As an unprecedented selection of Louis Vuitton trunks from a prominent private Japanese collector are going to make their auction debut in Hong Kong, collector Lu Lin shares his passion for these hard-sided masterpieces
From the FIFA World Cup Official Match Ball Monogram Trunk, and the Special Order Night Picnic Astronomy Telescope Monogram Trunk, to the Stokowski Secretaire Monogram Trunk and Special Order Watch Monogram 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 FIFA World Cup Official Match Ball Monogram Trunk commissioned to celebrate the FIFA World Cup 2018. In addition to the replicas of the 13 official match balls used at World Cup tournaments, the trunk also contains an additional 14th ball specially designed and made with cowhide by Louis Vuitton. With only 25 sets made for purchase worldwide, this trunk manifests the collector’s meticulous eye and discerning taste.
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.
The collection journey behind this extraordinary selection started in 1997, and the Japanese collector developed a keen eye for craftsmanship and heritage. He also started a long-term friendship with Patrick Louis Vuitton, the great-great-grandson of Louis Vuitton and the Maison’s former Head of Special Orders department. Undoubtedly unique, the Night Picnic Astronomy Telescope Monogram Trunk was jointly designed by Patrick Louis Vuitton and the collector in 2014. This exquisite trunk was displayed at the Embassy of France in Japan to mark 160 years of diplomatic relationship between the two countries, further enhancing its historical importance.
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.
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, which will be offered at the Handbags and Accessories Spring and Autumn live sales in Hong Kong this year with an estimated total value exceeding HK$3 million/ US$430,000.