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Louis Vuitton >> Noé
Luggage has been the hallmark of Louis Vuitton’s enterprises since the first travel trunk was introduced in the mid-1800’s. But over the years, chic handbags have become an essential staple of the brand. The Noé handbag is, in fact, the first handbag that started the tradition of iconic Louis Vuitton purses that lead the world in opulent accessories.
For more than 70 years, the Louis Vuitton focal point was travel trunks. Hard-sided armoires, wardrobes, and accessory boxes in varying canvas and leather covers were the manufacturing paradigm. Then, in the 1930’s, the paradigm shifted.
The first soft-sided bag was introduced in 1930 and was designated as the Keepall bag. It was designed as a duffel-like travel bag and was rounded, unlike the previously produced rectangular trunks. But the Keepall bag was a still a large piece intended for travel purposes. It was the Noé bag that was Louis Vuitton’s very first handbag, although the original intention was not to be a handbag.
In 1932, Gaston-Louis Vuitton (grand-son to founder Louis) created the Noé at the entreaty of a local champagne producer. Its original function: to transport bottles of champagne.
Noé is the French translation of the name Noah, so it is believed that this bag was named in reference to the biblical story of Noah and his arc. Noah was known for transporting animals and plants during the flood but also for planting vines after the flood, which may be an acknowledgement to the champagne maker for whom this bag was designed.
The Noé resembles a bucket and was made to carry five champagne bottles, four bottles in each corner and one bottle nestled bottom-side-up in the center. The drawstring encircling the top would cinch the bottles tight to prevent them from clinking together.
The original design of the Noé features a rectangular, flat bottom measuring 7.5 inches wide by 10.2 inches long. On the classic monogramed Noé the base is reinforced with a strip of natural cowhide leather that hems the bottom 2 inches of the outside of tne bag. The Noé bag measure 13.4 inches high and is encircled at the top with a leather strap closure that is signature of the Noé style.
This was the first “bucket bag”, and it started the trend almost a century ago that has come full circle and become very popular again in recent years.
The Noé Collective
Characteristic of Louis Vuitton signature pieces, the Noé handbag has been manufactured in several styles and fabrics. Currently available through Louis Vuitton stores are the classic Noé, the Noé Petite , and the Noé BB.
The Petite Noé is a smaller version of the classic Noé bag. The height of this handbag is just 10.7 inches tall, 9.8 inches long and 7.9 inches wide. Although it is titled “petite”, it is actually larger than the Noé BB.
The Noé BB is an even smaller version of the classic Noé. This small purse is just 9.4 inches tall, it measures 5.9 inches wide and 8.7 inches long. It likewise has an adjustable natural cowhide leather strap for over-the-shoulder wear.
The Noé bag has also been produced in an antiquated style called the Idylle Noé. This bag had a much more rounded shape and is not available for purchase as a new bag. The Noé Marin is a newer style that is designed to be a more masculine version of the classic bucket bag. And the Noé has even been replicated in a miniature variant called the Nano Noé. The Nano Noé is just 5.9 inches tall, 5.1 inches long, and 3.5 inches wide; perfect size for just your daily essentials.
With the classic monogram canvas as the most popular textiles available for the Noé, it is also the most common. But the Noé bag (including the Petite Noé and the Noé BB) has been produced in the Damier canvas, Epi leather in various colors, and the multicolor monogram. The Epi leather was first used in 1985.
To claim a piece of history with this classic and original handbag be prepared for a pricey price tag. The cost varies based on the style, the size, and the vintage of the handbag, but the classic monogrammed icon runs for $1,440.00 USD directly through Louis Vuitton. A Noé bag produced in Epi leather can cost as much as $2,220.00 USD, and the sporty Noé Marin in supple Epi leather is $3,500.00 USD. If you want to trade size for money, the Nano Noé will keep you under a thousand dollars at $950.00 USD in the monogrammed canvas.
If thrifty is the name of your game, used and vintage Louis Vuitton Noé bags can be found through online retailers such as Ebay and Tradsey. On these site you can find the Noé for just a couple hundred US dollars. But the imitation issues that plagued Louis Vuitton in the 1800’s continue today, so be sure to authenticate your Louis bag before purchase.
Whether you’re breaking in a brand new Noé, or giving some love to previously owned Noé, you are sure to feel the historical significance of such a ground-breaking handbag.