My Trip with Louis…Vuitton

love-opera-victoria-bakerI haven’t been to London, the city I was born in, in many years and I’m planning a trip to Europe this summer to make up for lost time.

One of the great joys of travel lays in the anticipation. It’s the preparation. It’s the journey not the destination. Years ago luggage was more than merely utilitarian…it told the story of its owner, of its many voyages. It bore the stamp of all the beautiful cities visited.Long after those travelers are gone, their luggage continues to afford us glimpses into their lost world.

As a 2014 traveler I’d like to find luggage that embodies that elegance whilst also being practical. I plan to try a few pieces and will let you know how they work out. I’ve done some research and here’s what I’ve found.

Of course, there’s the Grande dame of luggage: Louis Vuitton.

In 1837 Vuitton started as an artisan suitcase maker for the French aristocracy. By 1854 he’d opened a store in Paris, boosted by the advent of the steam engine. He innovated and replaced the leather on his suitcases with waterproof cloth. His son created the infamous monogrammed initials and a legend was born. Vuitton luggage was a model of practicality in its first years but how does it fare today?

On the other side of the spectrum is Parisian brand Lipault.

Available in a variety of stylish colors, I hear this luggage is some of the lightest on the market. They say you can fill it to the brim and beyond and still be well under the weight restrictions imposed by airlines. I’m the sort of person who likes to bring way more clothes than I actually need on a trip so this might be perfect. But are they sturdy enough to take a beating on a long journey?

Then there’s the indestructible German brand: Rimowa.

Founded in 1898 in Cologne they became the top choice for society travelers. In 1937 the son of the company founder launched the first steamer trunk made of lightweight metal. In 1950 the first case was made from aluminum with the sleek contour that has now become synonymous with the brand. Rimowa pieces are highly sought after these days but are they as practical as everyone says?

Buddha said “It is better to travel well than to arrive.” I guess luggage is more important than I realized. I can’t wait to explore the myriad options on the market and let you know how I make out. After all, this suitcase is more than the sum of its parts. It will be my faithful travel companion.

And who knows, I may end up telling you all about my trip with the handsome Louis…Vuitton.


Victoria Baker, of Greenwich, is an opera singer. Winner of many prestigious competitions, she has performed and worked with distinguished artists all over the world (notably at Lincoln Center). Should you have any questions that deserve answers and may be in print please call 203-531-7499 or e-mail [email protected]

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