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Travellers' Tales: a Photo Essay

Posted on 27 Nov 2018

Pierre Le-Tan’s illustrations and Bertil Scali’s entertaining pen portraits tell the stories of the world’s most celebrated owners of Louis Vuitton luggage.

pg.55, Jackie Cochran

Jackie Cochran
The stuff of heroines

In Paris, she stayed at the Plaza Athénée on avenue Montaigne. That was where she had her purchases delivered: a wardrobe trunk and a writing desk with lozine corners, a pigskin document bag and a nut-brown calfskin bag. But today she would break the sound barrier in a jet.

pg.67, Christian Dior

Christian Dior
The reluctant traveller

As a child he almost never travelled except in a car, cocooned in a smock, his face veiled with gauze. He far preferred to stay at home, but a fortune-teller once told him, ‘You will often cross the sea.’ In 1947, he founded the Christian Dior company and, indeed, for ten years he criss-crossed the world, accompanied by two wardrobe trunks soberly monogrammed ‘C.D.’.

pg.97, Greta Garbo

Greta Garbo
Knowing how to travel light

Greta Garbo left Stockholm at 
the age of twenty, with no luggage. Throughout her life, it was said that she travelled with nothing more than 
a small suitcase holding neither dress nor dressing gown nor slippers, but a pair of blue espadrilles, flannel pyjamas and a few pots of special jam.

pg.129, Ernest Hemingway

Ernest Hemingway
Collector of lost luggage

He was big on trunks. He had dozens of them and, over the course of his life, often described their contents in detail. In World War I, the inventory included an overcoat and raincoat, ‘soft buckskin driving gloves’, ‘Cordova leather aviators puttees’ and plenty of other garments. In 1920s Paris it was his manuscripts, which he often misplaced – and sometimes managed to find later, such as that of A Moveable Feast, which slumbered for twenty-six years in a trunk he’d forgotten at the Ritz.

pg.155, Barbara Hutton

Barbara Hutton
Poor little rich girl

In the Ritz’s most handsome suite stood twenty trunks painted with the Mdivani family arms, filled with party clothes and sumptuous wedding gifts. The future heiress and her penniless prince had only to take their marriage vows before flitting off together towards their promised life of bliss.

pg.193, Yayoi Kusama

Yayoi Kusama
Polka-dot princess

Wherever she is, wherever she goes, polka dots go with her. She never stops reproducing them, perpetuating the hallucination she has experienced since childhood: a vision of a single colour obliterated by dots of different sizes which, when she multiplies them infinitely, with the aid of mirrors or light beams projected in a dark room, are transformed into a sort of interstellar void.

pg.254, Takashi Murakami

Takashi Murakami
Travelling otaku

The bags, suitcases and trunks designed for Louis Vuitton by the Japanese master of pop culture have acquired the status of works of art. Spangled with references to the Japanese ‘anime’ culture of the late 1970s and early 1980s, they send both art lovers and manga maniacs into transports – not to mention fashionistas.

Extract from Travellers’ Tales: Bags Unpacked by Pierre Le-Tan and Bertil Scali with contributions from Louis Vuitton.

Published by Thames & Hudson, 2018.

Drawings: © 2018 Pierre Le-Tan / Louis Vuitton Malletier
Text: © 2018 Bertil Scali / Louis Vuitton Malletier

Travellers' Tales

Bags Unpacked Bertil Scali, Pierre Le-Tan Out of stock