The evolution of the Louis Vuitton Speedy

Modern heritage


By Benedict Unang

Featured images courtesy of Louis Vuitton
The evolution of the Louis Vuitton Speedy

There’s an undeniable charm to Louis Vuitton bags that has been drawing admirers for decades. From the iconic Keepall and Capucines to the timeless Alma and Dauphine, the paragon of luxury has consistently set the industry standard with its commitment to quality craftsmanship and innovative design. In recent times, the Speedy bag has emerged as a new cult favourite, reaffirming Maison’s reputation as a trendsetter in the realm of high fashion.



The original Speedy was dreamed up by Gaston-Louis Vuitton in 1930 and first entered the scene under the moniker ‘Express’ as a homage to the widespread fascination with speed and automobiles during that era. Nearly three decades later, the Speedy had been altered and launched in a supple Monogram canvas, swiftly earning the coveted ‘must-have’ status. 

The popularity of the handbag at that time was further fueled by Audrey Hepburn’s special request for a smaller version of the Speedy. Thanks to her acclaimed role in Breakfast at Tiffany, her wish was granted as she went home with the Speedy 25, a flawless match for her petite figure.

From then onwards, the bag has ranked among Louis Vuitton’s best sellers, establishing itself as a universal icon. Various designers have put their spin on it, such as Yayoi Kusama, who adorned it with her iconic polka dots, and Takashi Murakami, who infused vibrant colours into the monogram. 


Pharrell Williams, the latest creative director of the House’s menswear collection, has also brought his unique touch to the bag. Unveiled during his debut Spring Summer 2024 show at Pont Neuf in Paris, the ultra-contemporary take is meticulously crafted from supple-grained calfskin with trimmings in smooth cowhide and Vivienne leather. Adding to its allure are the polished gold hardware, a removable pouch, as well as an exclusive metallic plaque inside the bag. 

Intricate details include a dove stamped on the back of the left enchappe and a side metallic piece serving as a secure lock. Meanwhile, the monogram on the Speedy has been replicated using an upscale silk screen printing technique, and the structure has been softened to allow the bottom to collapse and drape elegantly when carried.


On the same runway, there’s one Speedy that should not be overlooked: the Millionaire Speedy 40. This extraordinary creation was brought into existence through Williams’ collaboration with the House’s High Jewellery and stands as Louis Vuitton’s most expensive crocodile bag. Its unparalleled distinction is evident in the hand-painted finish on the crocodile canvas, the precisely crafted metallic pieces made from 18K gold and the accompanying historical trunk. 

The new Speedy bag is set to debut on January 4, 2024, in three sizes and four colour options: red, yellow, blue, and green. 


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