire.
The entire text pertaining to the Alma is already paraphrased in order to comply with copyrights on another thread
View attachment 3959816 View attachment 3959817 View attachment 3959818 View attachment 3959819
My original post https://forum.purseblog.com/index.php?posts/28312302
 
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ccmj

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Btw, someone had mentioned they had a photo of Gabrielle actually carrying the original handbag. Any thoughts on that or have you seen a photo like that?
 
Aug 5, 2011
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Beautiful! Thank you SO much! This history is exactly what I was looking for. I’ll have to find the book now. Really appreciate you! [emoji173]️[emoji173]️[emoji173]️
You can either buy from Amazon or preferably call your nearest Vuitton store because the in-store experience is enough and maybe even better than the actual book
 
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Aug 5, 2011
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Btw, someone had mentioned they had a photo of Gabrielle actually carrying the original handbag. Any thoughts on that or have you seen a photo like that?
Unfortunately I have not se such things but considering the fact that most of her photos might not even be available for public consumption is not a surprising
My original comment to Amanda's post which somehow doesn't appear in the link you provided
"Amanda, I thought we had cleared the Alma thing, it is not from the 30's! The bag that inspired the 'Squire' bag that latter inspired the 'Marceau' that then was reworked to the current 'Alma' shape is indeed from the 30's. Also the Lockit on the photo is the 2012 version, slightly modified from the 2011 runway version which is more minimalist than the suhali version from 2006-7 (L'inviolable, I believe it was called) which was a bigger departure from the other version that was also available at the same time but was more similar to the original 'Fourré tout' from the 50's. And then in 2013 someone at the company decided to curve the opening of the 'W' bag and add the classic leather tab to lock it up and called it 'Soft Lock It'.
And believe when I say I HATE to disagree with you"
And an even earlier comment on the same post also nowere to be found on the link
"That's not the origin of the Alma. It's like saying that the Dora and the Alma is the same, they are cousins. Gabrielle did order a bag that then was rediscovered in the archives and then was adapted to a slightly different shape called the Squire that in the 90's became the Alma as we know it today and then in 2014 M. Ghesquiere brought back a yet again modified version of the Squire as the Dora which can in fact be a concealed homage to the original bag of that Coco ordered since it came in the three of the favorite color of Chanel (Bleu marine, rouge et Beige) with a matelasse pattern, cleverly intertwining Vuitton heritage with Gabrielle signatures and the even the colors of the French flag. But Gabrielle did not create the Alma and never carried one since the Alma only appeared 20 years after Mlle. death. It also bothers me that Angelina carries one in By The Sea so prominently when you the movie takes place in the 70's. Sorry for this since there's already a few thread in the forum explaining the origin of the bag.
Amanda I've always liked you and your posts but please keep up the with your info"
I apologize for my tone and the few typos
 
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ccmj

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