Confessions' of a Free Spirit

French fashion at its finest

By Alison Brennan

Louis Vuitton is a name synonymous with the high end of the fashion industry. His bags and accessories are recognised and sought after throughout the world. Vuitton was born in Paris in 1821. He showed a keen love of fabrics and designs at a young age, and at just 33, he opened his first store in Paris.

Although Vuitton is primarily known for his handbags and suitcases, he also released other travel and leisure products such as toiletry sets, picnic sets and cigar boxes. He also designed a portable wardrobe. It was mainly used for boat travel whereby the passenger could take the majority of their clothing on holiday with them.

In 1901, Vuitton created a steamer bag which was designed from a softer canvas fabric as opposed to the suitcases of the time. This was Louis Vuitton's first soft bag. The bag's handle allowed it to hang on the back of a door. Similar designs are still being used today by fashion labels more than 100 years later.

The first Louis Vuitton store opened in Australia in 1986 in Sydney. A Melbourne store followed suit not long after, also opening in the same year.

Chadstone Shopping Centre in Melbourne is currently hosting a free Louis Vuitton exhibition with some of his most famous and influential creations on display. Called the Time Capsule Exhibition, it takes a look at the changing trends in fashion and practicality throughout the years and highlights some of the designers who have worked with the Vuitton fashion label such as Jeff Koons. The exhibition also has an artisan direct from Paris working at the entrance displaying her intricate skills as she adds the gold trimming to the designer bags. The Time Capsule Exhibition is at Chadstone until March 21st.