How Louis Vuitton Pulled Off The Impossible: Creating An It-Bag For Men

Of all the burnished little signifiers men flash about like so much plumage—the hype kicks, the grail vintage piece, and, now, the most eye-catching jewellery—at least we’ve largely been spared having to chase that unrivalled engine of stylish female status anxiety, the It Bag.

Until now. Enter Pharrell Williams, Louis Vuitton’s new creative director for menswear and a man whose personal style, from his own Richard Mille watch collaboration to those custom Tiffany & Co. sunglasses framed entirely in diamonds, has long set the bar for unimpeachable cool. With his inaugural collection in June in Paris, Williams unveiled his take on Vuitton’s famous Speedy bag; in a good sign for LV’s high-profile signing but bad news for the rest of us, it instantly became the must-have carryall among the jet set: not just Rihanna, who starred in the ad campaign, but LeBron James, Jacob Elordi, Tyler, the Creator, and Pusha T as well—all of whom have been spotted with one of the bold new designs.

First created by Gaston-Louis Vuitton in 1930 and originally bearing the “Express” moniker, the modern Speedy—named for the era’s appetite for fast cars and velocity of all types—is most associated with Vuitton’s high-quality canvas, which provided the structure for its trapezoidal shape. Williams, who has referred to himself as a “creative designer with the perspective of the consumer,” brought his signature sense of curiosity and fun to the project, riffing on the knockoff LV wares found along Manhattan’s Canal Street by offering the same bright primary hues that were once a dead giveaway for fakes. These, though, are crafted in unmistakably superlative leathers—including a “Millionaire” version in yellow croc that allegedly goes for $1 million—so meltingly soft the bags can barely stand under their own weight.

The result is a pliable, collapsible, candy-coloured holdall that can be slung, tossed, tucked, crammed, or packed—all the better if you’re carrying a pair or three or five, which is how Williams styled the Speedy for both its ad campaign and runway debut. Like all the best luggage, you won’t be able to keep your hands off it—assuming you can get your hands on one in the first place. You heard it here first: The era of the men’s It Bag is upon us.

Louis Vuitton

Previously published on Robb Report USA

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