Louis Vuitton, L'audacieux, English Version
His name was Vuitton, which means 'hard-headed' in the dialect of his native Jura region of France. He was just 14 years old when, with no food but plenty of determination, he left the family mill to escape his stepmother. Wearing wooden clogs, he set out on a two-year initiatory trek to Paris, where he found work with Maréchal, the most prestigious box-maker and packer in Faubourg Saint-Honoré. From then on, his lucky star never left him.
Caroline Bongrand's vivid biographical novel relates the rise of a daring young man named Louis Vuitton, a virtuoso, visionary craftsman in a capital city transformed by Haussmann. When Eugénie de Montijo became Empress of France, she continued to enlist the services of her favourite packer, with whom she developed a sincere, lasting friendship. After setting up his own business in 1854, benefitting from the splendour of France's Second Empire, Louis Vuitton continually innovated to design custom-made trunks for the most extravagant clothes and the most exotic journeys, turning his own life into an epic tale.
Novelist Caroline Bongrand is the author of some 15 books, including Ce que nous sommes, published by Denoël in 2020, as well as an essay on the status of women. She also wrote the screenplay of the film Eiffel (released in 2021).