Fashion & Beauty

Louis Vuitton City Bags: A Natural History

This volume is an unprecedented history of Louis Vuitton’s women’s bags, the most coveted line of accessories in women’s fashion. At the heart of Louis Vuitton are its City Bags, a range of women’s bags that dates back to the turn of the twentieth century. Featuring the trademark monograms of the house, the City Bag story began with the Steamer, a resort bag designed in 1901 to be packed inside a much larger steamer trunk. These bags have in a hundred years formally diversified into a dizzying array of handbags for every conceivable function demanded by the modern woman. Profoundly influential, City Bags are now known to millions by their descriptive names (Keepall, Bucket, Papillon, Alma, Locket, Noe, Speedy) and are still evolving into more fantastical forms. Lavishly illustrated with new and archival photography, historical graphics, landmark editorials, and ad campaigns, the volume traces the history of these specific bag families, and examines the earliest specimens and today’s most sought-after collectibles, including Vuitton’s collaborations with Takashi Murakami, Stephen Sprouse, Richard Prince, Yayoi Kusama, and Rei Kawakubo and one-off projects by Zaha Hadid, Shigeru Ban, Vivienne Westwood, Helmut Lang, Andrée Putman, and of course, Marc Jacobs. Louis Vuitton: City Bags is an ambitious volume on the creation and cultivation of a cultural phenomenon.

About The Author

Marc Jacobs is the creative director for Louis Vuitton and designer for the Marc Jacobs and Marc by Marc Jacobs lines. Florence Müller is a curator, fashion historian, and associate professor at the Institut Français de la Mode. Takashi Murakami is an artist based in New York and Tokyo.

  • Publish Date: October 15, 2013
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Category: Design - Fashion & Accessories
  • Publisher: Rizzoli
  • Trim Size: 9-1/2 x 12-1/4
  • Pages: 400
  • US Price: $115.00
  • CDN Price: $155.00
  • ISBN: 978-0-8478-4087-8


“This volume—which comes enveloped in a richly hued marbleized cover—takes sociology of fashion seriously, tracing the development of Vuitton’s trademark bags through “a system mimicking the scientific classification of plants and animals”…interviews with Vuitton collaborating artists, vintage paparazzi shots, and fun packing lists round out the book.” ~Vogue

“City Bags
examines the century-long development and manufacture of the iconic lines that helped make the handbag a fashion staple for modern women…the authors and illustrators of this handsome volume, bound in buckram canvas with a swirl-paint print, trace the rich genealogies of Louis Vuitton staples…” ~Surface Magazine
In Rizzoli’s latest luxury monograph, the creation and evolution of Louis Vuitton’s legendary handbag line gets a jolt of intrigue, thanks to a clever conceit: each bag is treated like a species all its own, classified and categorized with scientific precision.” ~V Magazine
 “This book delineates the genealogy of the Vuitton bag, with stops along the way to show amazing photos of vintage Vuitton bags, complete with travel stickers. There are terrific images from vintage advertising dating back to the beginning of the 20th century.” ~WWD
“By the end of the book, your appreciation for LV bags will be so high you may find yourself drawn to your nearest boutique to admire the craftsmanship in person.” ~Lucky Magazine
“No matter what you call it, Louis Vuitton City Bags is nothing short of remarkable in its detail paid to every single style, permutation, and generation from this fabled brand. The book takes a genealogical approach with how and why each handbag evolved and is amazingly illustrated with renderings that look like family family trees as well as photographs. Louis Vuitton City Bags leaves no stone unturned and really might be subtitled “Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About a Louis Vuitton Bag and Didn’t Know You Needed to Know (But You Do).”  Without exaggeration, the creators have compiled facts, drawings, data, and history that are usually afforded to the categorization and authentication of antiques or fine jewelry rather than mere handbags. One must assume that LVMH does not look upon a Louis Vuitton bag as just any handbag bit as a slice of their long and revered history.” ~New York Journal of Books
“I certainly won’t look at a handbag in quite the same way now that I have read this amazing publication. This certainly is a great book to give as a gift…and one which will form the centerpiece of any fashion fan’s collection.”

“City Bags
combines a unique, appealing approach to 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.” ~Trouvaillesdujour blog

Author Bookshelf: Ian Luna

Author Bookshelf: Florence Müller