Recently I took an interest in vintage Louis Vuitton and this is what I’ve learned about The French Company.
During the early 1970′s Louis Vuitton became very popular in U.S. but their itemss were manufacturered in France. Due to large demands in the US, Louis Vuitton expanded the brand by joining with the US luggage maker- The French Luggage Company. The French Company made bags under this special license from Louis Vuitton in the US starting the mid 70′s through the early 90′s. Items were sold exclusively at large department stores such the Neiman Marcus or Saks Fifth Avenue.
- The French Company items don’t have a date code like we seen in Louis Vuitton items today, and their embossing is also different. They have a tyvek tag (paper-like) sewn into the seam of the bag in which labeling that says the buyer that the item was made under a special license and that it was made in the USA. Since tyvek tag could be easily remove or damage, the vintage French Company Louis Vuitton items that originally had the tag- no longer do. So vintage bag have no tag.
- The French Company hardware is also different from current Louis Vuitton used today. It has plated nickel instead of goldtone and brass and it was not embossed with Louis Vuitton name or Logo. The rivet did not have embrossing; it was plan and smooth. The French Company used zipper pulls by Talon or Eclair and luggage pieces may have C & C. The zipperpull on a French Company Speedys and Keepalls used a tuck lock system often combine with a Talon zipperpull.
- The French Company company did not use the untreated natural vachetta leather like we use current day. They used various treatment coating shades of leather to protect vachetta, so the leather is caramel color and not patina. The coating treatment helps to protect the nake vachetta and make it more harding.
- Some of the Louis Vuitton Frency Company have smooth and oval plain patches into their designs. Patches were not embrossed with LV or Louis Vuitton and it left plan for the purpose of personalizing or customerizing your peice by heat stamping.
- The vintage French Company often use brown coton linning and off white heather like linen lining. They rarely used suede so if you with suede interior and patch say “Louis Vuitton Paris Made in France” are red flag.