Louis Vuitton City Bags: A Natural History

In October 2013 Rizzoli NY releases a surprising volume: a natural history of Louis Vuitton City Bags. This book combines a unique, appealing approach with almost a scientific play on iconic shapes.

The first comprehensive taxonomy of Louis Vuitton’s City Bags, a range of women’s handbags that date back to turn of the 20th century. Featuring the trademarks of the House, City Bags represent the most successful line of accessories in the history of modern fashion—and were instrumental in making Louis Vuitton synonymous with modern luxury.

These soft-sided bags grew out of the various pieces of portable luggage that were themselves packed inside the trunks and wardrobes that had long ago represented the heritage of the company, and in a hundred years diversified to body forth every conceivable function demanded by the modern woman. Profoundly influential, they are now known by name — Speedy, Papillon, Alma, Lockit, Noé, Bucket, Neverfull, Sac Plat & the Pochette.

Taking a page from attempts to organize entire classes of industrial design objects in the previous century, this volume chronicles the development of the City Bags through a system mimicking the scientific classification of plants and animals. Tracing the origins and history of these bag “families” from the four pieces of hand-carried luggage that served as their direct, generative “ancestors” — the Steamer, the Vanity, the Alzer & the Keepall — the book carefully examines the earliest specimens of City Bag through today’s most sought-after collectibles.

Apart from providing as complete a genealogy for each of the main handbag “families”, the book examines how the artistic collaborations engaged by Louis Vuitton in the last two decades have hastened the evolution of City Bags, transforming the basic types into increasingly divergent forms.

A classic Natural History book, this work is presented in a canvas clamshell with marble paper and a set of eleven illustrated plates. Available in French, English and Italian this limited edition will be on sale exclusively for Louis Vuitton stores and on louisvuitton.com.

Louis Vuitton City Bags- A Natural History

Book Specifications:

400 pages.
9.4″ x 12.2″ (24 x 31 cm)
500 full color images: specific drawings
and shooting orders, ad campaign, archive documents.
Printed in Italy.
From September 2013, you will discover the
video teaser of the book on louisvuitton.com.
In Parallel, Rizzoli NY proposes an entertaining
iPhone, iPad application available for free on the App Store.

LIMITED EDITION
October 2013
Deluxe edition for Louis Vuitton stores:
book presented in a clamshell bound in buckram
canvas, enriched by eleven loose plates.
US$170

BOOKSTORE EDITION
English (published by Rizzoli NY)
French (published by Éditions de la Martinière)
Italian (published by Rizzoli Italia)
US$85

Images via Louis Vuitton