Louis Vuitton Handbags
Louis Vuitton boasts one of the most iconic and recognizable monograms in the history of consumer goods–and designer handbags in particular. Established in 1854 by master trunk maker Louis Vuitton, the French fashion and luxury goods powerhouse is a long-standing fixture on famous arms and the Forbes list of the world’s most valuable luxury brands.
Louis Vuitton Materials and Craftsmanship
Louis Vuitton handbags are a study in superior craftsmanship. Painstakingly handmade by skilled artisans using high-quality materials, careful treatments, luxurious leathers and fine hardware, it reportedly requires about 100 steps to produce most Louis Vuitton handbags.
Exotic leathers like python, crocodile and ostrich skin are incorporated on the brand’s more exclusive and pricey handbags. And modern fabrics like denim and jacquard also have their place in the House’s celebrated artistic collaborations and special editions. But if you’re looking for truly iconic Louis Vuitton, start with the brand’s famous canvas and leather options.
The Signature Louis Vuitton Finish–Coated Canvas: Coated canvas fabric was an early signature of this legendary label, and the Monogram Canvas and Damier Canvas are intrinsic to its DNA. Both were introduced in the late 1800s by the founder’s son, Georges Vuitton, and became instant symbols of luxury and a way to identify authentic LV trunks against imitations. The Monogram Canvas–with its motif of the LV monogram, quatrefoils and flowers on a brown background–is recognized the world over. The Damier Canvas, too, remains one of the brand’s biggest successes. In addition to the two-tone brown checkerboard look of the Damier Ebène and the French Riviera-inspired light blue and white checkered Damier Azure, Louis Vuitton now offers handbags in a wide range of Damier canvases.
The coated canvas is exceptionally lightweight, durable and water-resistant, heroically holding up to wear as well as weight. The Neverfull tote first debuted in coated canvas and can supposedly carry a load of up to 200 pounds. Coated canvas bags typically feature gold-tone hardware and delicate cowhide or Vachetta leather piping and trim—a leather known to age beautifully, attaining a refined patina over time.
Louis Vuitton Epi Leather Handbags: Celebrated for its durability and chic appearance, Louis Vuitton introduced Epi Leather in 1985. Calfskin leather is dyed with vegetable pigments, then stamped to achieve a striped, wave-like pattern and finished with a water-resistant, protective coating.
Offered in both subtle and bold colors, its rich sheen ages fabulously. Several classics like the Alma, Noé and Neverfull have been updated to include eye-catching Epi leathers, making them even more covetable and collectable.
Louis Vuitton Monogram Empreinte Leather: Monogram Empreinte is another luxe Louis Vuitton finish, featuring supple calfskin embossed with the brand’s iconic monogram pattern. Soft and buttery to the touch, this material is the epitome of luxury, wearing elegantly over time. From the compact Pochette Métis to the tote-sized Keepall, Monogram Empreinte leather is available in a wide range of Louis Vuitton bags–plus wallets and other accessories–and a fun array of colors.
Monogram Vernis Leather: If you want to add something shiny to your designer handbag collection, consider the Louis Vuitton Monogram Vernis. Marc Jacobs introduced this glossy fabric in 1998, soon after he became artistic director of the label. Made of embossed calfskin leather and finished with a patent coating, Monogram Vernis has been a favorite since its launch, and Louis Vuitton continues to release new lush shades to highlight the LV Monogram and appeal to new audiences.
Louis Vuitton Handbag Sizes
Louis Vuitton produces many of its bags in multiple sizes, often denoted with a two-letter acronym following the style name. For example, the Alma BB–short for Baby Bandoulière–is the most petite version of the Alma handbag. The next size up is the PM or Petit Modèle, which means small model in French. A medium model, Moyen Modèle, is identified with MM, and GM (Grand Modèle) is larger still.
So, what to make of a style name that ends in a number? That’s actually a bit easier to decipher. The Speedy 25, for instance, is 25 centimeters long, while the Keepall 55 measures 55 centimeters in length.
The Right Louis Vuitton Bag for You
Wondering which LV purse to add to your collection next? Consider your budget, favorite finishes and the silhouette most essential for your lifestyle and designer bag collection. Signature styles to consider include:
The Speedy–The sophisticated and practical Speedy bears an unmistakable cylindrical silhouette, rolled leather handles and the signature engraved padlock.
Initially produced in 30, 35 and 40 cm sizes when released in 1931, Audrey Hepburn reportedly so loved the Speedy that she asked the brand to design a smaller version to match her petite frame. And so, in 1965, the Speedy 25 was born.
Celebrated finishes and special editions can fetch impressive sums on the resale market. For instance, a Game On Speedy Bandoulière 25 designed by Nicolas Ghesquière sold for nearly $2,800 in January 2021. A limited edition Speedy 25 Monogram Teddy Shearling earned even more just two months earlier, selling for more than $5,000 on eBay.
Pre-owned versions of the Speedy 25 in its original Monogram Canvas can be found for a bit less. In early 2021, examples in good (but not flawless) condition earned between $200 and $500.
The Alma–Inspired by Art Deco lines, the elegant Alma handbag was named after the Alma Bridge in Paris. Rumor has it the Alma was originally designed for Coco Chanel in 1925. She later agreed to let the style be released to the public.
With its hand-stitched rolled leather handles, polished hardware and golden padlock, the Alma remains a mainstay in the brand’s repertoire, re-imagined from the original Monogram Canvas to glossy finishes like the Monogram Vernis, and new sizes like the Neo Alma BB.
Rare Alma bags as well as classic looks thrive on the resale market. A pre-owned Murakami Monogram Multicolor Alma GM Black from the brand’s wildly successful collaboration with artist Takashi Murakami fetched a stunning $3,500 on eBay in February 2021. Collectors seeking subdued sophistication are also willing to pay handsomely—that same month, a pre-owned Monogram Canvas Alma MM sold for nearly $900.
The Neverfull–Stylishly carry all your essentials and more, from laptop to gym shoes, in a Louis Vuitton Neverfull tote. First released in 2007 in Monogram Canvas with a reversible fabric, the line later expanded to include the Damier Ebène and Azur canvas. Since then, Neverfull’s renown has led to a variety of stunning Epi Leather finishes and vibrant special editions.
Designed with clean lines and functional details like slim, comfortable straps and side laces that can cinch to keep things secure inside, the Neverfull is roomy yet not bulky. In 2014, LV added a detachable pouch that can be used as a pocket or a clutch.
While coated canvas renditions of this tote hit a more reasonable price point at retail compared to other LV bags, the Neverfull still demonstrates healthy value on the resale market, where special editions can fetch large sums. For example, a Neverfull MM Blue Jacquard Monogram sold for a whopping $6,700 on eBay in January 2021.