[dropcap size=small]T[/dropcap]here was huge anticipation ahead of Nicolas Ghesquière’s Louis Vuitton Fall/Winter 2014 collection. Even those who confidently expected a fabulous collection were left speechless by one of stars of the show – the first Petite Malle bag (pictured), which made its first appearance on the catwalk.

The Louis Vuitton trunk has been around since 1858. It was the first trunk designed with a flat top and bottom, making it easy to stack and transport. This clever innovation wasn’t the only thing that other manufacturers were quick to ape.

Numerous imitations of the gray trianon and the beige and brown Rayée canvasses were made, prompting Louis Vuitton to introduce the Damier canvas in 1888 and the trademark chequered print still seen on their bags today. In 1896, they introduced the LV monogrammed canvas featuring the graphic flower and the quatrefoil, reflecting the design trends of the late Victorian Era. 

Turning these huge classic trunks into miniature handbags was a stroke of genius by Ghesquière – and the inspiration behind the must-have item of the season. He is acutely conscious that he is following in a long tradition of craftsmanship:

“This initial collection tells a tale of expertise made possible by innovative techniques. It focuses on the highlights and remains open to interpretation. Living proof that today’s ‘timeless’ was at one time seen as innovative. In this collection, the timeless is now,”

says Ghesquière, a powerful statement underscored by the myriad design references in his work. 

One can’t help feeling he’s a genius back at the height of his powers. Last year, when he was working at Kering, owners of Balenciaga and others, he told System Magazine: “I began to feel as though I was being sucked dry, like they wanted to steal my identity while trying to homogenise things. It just wasn’t fulfilling anymore.” 

There’s little doubt that he’s now being fulfilled absolutely, and has found the ideal home for his historical explorations and timeless visions.

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