It was in 1875 that Louis Vuitton re-imagined this wardrobe trunk designed to be opened vertically. Equipped with a wardrobe on one side and drawers on the other. This revolutionary trunk saves travelers from having to unpack their clothes. You just have to put the trunk up and open it. It takes 150 hours to make the legendary wardrobe trunk. A work of goldsmith which justifies the price of the new one of this cult and timeless object .
It is an extremely heavy restoration that we will present to you below. Like a luxury vintage car .
We all keep in mind the Baillon, Arcturial sale of February 2015 . Where these " wreck " cars have reached heights. These cars, after several thousand hours of work, will regain their letters of nobility.
Just like our Louis Vuitton trunk. Our place in the world of catering is no longer to be demonstrated, because we have proven ourselves, to restore without distorting, respect for the rules of the art . Much copied, never equaled. We will demonstrate it to you .
We received this trunk from England in a rare state of disrepair. You have to be crazy to embark on a restoration of this magnitude not expensive price. This trunk from the United Kingdom has suffered the marks of time and humidity.
What happened to him to get there? No one will be able to answer us.
There was so much to do that we didn't even know where to start:
Our specifications were :
Restore this trunk exactly as it left the factory 94 years ago, in 1927, using the same manufacturing techniques and materials of the time . But we wanted this trunk to be able to be used on a daily basis as a storage cabinet trunk and to have a second life instead of ending its life in a display case for decoration. The challenge was launched.
Thanks to the lock number and the archives of the Louis Vuitton heritage department, we were able to date this trunk from 1927.
Plywood is a succession of thin sheets of wood, called " veneer ", glued against each other where the grain of the wood crosses . It allows obtaining a light panel , thin, flexible and extremely strong like board skateboards for example, which are made of plywood. Even if plywood has been known since ancient Egypt , its industrial and commercial application did not take off in France until 1860 thanks to more efficient glues.
However, as evidenced by our 1927 trunk, the glues used at that time are water-based and rabbit or fish skins, reversible glues that do not withstand humidity . In our case, the thin layers of wood peeled away from each other forming blisters on the surface of the canvas. This separation makes the structure fragile.
The only solution is to replace the poplar wood structure and manufacture it identically, down to the millimeter. The assembly is traditional: by nailing and strong canvas. No modern screws or glue. But replacing the structure of this trunk requires a complete disassembly : it is a pharaonic work.
More than 1,600 points and nails dismantled.
Peel off the canvas, dismantle the lozines, the woods, the jewelry stores.
The beech slats were rotting . It was not possible to reuse them. The use of wood tabs and questionable gluing is not a suitable answer for a collector trunk restoration . We leave these tips to DIY enthusiasts. The goal is to clean up the trunk to allow it to live another 200 years.
We therefore manufactured beech wood slats with the same section and machining as the original one. A patina whose recipe we religiously keep was designed to be in harmony and not to denote the age of our Louis Vuitton trunk.
The lozine is used to protect the banks. It is based on vulcanized fibers. Unlike leather, it does not stain and is very durable. Two lengths were missing from our trunk . Our desire and passion to put back this identical trunk to the origin pushed us to surpass ourselves. After several months of research and testing, we have succeeded in making lozine.
Polishing and cleaning of solid brass jewelry, respecting the rules of the art of the polisher, making shine without scratching.
On most trunks, the interior represents only 40% of the value of the trunk because it is of no interest because the trunk is always closed. Only wardrobe trunks, secretary trunks and shoe trunks are as interesting from the inside as from the outside because they are intended to remain open . Except that our trunk was completely EMPTY ! Everything had to be built.
Manufacture of the box and drawers in poplar, traditional assembly . The work of the carpenter and cabinetmaker
Strong canvas is glued to strengthen the wood panels and ensure maximum hold. Louis Vuitton developed this technique very quickly, drawn from his job as a packer luthier, in order to reinforce the assemblies of his trunks which make it possible to have a light structure made of very fine wood panels. Taken from his craft as a packer luthier.
We had an orange coated canvas made to cover our locker and drawers. This canvas is wood sheathed. Similaire to working leather covering. We can see the location of the strong canvas under the coated canvas just as at the origin.
We re-nickeled the Louis Vuitton wardrobe and made the "shoes case" shoebox. Manufacturing at the Vuitton factory in Asnières requires 160 hours of work for a new wardrobe trunk. It took us 210 hours to remake this trunk.
This difference is explained by the time taken to dismantle the trunk, the restoration of the canvas and the manufacture of certain custom pieces, unlike Louis Vuitton, which manufactures and assembles them in its workshops. It is an immense satisfaction and a pride to see the result of this trunk as resuscitated after these months of restoration. We hope you enjoyed this adventure as much as we did thanks to this article.
Wardrobe accientée : French page