As we wander up the Champs-Elysées towards the Arc de Triomphe, we pass the Louis Vuitton flagship store, a temple of chic that attracts style-conscious travellers from around the world. Some come just to worship at this temple of style and longingly eye the elegant products; others come armed with a stack of credit cards and are ready to spend lavishly.

Meeting Louis Vuitton - CoolBrands Around the World in 80 Brands
Meeting Louis Vuitton – CoolBrands Around the World in 80 Brands

“I often wonder how they can keep on doing what they do with such amazing success,” says Anouk as she walks up to the travel accessories displayed in the shop window. “Not only are they constantly reinventing themselves; they are also redefining the concept of travel.”

Established in the mid-19th century by Louis Vuitton himself, the LV brand soon changed the way people perceived luggage: it was no longer just a burden, but could also be an object of beauty, not to mention that Vuitton introduced safer and more practical ways of transporting precious belongings – a totally new concept of travel.

“Remember when we met the company CEO, Bernard Arnault, a few years ago?” I remind Anouk.

Anouk nods and replies: “He’s done an amazing job since he took over in 1989, but his best strategic move was hiring Marc Jacobs as the company’s creative director in 1997. Getting a young New York designer was exactly the fresh impulse that the brand needed.”

“Yeah,” I agree, “Arnault was right on the money there. They’ve had some amazing collections since Jacobs joined.”

“It’s more than just the collections though,” Anouk says, “they’ve also developed the Spirit of Travel concept as an elaboration of Vuitton’s 19th-century ideas. The Spirit of Travel transcends the LV product range – you could call it their purpose. What role does Louis Vuitton play in my life? It helps me make my journey, and my journey is my life. It’s travel reinvented on a new, more spiritual level.”

“Remember that cool YouTube movie?” I ask. “Sort of sums up their core values.”

“Yeah,” I say as we head into the flagship store, “it also pretty much sums up my vision of travel. And I think that makes it quite appropriate that we should be here at the beginning of our ‘80 Stories’ trip… I wonder where this journey will take us…”

‘What’s a journey? A journey is not a trip

It’s not a vacation It’s a process. A discovery It’s a process of self-discovery.

A journey brings us face to face with ourselves A journey shows us not only the world,

but how we fit in it Does the person create the journey

Or does the journey create the person? The journey is life itself

Where will life take you?’

© 2012 CoolBrands – Around the World in 80 Brands

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Tags: Global Storytelling Campaign, Anouk Pappers, Maarten Schäfer, Around the World in 80 Brands, Around the World, 80 Brands, Around the World in 80 days, CoolBrands Storytelling, Storytelling, CoolBrands, Louis Vuitton, Meeting Louis Vuitton, Bernard Arnault, meeting Bernard arnault