Prestigious heritage meets modern lifestyle – the timeless beauty of Louis Vuitton trunks
As an unprecedented selection of Louis Vuitton trunks from a prominent private Japanese collector are being offered in auction in Hong Kong, collector Lu Lin shares his passion for these hard-sided masterpieces
An unprecedented selection of Louis Vuitton trunks from a prominent Japanese collector
From the Christmas Ornaments Trunk, to a Special Order Japanese Tea Ceremony Trunk, every item in this collection is exceptionally rare and precious. Carefully amassed by an esteemed Japanese collector over two decades, this magnificent collection exemplifies the timeless appeal of Louis Vuitton trunks.
Born in 1821 in a small village in the mountainous region in eastern France, Louis Vuitton left home for Paris on foot at the age of 13. In 1854, with his growing experience and reputation, Louis Vuitton opened his first store near Place Vendôme. While the luggage was mostly made of calfskin, which was not waterproof, he invented a new type of waterproof canvas material and the revolutionary square shaped trunks, which turned into a huge success and was even featured in the Universal Exhibition held in Paris in 1889.
Today, iconic Louis Vuitton trunks are still highly sought after by connoisseurs and collectors worldwide, including discerning handbag collector Lu Lin, who is a loyal fan of the luxury house. He noted, “Most collectors would start with the classic hard-sided trunks, which work well as a coffee table in the living room. The stacked trunks also give the décor a tasteful twist.”
Collectors with a profound knowledge of the brand tend to focus on historic limited edition pieces, such as the above Christmas Ornaments trunk. Only 5 were produced in the world, this trunk merged savoir faire of trunk making and culture heritage. The trunk is made with tailored compartments to store 53 LV-signed ornaments with different colors, sizes and shapes, truly manifests the collector's meticulous eye and discerning taste. While festival season is around the corner, isn't it fascinating to decorate the Christmas tree with history and heritage?
While classic designs can easily stand the test of time, exceptional masterpieces can go beyond their intended purposes. Lu’s Louis Vuitton wine trunk is a case in point. ‘It features a full set of Christofle crystalware, and is perfect for wine lovers. Interestingly, I rarely drink. I can probably claim that my love for Louis Vuitton hard-sided trunks has surpassed everything.’ noted Lu.
A Special order Japanese Tea Ceremony Damier trunk. Dimensions: 710 w x 660h x 240 d cm. Sold for HK$567,000 in Handbags and Accessories sale on 26 November 2022 at Christie’s in Hong Kong
The collection journey behind this extraordinary selection started in 1997, and the Japanese collector developed a keen eye for craftsmanship and heritage. He was fond of the Japanese traditional tea ceremony, and started collecting tea ceremony utensils. Louis Vuitton team custom-made a Damier trunk to store the tea ceremony objects. Choosing Damier canvas is to match with the Japanese traditional room - Washitsu (和室). This trunk was featured in Louis Vuitton's official Instagram page back in 2016 for the LV Tokyo Expo exhibition.
From the trunk with a collapsible desk and storage space dated back to the 19th century, to contemporary innovative designs inspired by street culture, the development of Louis Vuitton trunks recounts the history of the brand.
A limited edition painted Monogram Courrier Lozine trunk 110 with black hardware by Virgil Abloh. Dimensions: 110 w x 51 h x 55 d cm. Sold for HK$630,000 in Handbags and Accessories sale on 26 November 2022 at Christie’s in Hong Kong
Speaking of his collection, Lu noted, “The Louis Vuitton x Friends coffee table trunk, and the Louis Vuitton x Supreme skateboard trunk are some of my favourites. As a fan of street culture, I couldn’t afford to miss the collaborative item between Louis Vuitton and Supreme. I believe that this innovative design that brings together the label’s heritage of over a century and the revolutionary use of materials will grow in value in the future. Louis Vuitton hard-sided trunks are no longer simple storage objects. They are part of the maison’s heritage and stand for modern lifestyle and culture.”
Winsy Tsang, Head of Department of Handbags Accessories, Christie’s Asia Pacific, commented, ‘Assembled over many years, every piece in this capsule collection is timeless and still in pristine collection, epitomising the quintessence of elegance and pursuit of the art of living by this esteemed Japanese collector.’
The collection features an extraordinary selection of 13 Louis Vuitton trunks, the first batch of which achieved excellent results in the Handbags and Accessories Spring sales in Hong Kong this year. The rest will be offered in the Handbags and Accessories Autumn live sale. The estimated total value of the collection exceeds HK$3 million/ US$430,000.