History of a classic: an essential guide to the Louis Vuitton Keepall
Updated: 7 days ago
As you may or may not know, Louis Vuitton was started as a leather goods and luxury baggage label in 1854. So it is not a surprise that one of its most beloved creations to this day is still the Louis Vuitton Keepall.
The Keepall was officially introduced in 1930 by Gaston Vuitton as a modern, sporty, spin on weekend baggage, first as an occasional bag in cotton canvas, and then in Monogram canvas as of the 1960s. With its lightweight and roomy design it was quickly adopted by travellers on shorts sojourns and adventure seekers alike. Those adept at the art of packing can easily fit a week's wardrobe into the generously sized Keepall.
Stars still overwhelmingly favor monogram canvas Keepalls as their go-to designer carry-ons. From Kim Kardashian to Bradley Cooper to Jane Fonda: it's impressive how much LV's Keepall seems to cross all kinds of lines - gender, race, age, career type, fame level.
From the trunk to the city bag: history of the Keepall
Roots to the classic look of the Louis Vuitton preferred weekend bag can be traced to the Sac de Nuit, presented in the 1892 catalogue. Women's fashion at the turn of the century with its fitted, hip hugging skirts made it impossible to incorporate inside pockets and created the need for a smaller, lighter type of travel luggage.
The Sac de Nuit was thus designed with modularity, portability and practicality in mind and was a natural complement to the trunk, which would remain in the back of the car.
But it was during the "Roaring Twenties" that the Keepall bag as we know it made its first appearance. In the 1920s, being fashionable meant being modern, and being modern meant being sporty. Young women of the time would drive their own cars, play tennis, go ski in the winter and go swim in the summer. Louis Vuitton reflected the modernity of their occupations by offering separate bags with simple geometric forms, harmonized with the Art Deco style.
In this context where modernity was being expressed by the speed of the movement, the Keepall in cotton canvas was a true pioneer in weekend baggage. Officially released in 1930, it was also known as "Globe-Trotter" and "Tient-Tout" ("hold all) . This duffle bag was originally meant to be folded into the bottom of a suitcase and, having only one large main compartment, it was extremely versatile. With the start of air travel, this lightness and flexibility made the Keepall a must-have item in lieu of hardsided luggage suitcases and boxy trunks.
The invention of the new supple Monogram canvas in the late 50s brought an evolution in the functionality and the form of the Louis Vuitton Keepall: not only it made the brand more accessible for a wider clientele but it metamorphosed what it was essentially just a duffle bag into an iconic object of fashion, enjoying vast success all over the world.
The Louis Vuitton Keepall has played muse to several international artists and famous brands over the years, counting names such as Stephen Sprouse, Yayoi Kusama, Supreme and more – all having made their own imprint on the classic duffle bag. It was recently reimagined in giant Damier in new colorways and tones by creative director Virgil Abloh for the Spring 2021 collection.
With such a storied heritage that dates back to the late-19th century, it’s no wonder that celebrities are still spotted quite often with a Keepall on their wrist while traveling.
Flexibility in a bag: introducing the Keepall
On the vintage market, you will see a lot of Keepalls dating around the 1980s and 1990s. As we have seen, the Louis Vuitton Keepall was designed with durability and flexibility in mind. The cowhide vachetta leather, which may get water marks and patina with time, will provide all the necessary protections for your important essentials when travelling, thanks its solid water-repellent material.
On the inside, all Keepalls have one large main compartment, without side-pockets or dividers, making the bag extremely versatile for different uses. Large enough for everything you need for your trip, yet timelessly elegant.
The LV Keepall has been released in almost every type of material used by Louis Vuitton. From classic Monogram to Epi leather, from Monogram Vernis, it has been a constant source of inspiration to both contemporary artists and creative directors alike, coming out in a myriad of unique limited editions. Next to the different materials, Keepall comes and goes in different sizes. So far the bag has been available in four different sizes: 45, 50, 55 and 60. These numbers indicate the width of the Keepall in centimeters. While the first three sizes are perfect for hand luggage on the plane, the Keepall 60 is not allowed as a carry-on on the plane, because it simply is too big.
Besides the different sizes, the Keepall comes with or without a Bandoulière: hardware and a shoulder strap. A Keepall with Bandoulière will have an extra vertical leather strap attached on the side of the bag, to strengthen the bag. We would recommend to always go for a Keepall with Bandoulière, as you it can be easily and conveniently removed. Finally, Louis Vuitton Keepalls come with a luggage tag, padlock and handle structure; vintage versions of this bags don't often come with these items, as we all tend to lose something along the way, especially when traveling. Louis Vuitton Keepall bag retail prices range from as little as $1350 to over $5,000 for limited edition bags.
The many styles of the LV Keepall
The Louis Vuitton Keepall duffle bag has been reinvented in a myriad of colors and materials throughout the years. Check out some of the rarest and most inspiring pieces
1) Jeff Koons A Wheatfield with Cypresses Keepall Bandouliere
Released in spring 2017
Original retail price $4000
2) Yayoi Kusama Pumpkin Monogram Canvas Keepall Bandouliere
Released in fall 2012
Original retail price $2320
3) Monogram Galaxy Keepall Bandouliere
Released in spring 2019
Original retail price $2530
4) Royal Wedding Keepall Bandouliere
Released in spring 2018
Original retail price $2200
5) Monogram See Through Keepall Bandouliere
Released in fall 2019
Original retail price $4150
6) Damier Ebene with Giraffe Print Keepall Bandouliere
Released in summer 2017
Original retail price $2220
7) Louis Vuitton x Chapman Brothers Monogram Savane Keepall Bandouliere
Released in spring 2017
Original retail price $2260
8) Louis Vuitton x Supreme Epi Keepall Bandouliere
Released in spring 2017
Original retail price $3650
9) Escale Keepall
Released in summer 2020
Original retail price $2640
10) Louis Vuitton x Nigo Keepall Bandouliere
Released in summer 2020
Original retail price $2400
How to tell if your Keepall bag is authentic
1) Louis Vuitton stamping details
The main Louis Vuitton stamp is very important for authentication, just by looking at it often times it is possible to determine if a bag is authentic or a fake. The lettering should be very crisp and the letters should be perfectly aligned. The Os should be very round and look bigger than the L, and the Ts should be placed very closed, almost touching.
2) Louis Vuitton hardware
In general, most fake Louis Vuitton bags will have very poor-quality hardware, often times it’s just metal coated plastic. Authentic hardware should be constructed in high quality metals and have clean and crisp lettering.
3) Louis Vuitton date code
All Louis Vuitton bags before the early 1980s did not come with a date code. But most Louis Vuitton bags still in circulation will have a date code either on interior tags or directly on the interior linings.
With such a selection and functionality it is easy to see why this bag has remained a key piece in the Louis Vuitton collection through the years.
Since the Keepall has been manufactured since the beginning of the last century and still kept being adored by fashionistas all around the world, there are many high quality ones on the preloved and vintage market. With a little bit of hunting and luck, you too can travel with style and add an iconic must-have piece to your collection!
Unfortunately, when you look for popular Louis Vuitton bags there is always the risk of running into counterfeits or “fakes”. It is therefore important that you shop your vintage Keepall from a trusted supplier with a substantial history of dealing with vintage luxury.