Fellows and Sons | Established 1876

Art or baggage: When is Louis Vuitton luggage a piece of art

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Together with an extensive catalogue of over 50 other Louis Vuitton items, 10 vintage Louis Vuitton monogram cases form the largest selection of Louis Vuitton cases to go under the hammer at Fellows to date. The first Designer Collection auction of 2019 at the Birmingham auction house features 66 Louis Vuitton items in its 333-lot auction.

Even though the interlocking L and V pattern is over 120 years old (it was designed in 1896, only 20 years after Fellows opened its doors), it makes any piece instantly recognisable as being made by one of the world’s most luxurious handbags and luggage makers.

Despite the clampdowns on luggage allowances, bidders cannot get enough of the iconic LV monogrammed hard luggage. The hard luggage range from the esteemed French fashion house is synonymous with extravagance and wealth, however the price tags at Fellows are anything but. Not just the reserve of the jet-set, these brazen status symbols are being purchased by people with modest budgets and used in interesting ways.

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Sophie Higgs, Specialist from Fellows, said: “From speaking to a lot of our buyers in the past, we have found that many of them don’t use pieces they have bought to go on holiday. They are more objets d’art to have in their dressing or bedrooms. Another fun way people have been using fashion pieces as art is hanging, and in some cases framing, scarves. When you can pick up an Hermès scarf up for £100 in one of our auctions, it is a very affordable way to get a piece of art. Considering that a decorative panel from Hermès is over £1,000, a scarf seems like a good work around”.

The allure for Louis Vuitton luggage has only grown over the years, both at Fellows and other renowned houses. An aluminium explorer trunk sold for £162,500 at Christie’s in December 2018 and the last Designer Collection saw a number of Louis Vuitton pieces sell for a total hammer price of £40,705.

Amongst the items in the auction on 18th February are a Monogram Alzer 80 hard suitcase, estimated at £1,200 – £1,800 and a Macassar Monogram briefcase with an estimate of £1,000 – £1,500. The Louis Vuitton section of the auction has a combined high estimate of £33,120.