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Brand History & Legacy

The Oldest Luxury Brands Still in Business

The best luxury brands are not just expensive, they have a rich history too! Join us as we take a look at some of the oldest and most glamourous luxury brands that are still in business today.

11. Fendi - 1925

Fendi Bags in South Africa The house of Fendi was launched back in 1925 by Adele and Edoardo Fendi as a fur and leather shop in Via del Plebiscito, Rome. From 1946, the company was passed over to their daughters: Paola, Anna, Franca, Carla and Alda (each owned 20%). However, it was only in 1965 where the legendary designer, Karl Lagerfeld joined Fendi as the creative director of the luxury fashion label's fur and women's ready-to-wear collection. What’s more, Lagerfeld actually designed the famous FF logo – which actually stands for ‘Fun Fur’!

10. Gucci - 1921

Gucci accessories Today, Gucci is one of the world’s most widely recognised luxury fashion branding. However, Guccio Gucci first started the fashion house as a luggage manufacturer for Italy’s elite in Florence. Although, today Gucci produces much more than travel accessories; they produce designer handbags, ready-to-wear, shoes and accessories, makeup, fragrances and more.

9. Balenciaga – 1919

White Balenciaga Bag Balenciaga is a luxury fashion house founded in 1919 by Spanish designer Cristóbal Balenciaga in San Sebastian, Spain. Cristóbal’s designs pushed the envelope and quickly become famous. Even Spanish royalty and aristocratic society took a liking to the brand and were often seen wearing Balenciaga. However, despite his success, Cristóbal was forced to flee the country due to the Spanish civil war. Thousands of other Spaniards who fled to refugee camps in France. Later, Balenciaga opened up a store in Paris, Avenue George V in August 1937 and developed a strong customer base there too.

7. Prada - 1913

Prada saffiano bag Mario Prada found the luxury brand in 1913 and opened the first store in Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, Milan. Moreover, Prada started as a leather goods business including trunks and travel accessories. When the time came for Mario to retire, he intended to pass the business down to his son (as what was customary at the time). However, his son had no interest in the business. Instead, his daughter, Luisa Prada took over the family business and eventually her daughter Miuccia too. However, Miuccia later pursued her own brand, called Miu Miu which is a subsidiary company to Prada.

6. Chanel - 1902

Black Chanel totes We all know Chanel for their women’s suits, no.5 perfume and iconic quilted handbags. However, it originally started in 1902 as a millinery shop in Paris by Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel. Besides its iconic fashion and accessories, Chanel has historically revolutionized the women’s fashion industry in more ways than you know. To name a few, Chanel made women’s pants trendy, made corsets obsolete and even invented the first designer perfume.

5. Bvlgari - 1884

Where to buy Bulgari in South Africa Greek silversmith, Sotirio Bvlgari founded the company 1884 in Rome. The brand quickly became known for their excellent craftsmanship and gorgeous jewellery. Over the decades, the Bvlgari generations defined a distinctive style made of vibrant colour combinations, exquisitely balanced volumes and unmistakable motifs that pay homage to the Roman roots of the company. While always revering its cultural legacy, Bvlgari introduced innovations that rewrote the rules of the jewellery universe and launched new trends that stood out as icons of contemporary design.

4. Lanvin - 1889

Luxury accessories At the young age of 22, Jeanne Lanvin opened up her first hat shop in 1889 on the mezzanine of 16 rue Boissy d’Anglas. However, once she gave birth her first child, Marguerite in 1897 her world turned upside down. Marguerite became the brand’s muse (hence, the mother and child logo) and Lanvin started primarily started selling mother and daughter clothing. Of course, the brand later expanded to men’s wear, lingerie and fur. Lanvin was the first fashion house where the entire family could shop.

3. Louis Vuitton - 1854

Louis Vuitton Keepall Louis Vuitton Malletier, popularly known as Louis Vuitton, originally started as a box and trunk making business by Mr Louis Vuitton in 1854. The brand was easily distinguished from other trunk-makers by it’s unique LV monogram print. Later, Louis Vuitton introduced a weekend bag called the ‘Keepall’. However, it reached peak popularity once Audrey Hepburn requested the Keepall to be miniaturized so that she could use it as an everyday handbag. Hence, the Speedy was born! Of course, today Louis Vuitton is now known as one of the most iconic and highly coveted luxury fashion houses.

2. Cartier - 1847

Cartier jewellery and watches Louis-François Cartier bought his mentors jewellery workshop Rue Montorgueil, Paris at the age of 29 and officially established the House of Cartier in 1847. Although the brand started as a humble Parisian shop it quickly became a worldwide success. In fact, Cartier became the official purveyor to King Alfonso XII of Spain and to King Edward VII of the United Kingdom in 1904.

1. Hermès - 1837

Blue Hermes Bag Hermès International S.A. was founded by Thierry Hermès in 1837 located at the Grands Boulevards quarter of Paris. The brand originally started as an equestrian supply company, hence, the horse and carriage in the logo. However, their first handbag (for humans) only debuted in 1922. Of course, the most well-known Hermès bags are the Birkin and Kelly handbags.

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